Ever since he was a young teenager, Arash Rahbar knew he wanted to be a bodybuilder. So great was his desire to build the perfect physique however, he didn’t begin competing at a professional level until about twenty years later.
When his time came, Arash quickly rocketed to bodybuilding success and he’s now well on his way to dominating the world stage.
TRAIN spoke to the 36-year-old to find out how he stays motivated, his training advice and how he plans to become the world’s best bodybuilder.
How did you get into bodybuilding?
Fitness has been a big part of my life ever since I was a child. I started martial arts at the early age of 10 as well as playing football and running track. I then turned to bodybuilding aged 13 and began using weights at home.
I used to idolize the greats: Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates and Flex Wheeler to name a few, hoping that one day I too would have a physique just like theirs.
I quickly learned that nutrition was a huge part of bodybuilding, so if I wanted to progress I needed to learn how to cook and eat right. My diet changed drastically: I began to make better diet choices and prioritized food preparation. Meanwhile, my training was a six day split: chest and triceps, back and biceps, shoulders and legs, rest and repeat.
Why did you leave it so late to enter competitions?
I was very hard on myself, which is why I only began competing when I was 32-years-old. I’m a perfectionist and wanted to make sure I was as good as I could possibly be before I appeared on stage, so I postponed competing until I felt I was well-rounded and more complete.
My first contest was in 2014, the IFBB North American Championships, and I came first place in Men’s Physique Class D and Overall. Since that first competition I’ve appeared on stage numerous times, winning the 2016 IFBB New York Pro, Classic Physique, as well as 2016 IFBB Pittsburgh Pro. In the same year, I came second place in the IFBB Mr. Olympia Classic Men’s Physique. That trophy is the most prestigious in bodybuilding so my next goal to work towards is winning first place in 2018 in both Mr. Olympia and Mr. Arnold Classic.
How do you keep motivated?
For me, bodybuilding is both an art and a science. Not many people can do what I do or achieve what I have achieved. My fitness aim is to always improve and be my ultimate best. I want to be the greatest in the world at what I do. Of course, this level of motivation doesn’t make for an easy life. Every day is a challenge but I never give up, even when I’m exhausted. If I do fall short of victory, I keep my head up high.
Put simply, I don’t believe in weakness. My mental game has reached new heights over the past four years of competing, and physically I always can and will improve.
What do you think the key to success is?
The key to victory is to envision the target at hand and focus on it. I will make a movie in my mind of myself reaching my goals – how does it feel, what do I look like and so on. If I can imagine all this in detail then I can live the reality with a smile on my face.
What’s your approach to training?
I don’t believe in sticking to just one style of training. My training methods are always evolving, just like my physique does.
At this point, after so many years of training I tend to go by feel in the gym; my reps and sets are mainly determined by what I sense is necessary at that time and how my body feels. Currently I’m appreciating back and leg sessions the most as I’m dedicated to improving these areas of my body.
Do you have any training advice to offer?
Do your best to activate the muscle you’re trying to target rather than all the surrounding muscles. Secondly, always increase one of three things: weight, volume or intensity, and finally you must stretch!
What are your nutrition tips?
You should be sure to do your own research around nutrition and put it into practice. There’s a ton of free information out there from bodybuilders and university studies.
I once made the big mistake of doing zero carb, low fat and high protein in my early days. The problem there is that when the body doesn’t receive energy sources (fat or carbs) it will convert protein to glucose and that is not good!
Nowadays I mostly keep my diet basic; for pre, I like oatmeal or sweet potato with egg whites or chicken and for post, I like cream of rice with Dymatize’s ISO100 Hydrolyzed whey protein.
Do you find supplements help?
Supplements are really important to me. I need to utilize what I have at my disposal to maximize my recovery and growth. Amongst others, I use creatine, glutamine, multivitamins and ISO100 all year round, which serve to give me an edge and will allow for more progress in a given window of time.”
What’s most important to you in a supplement?
Quality and purity are crucial when I choose a product as I want to maximize absorption and the effect of a given supplement and minimize the amount needed.
In conclusion, Arash is proof that, with the right tools, it’s never too late to start something new!
Author: Harriet Mallinson