When amateur boxer Zack ‘King’ Khan was forced to give up because of an injury, he decided to concentrate on his hobby of weightlifting.
The talented 33-year-old from Sheffield was soon asked to enter competitions, and at 29 he won the International Federation of Body Builders title, making him Britain’s first Muslim professional bodybuilder.
Now Khan, who observes the laws of his Islam faith and who says he has never missed Friday prayers, makes a living travelling the world competing and performing.
He says the hardest challenge of combining his faith and his career comes during Ramadan, when he has to consume the 5,000 calories he needs each during the hours of darkness.
Khan, who weighs 310lbs when he’s at fighting weigh, said: ‘Adapting my profession for my religion is something which has just become second nature to me now.
‘Every day I need to have 5,000 calories so I have at least eight meals a day, but this is difficult during Ramadan.
‘In order to get round it I have a protein shake as soon as the window for food consumption opens to warm up my stomach.’
He then waits half an hour before eating through the night, taking intervals between each of the five meals he must consume to keep his strength up.
In spite of my strict training schedule and the vast amount of travelling I do for competitions I ensure I remain dedicated to my religion,’ Khan added.
‘I frequently visit the mosque and I’ve never missed a Friday service.’
Maintaining his physique is not just about diet, so Khan spends hours in the gym each day training to keep his muscles in peak condition.
Having just returned from a three-year break after he was injured soon after winning the 2009 title, Khan is taking his career seriously.
Khan, who is currently in Las Vegas for the Olympia Fitness and Performance Expo weekend, said: ‘For me bodybuilding is a job, like the normal 9-5, and I am my own product, that’s why it’s so important for me to train hard.’
source: dailymail UK