Born with calipers, ruling with dumbbells

Nizar Dawoodani overcame polio in his left leg to clinch ten Mr India titles and is now transforming lives as a fitness consultant.

The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. - Arnold Schwarzenegger

The above words from the Austrian Oak summarizes bodybuilding as a sport. It is a sport where you must push through the pain barrier in order to succeed.  Nizar Dawoodani, a 55-year-old Mumbai based bodybuilder and fitness consultant didn’t just push through the pain barrier. On his way to ten Mr India titles, he also conquered polio in his left leg.

Coming from a century-old business of spices, Nizar was expected to run the family business, but he was destined for greater things. “My left Achilles tendon was very tight, and I couldn’t lift my feet up to the ground,” says Nizar who had to wear calipers as a child. His father found out about a gentleman in the area who had healed a polio victim before. Within a year of domestic help and massage, Nizar got rid of his calipers and his knee started developing.

At school, he knew that he won’t be able to participate in track and field events hence started focusing on indoor sports. “My sun sign is Pisces. I take to swimming like fish to water,” he says with a huge grin on his face. “We had a joint family, and everyone was busy with their lives. I was the youngest of the lot and I loved spending time playing table tennis and swimming after my school hours.”

Lesson from losses

By the time Nizar enrolled himself for a bachelor’s degree in commerce he had already started helping his father in the family business. He even signed up for karate and earned a Black Belt.

However, for Nizar bodybuilding came in much later when he met his mentor Kaizzad Capadia, director and founder of K11 Academy of Fitness Sciences and a lecturer at a personal training course that Nizar had signed up for. “I was a regular in Kaizzad’s class and I was following the program with a lot of discipline hence he suggested me to try out bodybuilding.”

Nizar remembers his first attempting bodybuilding like it was yesterday. “Kaizad had told me well before the competition began that I was going to lose but he had also advised me to learn from it.” Nizar did lose that day and he was called names on stage but standing in front of a crowd covered in coconut oil he realized that he must put in hard yards if he wants to be successful in this field.

What followed next is the definition of sheer dominance as Nizar Dawoodani who got his maiden Mr India title at 42 and added nine more in the next ten years. With a strong willpower and extraordinary dedication, Nizar talks about the small sacrifices he had to make along the way. “Even if I wanted to, I was not allowed to go for a meal with my family or even just eat at a feast or a wedding because two or three meals can change your body. Sometimes my family complained that I prioritized bodybuilding ahead of them.”

Transforming lives through fitness

But Nizar found a reliable friend in Kaizzad who not only guided him about nutrition and fitness but also stood alongside in thick and thin. “I have known him more than ten years and he is an encyclopaedia when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Even today, I learn something new every time we talk.”

Nizar runs online fitness coaching that includes training, nutrition for fitness, recreational and competitive bodybuilding for both men and women.

He is also the president of the Maharashtra team in a newly framed, Natural Bodybuilding Union India Federation (NBBUI). The organization is working with smaller state bodybuilding federations and developing professionals in the nook and corners of the country. In September, Nizar will be a coach, a judge and a participant in the NBBUI’s Mr Asia tournament in Thailand. Participating in the ‘Above 50 in Physically Challenged’ category he is confident about getting another gold.  

Nizar takes a lot of joy in imparting his fitness mantra to his kids. “Both my daughters went for a personal training course at K11 and are now hooked to fitness.” At K11, Nizar is now shaping up numerous lives promoting a healthier lifestyle.

your comments