WORLD CHAM­PION Men’s Physique

At the Pro­fes­sional Nat­u­ral Body­build­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (PNBA) world cham­pi­onships in Dubai in June, this young New Zealan­der came away with the Men’s Physique ti­tle.

New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Lor­raine Thom­son

Ir­shad Ali is the only New Zealan­der com­pet­ing in PNBA com­pe­ti­tions with a pro card. The PNBA, he ex­plains, is drug tested and run un­der the rules of the World Anti-dop­ing As­so­ci­a­tion.

Last year in San­ti­ago, Ir­shad placed in the top six out of the pro­fes­sion­als. So far he has com­peted in 14 body­build­ing shows in three years.

Born in Fiji, Ir­shad moved to New Zealand in 2006 when he was 15.

“All my mum’s fam­ily is from here and I came with my mum,” he says.

More re­cently he has been work­ing as a re­cruit­ment agent, but now he is train­ing fairly much full time to com­pete at the Nat­u­ral Olympia in Novem­ber in Las Ve­gas. His plan is to place in the top three this year, but ul­ti­mately to win the crown.

“My goal is to be a full­time ath­lete where I can make a liv­ing from it.”

Al­ready he has spon­sors, Bal­ance Sports Nu­tri­tion [help­ing with air fares and sup­ple­ments] and Gainz Restau­rant [help­ing with healthy nat­u­ral meals].

He takes Bal­ance Ul­tra Rip Pro­tein Pow­der and Car­tine cap­sules [for fat me­tab­o­lism]. He eats a lot of chicken, ku­mara, red meat [oc­ca­sion­ally] and fish [es­pe­cially salmon].

Ir­shad cur­rently works out at Premier Fit­ness in Botany, Auck­land, where he has all his tro­phies on dis­play and lives at his brother’s place in Manukau. A typ­i­cal day starts at 6.15am at the gym for a 45-minute abs and car­dio work­out. Then at 7.30pm there is another work­out for an hour with weights. He does this five to six days a week, de­pend­ing on how he re­cov­ers. Then there is the pos­ing – he needs to prac­tice the way he presents on stage, dis­play­ing his newly-built mus­cles. The fact he has com­pleted an on­screen act­ing course, helps when it is time to get up on the stage.

“I have taken part in a cou­ple of com­mer­cials for Tourism New Zealand and for an Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion show.”

Ir­shad has never had a nu­tri­tion­ist or a trainer, but has in­stead spent a lot of hours read­ing text­books. He is used to study­ing and has a Diploma in Busi­ness. Af­ter ap­ply­ing the tech­niques from text­books, he no­ticed his body chang­ing.

“I avoid read­ing com­ments on the in­ter­net. Usu­ally it is in­for­ma­tion from a com­pany you can­not trust. I have fine-tuned my own diet and at the mo­ment that means 3,200 calo­ries per day.”

Cur­rently weigh­ing 77kg, Ir­shad plans to re­duce this to 72kg on stage.

“I can lose 1kg a week by up­ping car­dio, low­er­ing carbs and in­creas­ing pro­tein.”

Se­ri­ous fit­ness all started for Ar­shad when he saw peo­ple com­pet­ing on stage.

“Their bod­ies looked so good. But then I learnt about the drugs as­so­ci­ated with body­build­ing and so I looked for an or­ga­ni­za­tion that drug-tested. I wanted to be healthy and fit and be a role model to my kids in the fu­ture.”

Ir­shad, 25, is mar­ried and his wife, he tells me, comes to all his shows.

“I was 22 when I en­tered my first body­build­ing com­pe­ti­tion in New Zealand. This was the Christchurch Clas­sic and I came third. Next year the World Cham­pi­onships will be in Hun­gary and so I will have to go there to de­fend my ti­tle.”

This year there will be 20 pro­fes­sional com­pe­ti­tions around the world. The prize money for his up­com­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Las Ve­gas – the big­gest nat­u­ral com­pe­ti­tion for the year – will be $US 8,000, plus a new Kia car, for his cat­e­gory.

Mean­while, the Nat­u­ral Uni­verse com­pe­ti­tion may be head­ing to New Zealand next year – a com­pe­ti­tion that at­tracts 400 ath­letes.“That would be my first home pro show,” he says. When not train­ing, Ir­shad has been spend­ing time set­ting up his own gym cloth­ing line [shirts, sin­glets, shorts, leg­gings] plus as­so­ci­ated equip­ment [straps, gloves and belts]. The range, called Fit to Lift, has al­ready been de­signed and the plan is to sup­ply this to gyms and sup­ple­ment stores.

This young en­tre­pre­neur is well on the way to putting New Zealand on the body­build­ing map.

Ir­shad Ali is the only New Zealan­der com­pet­ing in the Pro­fes­sional Nat­u­ral Body­build­ing As­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tions with a pro card.

PHOTO: Mova Foto

At the Pro­fes­sional Nat­u­ral Body­build­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (PNBA) world cham­pi­onships in Dubai, Ir­shad Ali won the Men’s Physique ti­tle.

“My goal is to be a full­time ath­lete where I can make

a liv­ing from it.”

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