Pkistan’s greybeard bodybuilding phenom sets eyes on Mr Asia title

ISLAMABAD:By Muhammad Shafique Raja

Pakistan’s greybeard bodybuilding sensation, Ustad Abdul Waheed has set his eyes on Mr Asia masters title, believing that he has everything to hit the target.

“I’ve the passion. I’ve the intent. I’ve the self-belief. And I’ve a body that has undergone years of rigorous training. I feel I stand a good chance to lift the Mr Asia masters title,” Ustad, who is 60 years old but as fit as a fiddle told reporter in an exclusive chat.

The event is scheduled to take place later this year with its exact date and venue yet to be decided owing to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Possessing a finely chiseled physique, Ustad rose to prominence in early April when he lifted the country’s prestigious bodybuilding title ‘Master Champion Pakistan’ at the 68th National Men’s Bodybuilding Championship 2021 in Karachi, outshining a number of other topnotch athletes in his age division (50-60 years). His muscular development, balance, proportions, symmetry and overall conditioning was so perfect that judges felt no difficulty in adjudging him the master champion. “There were some other renowned bodybuilders in my category, but thank God my hard work paid back and I emerged victorious.”

Born and brought up in a lower-middle-class family in Batapur, Lahore along the Bambawali-Ravi-Bedian Canal, where he still resides, Ustad said he had been working as a sewing machine-fitter for several years to earn the livelihood for his family.

“I’d joined the gym at 16 to keep myself in good shape. At that time, I’d never thought to become a champion as I knew my limitations [as a sewing machine-fitter].

“But some 20 years ago I left the sewing-fitting job and became an instructor at a gym. It was precisely at the time that my students [at the gym] pressed me to feature in bodybuilding contests,” he said recalling as how he turned a pro-muscleman.

“Since then, I’ve never looked back as I’ve earned several medals and claimed a host of trophies in the topflight national contests,” Ustad added.

Prior to his latest feat, he sealed a number of titles including Mr Punjab 2021 and Mr Lahore 2020. He also clinched silver medal twice in Mr Lahore competition and once bronze medal in each Mr Lahore, Mr Punjab and Mr Yahya contests.

His recent accomplishments have motivated him to look for something bigger now and besides vying for Mr Asia masters title he is considering to feature in the first-ever Arnold Classic Asia Multi-Sport Festival, taking place in Hong Kong.

“As per my information, legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger will also be attending the event. I wish to perform there and earn a name for my country.

“I’m sure I’ll impress at the event provided I get the required financial support to feature in that,” he reckoned.

According to Ustad, diet plays a vital role in bodybuilding, hence it is imperative to eat the right foods in appropriate amounts to recover from workouts and grow stronger. “In order to achieve higher levels, you need to focus on your diet. Consuming the wrong foods or not consuming enough of the right ones can be detrimental to your [bodybuilding] goals.

“You should always keep in mind that you are not a ‘pehelwan’ or a wrestler but a bodybuilder. You should never ever pile heaps of fat but build a body that you can show off.

“I’ve maintained my current position with a rich daily intake of food that includes minced meat, milk, yogurt, porridge, pulses, eggs, salads, fruits and dried fruits.

“But I don’t eat all of these things at once. I follow a diet plan according to which I take these foods with proper gaps, rest and workout sessions in between,” he added.

With 40 years of experience at his back as a trainer, Ustad finally managed to open a well-equipped fitness centre – called the New Body Grace Gym in Sutar Mandi Bazaar Lahore in March, this year in partnership with a friend. He believes that gyms can play a pivotal role in deterring the youth from unhealthy activities to healthy ones.

“It is quite unfortunate to see our youth spending a lot of time on smartphones and other such gadgets. Some youngsters also indulge in bad habits such as drugs and alcohol.

“We need to shift their attention towards healthy activities. I think the promotion of bodybuilding and gyms can help a lot for that purpose.

“I’m playing my part as we offer our gym facility free of cost to those youth, who can’t bear even 1000 rupees as its monthly fee.

“Everything at the gym is at their disposal under my supervision. However, I tell them to arrange a balanced diet for themselves. I’m not so well-off. Had I been so [rich], I would have also arranged a healthy diet for them. I wish somebody come forward and join my mission,” he concluded.