Whenever there is a skirmish in Ajmeri gate area of old Delhi involving young boys, it’s highly likely that at least one side will soon make a phone call to Ashraf bhai. He reaches the spot in no time, and the escalating situation is settled in minutes without using any force. “When they see me they dissolve the situation and go back,” says Mohammed Ashraf(29) with a smile. What undoutedly makes cooler minds prevail is the fact that the peacemaker is a champion bodybuilder.
“I first started going to the gym in the summer vacations after my class 10 exam,” says Ashraf, talking about the time when he started working on his body. Since then he has come a long way in the field. Just last week in Kerala, Ashraf was crowned the winner of the Mr India tournament in 80 kgs category. This win was his fourth major title. He had earlier won Mr Delhi, All India Arjunshree which was held in Aligarh, and Mr North India. But Ashraf is in no mood to settle down yet and is going to start preparing for Mr Asia which is going to be held in Nashik, Maharashtra in November.
Ashraf has already won a bronze medal in Mr South-East Asia which was held in Bhutan in 2011 , but for Mr Asia he contest he has high dreams. “I will go for gold (in Mr Asia) this time,” says Ashraf, revealing his goals for the tournament.
But just setting a goal isn’t enough in this field. “You have to follow a strict regimen of workout, diet and rest,” says Ashraf, naming all the essential components of bodybuilding. “I spend almost four to five hours in the gym each day, and divide these hours between cardio and weight training,” he says. A rigorous diet is equally important. “One cannot achieve anything if he fails to follow a strict diet. I take about 350 grams of protein each day during training. One spends around Rs 500 daily on supplement diet”, says Ashraf .
For all his intensity, Ashraf usually detaches himself from the rigorous regimen and uses Sundays to unwind with his friends and family. “My wife gave birth to a son last year and he is a new motivation,” says Ashraf about his third child. People in his locality consider him a source of motivation. “Ashraf helped an motivated me to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Shiraz who lives nearby Ashraf’s gym .
The principal of his alma mater, Anglo-Arabic Senior Secondary School, has asked him to deliver a talk and pose for photographs for the school magazine. Despite all these accolades, Ashraf understands that he cannot continue with the sport for long. “Our body has limits and one day I will have to give up the sport and move on in life” says Ashraf. He plans to become a trainer after leaving bodybuilding.
(Chandan Kumar is a student of EXIMS)