Zahir Khudoyarov: "It is better to perform well"
Today Zahir Khudoyarov is one of the most popular and recognizable powerlifters in the world. The winner of various prestigious tournaments, the record holder of the all-time-record in powerlifting without equipment, the president of the GPA Azerbaijan federation, Zahir performs rarely, but always successfully, and his performances are remembered by fans of powerlifting for a long time. Today Zahir is a guest of 'Iron World'.
- Zahir, where and when were you born? Where do you live?
- I was born in Azerbaijan on July 18th 1983. Now I live in Finland, in Turku.
- What is your height and weight for competitions?
- My height is about 178 cm and my weight is 123 kg. I perform in the category up to 125 kg. It is a very convenient category for me. I previously performed in the category up to 110 kg.
- When and why did you decide to be engaged in powerlifting?
- It happened quite by chance. It was in 1997. My parents have three brothers. We were at home and doing nothing. Father came home, saw this, and said, "Why do you idle your time away? Find a kind of sport for your soul." I wanted to box. But I saw a picture with bodybuilders and decided that this is my kind of sport. Dad took me to a gym located in a basement and asked if there was a coach. I came to the coach with an impressive constitution. Then my weight was 39 kg. I worked out with 14 kg and squatted with 30 kg. Then I started training. The coach left me the keys to the gym. I would go there in the evening and work out until two o'clock in the morning. I worked a lot, but non-systemically, without realizing what I was really doing.
- And when did you start your powerlifting activity? When and how did you perform for the first time?
- I was deliberately engaged in powerlifting in 2003. The old gym was closed, and we together with friends equipped a new one, clearing a very neglected communal room. My middle brother Nazim came from the army and was involved in wrestling and did training powerlifting exercises. He was my first coach in powerlifting, despite the fact that he was younger than me. In 2003 I took part in competitions for the first time. I performed without equipment, only with bandages. I crouched with 300 kg, worked out about 180-190 kg, pulled 300 kg. The second place was won by a guy who performed with equipment. We all performed together then. Some athletes had equipment, some performed without it.
- What are your personal records in powerlifting exercises in triathlon?
- 472.5 kg in squats, bench press is 260 kg and 380 kg in the deadlift. 1112.5 kg in total.
- How many times do you train a week?
- 6-7 days a week. Sometimes I have a rest on Sunday. I do both bodybuilding and powerlifting training. And I want to look good and be strong.
- How many sets and repetitions do you do?
- If I don't prepare for the tournament I train in bodybuilding style and make 10 sets of 10-12 repetitions each time. When I prepare I increase the weight and repetitions. I go up the pyramid. At the peak of the pyramid I do three sets of three repetitions.
- What did you do during today's training?
-Today I trained legs. I did classic squats, leg press, squat in the "Hack-car", extension and leg curls in the gym. That's all. I won't train legs this week anymore. Tomorrow I plan to train shoulders and arms. I love to train biceps and triceps.
- Do you eat sports nutrition?
- I signed a contract with the Atlarge Nutrition American company, which delivers me sports nutrition. I drink both gainer, and protein, and amino acids, and vitamin complexes. I don't like creatine, but I start drinking it three weeks before the tournament. My wife Anna is a certified surgeon and she knows better than I what and how to eat and drink. She controls this process [Anna is also a well-known athlete, the winner of many records in powerlifting – Author's note].
- How often do you eat? Do you control calories?
- I don't eat much, about 3-4 times a day. When I have difficult workouts, then I do it twice a day because I don't want to. I don't control my calories. I rely on the way I feel. If I feel weak it means that I ate too little. In my opinion, I drink about 5000-6000 calories a day. I like eggs. I can eat about 10 eggs for breakfast.
- Why do you perform so rarely in competitions?
- I perform once or twice a year. I think it is better to prepare well once and perform successfully, rather than ten times, but not well.
- What are your sporting plans for this season?
- I intend to squat with 500 kg! But in general I am training now for the US Open tournament, which is to be held in California in late April. I like to speak about the USA very much. Powerlifting is very well developed in there. I have sponsors and many friends in the USA.
- What's after squat with 500 kg?
- If I squat with 500 kg, in this case I will specifically finish a competitive powerlifter, though I feel that I can progress for a long period of time. I have a plan to open my own fitness center, as well as promote my brand Challenger, which produces fitness equipment, gym apparatus, weights, dumbbells and other power equipment.