Interviews

Gain 10: About Dymatize Athlete Arash Rahbar

Get to know the IFBB Pro Classic Physique competitor and face of the Gain 10 program.

Arash Rahbar
Per Bernal

SNAPSHOT: ARASH RAHBAR

  • Birth Date: Nov. 29, 1980
  • Residence: Long Island, NY
  • Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
  • Height: 5'10"
  • Weight: 205 pounds (competition); 225 pounds (off-season)
  • Career Highlights: 2017 Olympia classic physique, 4th; 2016 Olympia classic physique, 2nd; 2016 New York Pro classic physique, 1st; 2016 Pittsburgh Pro classic physique, 1st; 2014 North American Championships men’s physique, overall winner (earned pro card)

About Arash:

Long before the inception of the IFBB’s classic-physique renaissance project (announced officially in 2015) came the Iranian Revolution of 1979. This is what drove the Rahbar family out of Tehran to Long Island, NY, in 1981. Arash was just a year old.

Like many future bodybuilders, he was athletic as a child, but not through typical American sports like baseball, football, or basketball. Rahbar’s father, Saeid, was a martial artist, so Arash naturally gravitated toward combat sports, starting with judo and then getting into other disciplines like aikido, taekwondo, and Tang Soo Do.

“American sports were very alien to me,” says Rahbar, who grew up in Great Neck. “I didn’t really learn the rules of the games as a youth. I eventually played American football in high school, and I  remember getting on the field and not even knowing what a first down was. But I was athletic. I took to martial arts at a very young age and practiced it until my late teens. I believe that really gave me a great base for bodybuilding because of the strength in my legs, particularly my abductors. My legs always come in conditioned before my upper body, which is very rare for bodybuilders. I attribute that in part to the explosiveness of martial arts.”

Aside from the physical, these early activities benefited Rahbar mentally, too. Discipline through  martial arts isn’t merely a cliché; it’s real.

“It’s absolutely real,” he says. “My father was very disciplined through martial arts and pretty hard on me as far as expectations. I was a very good martial artist, but he always found fault. So I became a perfectionist, and it kind of made me into a machine compared with other kids. Kids my age weren’t serious about anything.”

Rahbar’s second love, at least where sports were concerned, was bodybuilding. His early influences in this area came not from home, but from complete strangers: men like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Lee, whom he would see in magazines and on television. “From like, 8 or 9 years old,” says Rahbar, “I was infatuated with muscularity, that alpha-male image.”

That infatuation got him into lifting weights. Rahbar was only 11 years old when he started working out. He was uneducated regarding resistance training and lacked equipment, but he had a EZ-curl bar, some plates, and a beverage cooler in his basement at home, and that was enough to get him started. He used the cooler as a bench, and his workouts included little more than curls and the bench press. “I had no clue what I was doing,” he says.

That soon changed, fueled by an intense desire to add muscle and thanks to reading every bodybuilding publication he could get his hands on, sometimes reading a single magazine 10 times. By 13, Rahbar was training at the high school weight  room. At 15, he had a gym membership and was “full-on bodybuilding” (his words). At 17, he probably could have stepped onstage and competed if he’d wanted to.

“That discipline from martial arts transferred over to bodybuilding,” says Rahbar. “At that time in high school, not having anyone to mentor me, I went out of my way to make sure I got enough protein. Even though I didn’t know what I was doing, I ate five meals a day, I took creatine, and I lifted six days a week during the summer when everyone else was getting drunk. I got infatuated with the bodybuilders from the ’90s—Kevin Levrone, Shawn Ray, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates. They’re still my favorites.”

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