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.
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.
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.”