While I enjoy often eating lunch with superstars like Laura Creavalle, or talking with giants like Chris Cormier or Paul Dillett, what excites me most is meeting upcoming bodybuilders who have yet to become pro, but who posess unlimited potential and unbridled enthusiasm. These athletes give our sport the new life and energy it needs most desperately.
While discussing business with one of my supplement company contacts some time ago, I had the opportunity to meet an up-and-coming bodybuilder with a lot of promise and an amazing mental perspective. While quiet at first, I could see in his eyes determination, focus, and an unlimited desire for success. Not only that, but I was taken aback by his respectful and humble approach. Unlike many in the industry, he was down to earth, respectful and genuine. His name is Fouad Abiad.
One look at Fouad makes it clear that his destiny is one of unlimited possibility. Weighing in at an impressive 250lbs, Fouad possesses a chiseled X-frame physique, and he brings a massive presence, made possible only by a calm, clear and focused mind obsessed with nothing less than absolute victory.
Fouad is currently preparing for the Canadian Nationals on August 21st, 2004, where he is sure to do some damage. I sat down with Fouad for an interview and, as expected, he was full of valuable insight. I share the fruits of that interview here.
FA: I am 25 years old and I was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. My background is Lebanese.
[ Q ] Were you active as a child?
FA: I was very active as a child in sports like soccer and hockey. As I grew into my frame I began to play football.
[ Q ] So you were very active as a child, but at what age did you first start to bodybuild?
FA: I started to bodybuild around the age of 19. In the beginning it was more
circuit training and
cardio because I became very heavy in my high school days. I didn't really start to lift for size until I was 21.
[ Q ] And how long had you trained for before you realized that competition was for you?
FA: I started to lift for size when I decided I wanted to compete, so really it all started at the same time. I had set a
goal for myself and decided that to achieve it I would have to put on some mass and even out some body parts.
[ Q ] That's great. What led to your decision to begin competing?
FA: I began to compete because a couple of friends of mine at the time were already into the sport. Lou Joseph and Mike Coyle were two of my mentors at the time. I saw their tapes and I saw Mike actually compete and I decided I want to give this a shot. That is when it all started in the gym and in my head.
[ Q ] What bodybuilders / people have given you inspiration in your life?
FA: Well the guys I already mentioned have definitely got the fire lit. From then on there have been many people that keep my spirits high. A main purpose in my career is to help grow with the company that sponsors me,
Adrian Burke has constantly been at my side to help me when I am down and keep me focused by believing in me. Another inspirational person in my life has been my girlfriend Jennifer Reece, who just won the fitness tall class at the Canadian Nationals.
Having such a fierce competitor in my life at all times has really helped me keep the fire burning, and she never lets me slip too far before picking me back up.
Lastly, I would have to say that my family has always been there for me, either to bail me out of money problems or simply to celebrate the accomplishments I have made to this point. Sometimes I feel as though I am competing for these people in my life, to make them all proud.
[ Q ] It's sure important to have dedicated friends and family. What competitions have you competed in so far, and how did you place?
FA: I have competed in four bodybuilding shows, three of which were in my first year. In December 2001 I won the overall at the Windsor Cup, June 2002 I won the overall at the South Central Championships, July 2002 I took third at the Ontario Provincial Championships and finally last year I took fifth out of twenty-one guys in my first Canadian National Show.
[ Q ] What do you feel has been your best placing so far?
FA: My best placing had to have been at the Windsor Cup in 2001. It was my first show, and there were a couple competitors that had been there before. There was also a lot of talk about me not being able to make it in the sport, so when I won the overall with my friends and family there it really made it very special.
[ Q ] What has been your worst placing so far?
FA: My worst placing had to be my third place at the Ontario Championships. I had come into the show off because I had done two shows prior, and it didn't feel good. I hid that day on the stage because I was ashamed of my physique. It will never happen again.
[ Q ] What do you view as your best body part? And what is the one that you think needs the most improvement?
FA: My best body part has to be my abs. I don't train them; I was just born with that one genetic gift. The body part that needs most improvement would definitely have to be my calves. I feel as though no matter how I train them, they are just taking their time to grow.
[ Q ] What things give you the drive to continue competing?
FA: I continue to compete because I feel that I have made it very far in the sport in a very short time. I feel I have the potential to be a pro and it is only a matter of time.
I also compete because I feel I have a lot of people counting on me to go through with this all the way. My friends, family, girlfriend, would all be disappointed if I just gave up now, not to consider how mad I would be at my self when I was older, wondering what if?
[ Q ] That's a good perspective. Based on your experience, what do you think is the biggest mistake that novice bodybuilders make early on in their careers?
FA: This is an easy one. I don't know what it is about bodybuilding that makes people feel so inferior for asking for help. In
football a kid will go to a coach and do what he says for numerous years to become a seasoned athlete.
For some reason in bodybuilding athletes think they know it all from the beginning. They will pay for food, supplements, tanning, posing trunks - everything - but they will not pay a knowledgeable coach to help them.
I have paid many trainers to learn the things I have learned to date, and each one has helped me get my placings. Bodybuilding is an experience sport, and most kids think it is a talent sport. The more knowledge you have on your side the faster you will realize your potential.
[ Q ] That's a great piece of advice that I don't think many people have taken the time to think about. If you could give advice to novice bodybuilders, what would it be?
FA: Get a knowledgeable trainer and nutritionist. If you can't afford it,
read as much as you can. Secondly, don't think it is all about the magic pill that is going to make you a pro. THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL.
Craig Titus told me something once that will never leave my mind. I said to him, "Craig can you give me one piece of advice that will help me in my career?", even though it was such a broad question he turned and said to me, "Consistency is the only thing that will get you to where you want to be in this sport".
The point is: there is no replacement for hard work and consistency.
[ Q ] That so true, and it leads into my next question. It is known that performance enhancers are used in the sport of bodybuilding. What's your view on the role that performance enhancers play in bodybuilding today?
FA: Too much emphasis is being put on this aspect of the sport. Most of it is the media's fault. Most advertisers make claims that are simply impossible, so kids begin to think that this is the only thing that matters. When was the last time you picked up a
testosterone booster ad where they told you that their product was only 10% of the equation? It doesn't happen. Kids don't realize the importance of food, and that is why enhancers have become so popular.
[ Q ] If you could change anything about bodybuilding today, what would it be?
FA: I would try to get more knowledgeable trainers to give more open seminars. Bodybuilding is a very closed off community; it is actually very small in terms of actual interest. The reason for this is that the average Joe has no idea what goes on in our community.
Most people think it is a drug filled sport and never realize the hard work that goes into it. Open seminars would give more of the average Joe's a chance to see how bodybuilders live and act. Hopefully we can make a good impression... *laughs out loud*
[ Q ] That would certainly be helpful! What's been the biggest obstacle for you in competing?
FA: The biggest obstacle for me in competing is trying to live a normal life. It is hard to live a normal life when you are 250lbs. Everywhere I go it is hot and uncomfortable. It seems that no matter what I am wearing, I can go to the mall and see the stares from all around.
It is also hard to explain to co-workers why your food smells so bad, and feeling embarrassed to eat it in public. Everyday life as the average person sees it is no longer viable. Bodybuilders have to go out of their way just to get through the day when they are competing.
[ Q ] I understand that you are working with Chad Nichols to prepare for the upcoming Nationals. What has this experience been like for you?
FA: Chad Nicholls... what can I say more? Chad has been very easy to work with, and he gives me a sense of not needing to think.
In the past, I have had trainers that made me feel like I had to think twice about what they were telling me to do. Chad makes me feel at ease that no matter what he is telling me, it all makes sense and it is going to work.
The diets he has set out for me are very easy to follow and not at all what I expected in terms of complexity. It is easy to keep your head on straight when you know he is at the helm.
[ Q ] When you compete at the Nationals this year, what placing do you hope to achieve?
FA: As everyone says, "You have to pay your dues". I understand this very well, and if that IS the case I will wait my turn, but not for too long. This year I hope to place in the top three, to give me a year to add some more quality size and come back as a Super heavy weight.
[ Q ] When you look at your career so far, where do you see yourself five years from now?
FA: In five years from now I see myself in one of two places. Either as an IFBB pro making some good money with the top pros, or as a local police officer making some good money with the top cops.
[ Q ] How can people contact you Fouad?
FA: People can reach me via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org and follow my "Road to the Nationals" at
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