Article from the Sun daily by Joyce Ang (posted on 7 April 2016)
AS a 20-year-old, Zarol Alfiyan sure has a lot of weight on his shoulders. He holds multiple part-time jobs – one of which as a strength coach at QLS Fitness & Nutrition – while training for powerlifting meets and Strongman competitions both local and abroad, on top of pursuing a bachelor's degree.
He was ushered into the world of sports in school, but his affinity for heavyweight sports began much earlier.
"My uncle used to work in a truck company, from which the organisers of the 2002 World's Strongest Man borrowed a few vehicles for the truckpulling event. Hence, my uncle was invited to watch the competition, and he brought my brother and I along. I was only seven then," Zarol recalled.
Nevertheless, he had no recollection of that memory until his early teens when he was recovering from a broken wrist he sustained during a rugby game.
"I was resting on the bench in the gym while watching a flat screen telly on the wall. It was airing a strongman competition, and that gave me a massive flashback about the competition in 2002," the sturdy lad described.
That memory motivated him to explore the sport, and at the age of 14, Zarol decided to train on his own.
Could you share some biggest misconceptions about weightlifting out there?
Most Malaysians are unaware of the differences between weight-related sports and equate weightlifting with bodybuilding – they are not the same. Too many people assume that lifting weights makes someone a bodybuilder. Weightlifting demands a lot of endurance, strength, explosion, and most definitely, power.
Tell us what you love most about lifting.
Lifting is lifting, but what makes the sport fruitful and fun is that you get to meet a lot of like-minded people. At some point during a meet, competition, or the likes, you'll see everyone exchanging ideas and programmes regarding training, rehabilitation, nutrition, and so on. I like that, it's a community which builds each other up.
Has there been an event that shaped you to be who you are today?
I doubt there is a particular event per se, but I'd say lifting has changed my life a lot. It isn't just about eating and lifting; there's more to that if you look closely. It teaches you time management – if you have school or work – and discipline when it comes to your diet and training. However, most importantly, I learnt to be patient with my progress and to always have the drive to get up again when I fail. All these years of lifting shaped me into who I am today, and I'm still constantly learning. Lifting is a neverending process; one has to see the lessons in the journey and accept them.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
I've competed many times, but my proudest achievements include being the first Malaysian to pull over 700 pounds on the deadlift – looking to smash 800 pounds this year –, holding a Singaporean log press record, and a world deadlifting record for my age and weight categories in the Global Powerlifting Alliance (GPA).
What would you tell 15-year-old Zarol?
I'd tell myself to not rush things, because you'll end up getting hurt and injured. This applies to pretty much everything we do. Faster doesn't necessarily mean better. Pace yourself, as everyone is different.
Words you live by?
'Be Great' by the current world champion Brian Shaw, and 'Be stronger than the strongest' by six-time UK Strongest Man Eddie Hall.
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