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Lance Cpl. Grant L. Kollinger muscles the 130 pound dumbbell at the Combat Center’s West Gym Sept. 9. Kollinger won a first place title in the Joe Wheatley’s Muscle Beach Novice Heavyweight division competition at Venice Beach during the Labor Day weekend Sept. 4th through the 6th.

Photo by Lance Cpl. William J. Jackson

Comm student takes 1st place at bodybuilding competition

9 Sep 2010 | Lance Cpl. William J. Jackson Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Most Marines attending the Marine Corps Communication Electronics-School, here, leave with a certificate, orders to a new duty station and a sense of accomplishment after becoming basically trained in a military occupational specialty. But Lance Cpl. Grant L. Kollinger, a student with Company A, MCCES, also left with a first place bodybuilding title under his belt.

Kollinger, a member of Team Marine, the Combat Center’s bodybuilding team, out-muscled two others in the Joe Wheatley’s Muscle Beach Novice Heavyweight division at Venice Beach during the Labor Day weekend competition Sept. 4th through the 6th.

Kollinger, a Lakeland, Fla., native, said he began to lift weights and get into it just before recruit training.

Kollinger has been on Team Marine for about five months, said Dean Tait, head coach for Team Marine. “He had the body and the right size, but he lacked the right techniques.”

Tait used his 40 years of bodybuilding experience to help him reach the optimal three percent body fat needed for competition.

About seven weeks before the competition at Venice Beach, Tait urged Kollinger to compete. Kollinger took the challenge and began to build his body for peak appearance and performance.

“The show gave me a goal,” Kollinger said. “I was just going in to do the best I could.”

Reaching three percent body fat percentage was no easy task.

Kollinger had to master techniques like dieting, nutrition and water depleting, but the program put the finishing touches on him, Tait added.

“Dieting is everything; it’s the hardest part,” Kollinger said.

Kollinger also endured two intense workouts a day, every day. He targeted specific muscle groups and took an occasional Friday off to let his muscles rest and recover.

On weekday mornings, Kollinger did cardio with the other MCCES students and hit the gym for a couple hours at night. “On weekends I usually go to the gym twice a day.”

Many bodybuilders say that pumping iron and performing in front of a crowd gives them a natural high, and Kollinger agrees.

“It’s a rush being on stage,” he said. “Knowing that you look good up there is a great feeling.”

Kollinger said he is proud of his title but admits competing again while at the Combat Center isn’t one of his top priorities.

“I’m still at the schoolhouse, so I’m focusing on studies and getting my orders in five weeks,” Kollinger said. “I’m still going to be with Team Marine, but I won’t be at competition level.”

Kollinger said he will continue the bodybuilding lifestyle even after his orders take him away from the team. As a reservist Marine, he plans to continue his regimen of a steady workout, dieting and competition when he gets to his unit back home.

For more information on Team Marine, visit http://

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms