photos, videos: Jun Estrada
MUSCAT: Oman’s only fitness model hopes to inspire others to try the sport he’s so passionate about since it ensures a healthy lifestyle and achievable body.
Abdullah Khamis Al Farsi, 26, just won second prize at the International Natural Bodybuilding Association world championships in Dubai on June 13. It was his first ever competition and he was the only fitness model from the GCC.
Now Abdullah, who first stepped foot in a gym when he was just 8 years old with his big brother Ahmed, hopes others in Oman will join him in the sport of fitness modeling, from which he has gained so much.
“It’s taught me commitment and I learned to put health as the first priority. It’s also given me confidence. I am always the first guy to take off my shirt when we go to the beach,” he said with a laugh, as he demonstrated some of his workout routine and struck some fitness model poses.
The competition in Dubai featured both bodybuilders, whose aim is have bulked up muscles, and fitness models, whose bodies feature smaller muscles but lots of definition, more like “beach bodies.”
For male fitness models, Abdullah explained, the ideal look is a V-shape, with strong arms, wide chests and narrow waists, as well as muscular calves. The fitness models get on stage and do a series of poses that show off their physiques.
Abdullah, who was introduced to fitness modeling in the USA several years ago, said some people may not think they can achieve a bodybuilder type of body, especially in a natural way without steroids or other enhancers, but a fitness model body is achievable with a combination of a healthy, protein and carbohydrate-rich diet, and regular exercise.
Training to be a fitness model is also a way to keep people focussed at the gym, since it gives them a goal to achieve, such as competing internationally, Abdullah said. They don’t have to become bodybuilders who spend hour upon hour at the gym, but can fit the training into their normal schedules.
“When people look at you they think, I can achieve this body. Everybody can do this. You don’t have to work out every day. You could work out four days a week for 45 minutes. You just have to diet hard, eat healthy, and you can compete for number one,” he explained, as the sound of weights and fitness machines clattered around him.
At the championships in Dubai, there were fitness model competitors, both male and female, ranging in age from teenagers to people over 50, as well as people with disabilities, competing from their wheelchairs, Abdullah explained. He said it was inspiring to see all these different types of people involved in fitness modeling.
“They were all fit. A guy who has an active life, who works out, can compete on the stage naturally, with his normal body. He doesn’t have to build muscle,” he explained.
Training to be a fitness model has also helped Abdullah balance his life. He says his determination to succeed as a fitness model has made him more careful with his time, juggling his job as a field engineer, his university classes, his family and friends, his hobbies of taekwondo and capoeira, and being in the gym.
“If people say they have too many commitments, take me as an example,” he said, adding that he takes free weights with him to the field and works out at home if he can’t make it to the gym.
When he’s in Muscat he gets inspiration from the bodybuilders around him at Hammer Gym in Al Khuwair, where he works out. They motivate him and encourage him, giving him tricks and ideas for his workouts.
Though he is surrounded by bodybuilders, Abdullah isn’t interested in having a bulked up body since he practices taekwondo and capoeira which require lots of energy and flexibility. Martial arts are also high cardiovascular activities which make it hard to build up huge muscles.
While his bodybuilder friends inspire Abdullah, he, too, has been an inspiration and role model for others in Oman who want to lose weight or develop stronger, healthy bodies. His Instragram feed gets a lot of positive attention from people who find his success inspiring.
“People are changing their lives because of me and that makes me work hard and diet more. I love that,” he commented.
Abdullah, who is a certified personal trainer, said he hopes the next time he’s at a competition he’ll have a team of Omani participants with him. He also wants to start his own gym where he can teach others how to be fitness models.
“My target is to get a fitness centre, get dieticians and nutritionists, trainers, and even have it for people with special needs,” said Abdullah.
Follow Abdullah on instagram: https://instagram.com/Eng.Shredz/