Since the beginning of the 1980s, Lebanon has brought several bright stars to the world of bodybuilding, such as Samir Bannout and Ali Malla. Ahmad Haidar became another “Hercules of the East”.
Ahmad Haidar was born on April 10, 1968 in Beirut. Ahmad’s family is very large – he is the youngest of 7 brothers. After his birth, his parents wanted another boy, but they had girls. After the birth of Ahmad’s third sister, his parents decided to stop at this. Ahmad was fond of freestyle wrestling since childhood. In the iron sport he was led by the desire to become a little stronger. However, bodybuilding so captivated Ahmad that he decided to make it his profession.
The first performance of Ahmad took place at the tournament “Mr. Lebanon” in 1991 and until 1997 he was a permanent winner in this tournament. In 1997 and 1998, Ahmad Haidar won wins in the tournament “Mr. Middle East”. In 1995, at the amateur “World Championship” he took 8th place in the light heavyweight category. After winning this tournament in 1997 in his category and overall standings, Ahmad received a professional IFBB card and became very popular in the bodybuilding circles of his hometown of Beirut.
However, ordinary Lebanese people treated bodybuilders scornfully, not including their athletes. This sport in those years was not popular in Lebanon. When Ahmad met his future wife, Maggie, she told him that he would only meet with him if he gave up bodybuilding. Haidar promised that the last time he will perform at the tournament “Mr. Universe” and leave the bodybuilding. On the show, they went together, Maggie first saw how enthusiastically the audience accepts bodybuilders, changed their views on this sport and sincerely supported Ahmad in his hobby, which is not typical for a Lebanese girl. The overall level of development of bodybuilding in the country was extremely low. Most of the gyms were equipped with only primitive simulators, so Ahmad had to focus on basic exercises with free weights. Despite the fact that after receiving the professional IFBB card, Ahmad became a popular trainer and had a good income, he seriously thought about moving to America. Another factor for this decision was dissatisfaction with the national Lebanese food, which is stewed or roasted in a large amount of fat. Rarely in what institution a bodybuilder could eat healthy food. He had to cook for himself, but he did not always manage to do it.
Ahmad Haidar came to America and stopped in Los Angeles, the Mecca of bodybuilding. At first he lived with his cousin, a successful businessman and bodybuilder, winner of many amateur national tournaments. Ahmad was shocked by the technical equipment of American gyms, but he was psychologically very depressed by the life of a huge metropolis, many kilometers of traffic jams, crime, so he did not want to stay in Los Angeles. At one of the Arnold Classic tournaments, where Haidar was a simple spectator, he accidentally met a man named Frank, the owner of a gym in Florida. Learning that Ahmad is a professional bodybuilder and looking for his place under the sun in America, Frank invited him to move to Florida and work as a coach in his gym. Ahmad Haidar accepted the invitation. Subsequently, Frank, a huge American in height for 190 cm, became Ahmad’s not only an employer, but also a friend, and also a training partner. Later, Ahmad persuaded him to speak and became his personal trainer in preparation for the tournament.
Life in Florida, in a beautiful resort town and second most important center of American bodybuilding, Ahmad and his wife Maggie liked. In a small town near Florida, Haidar‘s sister lived, who married an American a few years ago, they often met. Ahmad Haidar spent 10 hours a day in the gym, training himself and coaching others. Ahmad needed a large number of clients, so at night he improved his English language, overlaid with textbooks. A year later, Ahmad was fluent in conversational English.
Having settled in a new place and having established a business, Ahmad Haidar finally focused on improving his professional form. At that time, Ahmad’s weight was 95 kg, he was trying to gain more weight and work on its quality before entering the stage of American professional tournaments.
Before the “Mr. Olympia” tournament in 1998, Haidar weighed only 98 kg, but was firmly aimed at winning. Realizing that he did not become a 125-kilogram monster, Ahmad decided to follow the path of Shawn Ray, who at a weight slightly more than a hundred competed with the giants on an equal footing. Therefore, he directed all his forces to improve proportions and symmetry. At the “Mr. Olympia” tournament, which became his first professional tournament, Haidar was only 16th. Ahmad appeared on the stage of Olympia four times in different years, his best achievement in this tournament was the 13th place in 2002 and 2004. After the 16th place at Olympia in 2009, Ahmed Haidar completed his professional career. In total, he took part in more than 30 professional tournaments. Among the best achievements of Ahmad Haidar, it is worth noting the second place in the tournaments of “Florida Pro Extreme” in 2004 and “New York Pro” in 2005.
The best part of Ahmad‘s body is his abdominal press, due to which he received his nickname “Abzilla”.
At present Ahmad Haidar lives in Florida, USA with his wife and daughter. Although Ahmad does not own any professional victory, his person is quite popular, his photos often appear on the covers and pages of cultural publications.