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For newly crowned Mr. Indian Ocean, bodybuilding is a lifestyle

Victoria, Seychelles | November 26, 2016, Saturday @ 12:29 in Editorial » THE INTERVIEW | By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 5068
For newly crowned Mr. Indian Ocean, bodybuilding is a lifestyle

Ziad Mekdachi, 37, started bodybuilding in 2009. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - Three weeks after winning the Mr. Seychelles 2016, bodybuilder Ziad Mekdachi last weekend won the Eric Favre Classic Grand Prix.

Along with a bronze medal in the ‘Arnold Classic’ bodybuilding competition held in South Africa in May, 2016 has been a fruitful season for the 37-year-old who started bodybuilding in 2009.

Mekdachi was born in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Lebanese father and a mother from Seychelles. He came to Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, in 2006. Like his dad he is married to a Seychellois and has a 7-year old son.

SNA caught up with Mekdachi now that his 2016 has come to a close.


SNA: For only seven years in bodybuilding you have done amazingly well – tell us how you entered the world of bodybuilding

ZM: It was not something I planned. One day I was preparing for the kickboxing world championship which was to take place in Beirut. I was in a break and my brother said let’s go and try bodybuilding. I said okay I will try and since that day I never stopped.


SNA: So bodybuilding was not your first choice?

ZM: At the beginning I did martial arts. I am a kickboxing champion in Lebanon. I only started bodybuilding as a hobby and for keeping fit at around 22 years. I started bodybuilding in 2009.


SNA: What does it take to become a bodybuilder?

ZM: You need to be morally strong because it is not something where you go to the gym and lift weights -- it includes dieting, discipline and determination. It takes all of that to become a bodybuilder. It’s not easy to become a true bodybuilder. 

Mekdachi was born in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Lebanese father and a mother from Seychelles.(Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

SNA: You mentioned dieting – is that important in bodybuilding?

ZM: You have to watch your diet 90 percent of the time. Bodybuilding season is divided into two – the pre-contest period and the off-season. Take an instance my 2016 season -- I had three competitions – an international one in May, a short break and then Mr. Seychelles and Mr. Indian Ocean. I diet for six months. So for me bodybuilding is not a sport it’s a lifestyle. It goes with you everywhere, in the gym, at home -- you have to eat clean and healthy food and get enough hours sleep.


SNA: Does that mean you need to watch what you eat?

ZM: Dieting for a bodybuilder is a form of manipulation because everything needs to be measured and planned -- like how many meals you take per day. During the season you need to monitor your calories especially carbohydrates as you are preparing your body for competition. It is also a mix of alimentation and supplements.


SNA: What is a typical day for you?

ZM: I wake up in the morning, have breakfast and then go to the gym and if I have something planned, I work on it. Immediately after I take my supplement -- then I go home. If I have the chance to rest I do, if not I go to work.


SNA: How do you balance your career with bodybuilding?

ZM: I am lucky in that aspect because my work is in the same field as bodybuilding. I am a personal trainer so when I am not training -- I am training others.   


SNA: What do you enjoy most about bodybuilding?

ZM: Everything -- it’s a self satisfaction and a never ending process. The more I do it I progress further and gain muscle maturity and learn many things. It’s incredible.


SNA: What keeps you motivated as a bodybuilder?

ZM: I think it's love for bodybuilding and for me its my life it makes me happy.

Mekdachi describes 2016 as his best season so far. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

SNA: You’ve won Mr. Seychelles five times -- what does that mean to you?

ZM: It’s a personal achievement and it’s worth every effort -- the dedication and the determination. It makes me proud and I look forward to see how far I can go. I think that when the day comes for me to retire people will still remember me in bodybuilding.


SNA: You won Mr. Indian Ocean last week-end – How did that feel?

ZM: It’s special in terms of achievement as I have won medals in other higher level competitions. This is special because it was hosted in our country and it was the first time I competed with foreign bodybuilders in front of my family and friends.


SNA: How do you see bodybuilding in Seychelles?

ZM: It is improving especially more so lately as more people are showing an interest. When I look at the past two years and compare to 2009 there is big difference. Athletes are now better prepared.


SNA: What advice would you give to people aspiring to become a bodybuilder?

ZM: If they decide to practice this lifestyle they need determination, discipline and respect for what they are doing. They need to adopt it as a lifestyle.


SNA: What is Ziad’s aim for the future?

ZM: The season 2016 is over and it has been my best season so far. Now I recuperate and keep on dieting until the 2017 calendar comes out. I want to become a professional bodybuilder, it’s my dream and for me I feel that now I am the closest ever to making my dream come true. This will be my ultimate target for 2017.


SNA: Do you feel you have enough support as a bodybuilder?

ZM: Now that people have seen the level of Seychellois bodybuilder I hope that this will help me in my future preparation and get positive response from sponsors. Local sponsors often say they assist team sports and not really individuals. I think they should look more at the outcome – what the athlete is achieving.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NSC (National Sports Council) for all the assistance they have provided.                         

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Tags: Ziad Mekdachi, Beirut, Lebanon, Mr. Seychelles, bodybuilder, bodybuilding, Eric Favre Classic Grand Prix

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