IT ‘heavyweight’ by day, bodybuilder by night

Published: April 17, 2016
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ILLUSTRATION: NABEEL KHAN

ILLUSTRATION: NABEEL KHAN

Abdul Majeed works as an IT professional in a local school, but he is not your average IT guy. It certainly is his day job through which he manages his daily expenses, but his real occupation, his real passion, is bodybuilding.

In fact, Majeed is the reigning national champion of 100kg event at the South Asian Championship held in Lahore on April 1. He ended up being the over-all runner-up in Mr Pakistan competition losing to WAPDA’s Waqas Tariq.

His passion and dedication to bodybuilding is commendable and the 30-year-old feels great when his students ask him for fitness tips.

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“I’m a national champion, this is of course the result of my hard work as a bodybuilder, something I have been committed to for almost a decade now,” Majeed told The Express Tribune. “Even the students at school ask me for fitness tips. It is a great feeling, but surely I want to do better as an athlete; as a bodybuilder.”

Talking about how he got involved in the sport, Majeed revealed he began bodybuilding nine years ago while lifting weights at local gyms in areas of Dhoraji and Gulshan-e-Iqbal. He now works as a trainer at Core Fitness, a gym located in Clifton which is an upscale locality in the city.

The bodybuilder aims to get a pro card from the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB).

Majeed has had a difficult journey on his way to becoming Mr Sindh and Mr Karachi in 2014, he is well aware of the problems that may face him in his pursuit.

“It isn’t easy to become a professional in bodybuilding in Pakistan, we don’t have the right attitude for it. It is not just a sport, but rather a lifestyle,” he said. “We need to follow a particular diet and have to be extremely careful with our bodies.”

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He further added that while bodybuilding in itself is a difficult discipline to master, the Pakistan Bodybuilding Federation (PBBF) makes it even more challenging.

“The PBBF does not create enough awareness for bodybuilding. They also don’t invest in improving the techniques which becomes problematic for us when are competing in international events,” he said. “It’s very tough to compete with international athletes as they have proper structures, trainers and routines, while we don’t.”

Majeed dreams of becoming the second Pakistani to get a pro card from the IFBB, the first being Atif Anwar who won the Arnold Classic Australia event last year.

“We only have Anwar who has a pro card; he is my role model,” said Majeed. “But he is an Australian national now, while I want to stay here [Pakistan]. If I get a pro card then it will be a matter of pride for the nation as then only one professional would be representing Pakistan internationally.”

As a word of advice for budding sportsmen across the country, Majeed said that having a bachelor’s degree has made pursuing his passion a lot easier.

“I know certifications and qualifications are important,” said Majeed, who is one of the few trainers from Pakistan to complete the Level III course from the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), an international and independent forum that offers online courses for trainers and is widely recognised in the UK and Middle East.

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“I did my bachelors in tandem with my bodybuilding routine. Now I can say that both fields are my favourite. One is keeping me in top physical shape while IT is where I learnt about technology, something I just adore.”

Majeed further revealed that with a certification from REPs, he will have more options as a bodybuilder and also as a trainer if he ever wants to move abroad.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2016.

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