Raising the Bar

IMG_1258The trainee becomes the trainer, shares his love of bodybuilding with other students

Native Wacoan Bilal Siddiq is a personal trainer, a Group X abs class instructor and a fitness model. On top of all these things, Siddiq still finds time for his degree in pre-med health science studies and time to stay involved at the McLane Student Life Center.

Siddiq had a vast background in high school sports, including powerlifting, basketball and football, which were coming to an end. He wanted to see what else he was capable of outside of typical high school sports.

“When I first started in high school, I was an avid powerlifter lifting heavy, heavy weights until I was 16 years old and my joints are paying for it now,” Siddiq said. “I use to be a really heavy guy, I was really strong, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I had abs.”

Over time that became his goal, and he worked to shape his mass to 8 percent body fat.

Siddiq decided to take his talents from hobbies like he did in high school and adjusted his focus on what he was truly passionate about: weightlifting.

After taking part of his summer to study and prepare for his personal training certification out of high school, Siddiq was determined he wanted to change his fitness level and help influence others to become more aware of their own health.

Featured on bodybuilding.com, included in Train Magazine and sponsored by the itunes app PumpUp, Siddiq has received high accolades for his determination and grit in turning himself into a fitness model.

Siddiq said he felt that under the guidance Van Davis, the assistant director for fitness and nutrition education, he could make a difference in the community by working at the SLC.

“Before Bill became a freshman here at Baylor, he called and emailed me about working as a personal trainer at the SLC, which made me see he was a very tenacious young man,” Davis said. “I’m a pretty good judge of character when it comes to people and within the first five minutes of speaking with him I knew I wanted him on my team.”

One of the youngest trainers on staff, Siddiq impressed his boss with his resume and was hired to be a part of the SLC staff as a personal trainer. In this role, Saddiq helps to create a workout strategy and diet plan for fellow students.

“This is definitely a way of life. You cannot just turn on and off. If I decide to taper off for a week or two, I’ll lose substantial amount of progress,” Siddiq said. “This lifestyle generally does affect every aspect in your life, but I would say in a vastly positive way it forces you to stay disciplined in all that you do.”

IMG_1285With weightlifting and fitness modeling constantly pressing and challenging Siddiq’s life, he found that the strictness of this regime actually helped him maintain a 3.9 grade point average.

Houston senior Hassan Dagha has known Siddiq not only as a trainer, but a friend. He knows even some of Siddiq’s smallest quirks, like an obsession with beanies and hats. As one of Siddiq’s clients, and a member of his Group X abs class, Dagha said he has confidence in Siddiq’s abilities.

“I’ve known Bill since freshman year and he is the guy who is a real workout junkie and he is passionate about it,” Dagha said. “To me, he is just a guy that really knows what he is doing, he truly cares about me and my progress and I’ve seen the results on him personally.”

Siddiq credits visualization as the key to his own success in his physique and his schooling.

photo 1 (1)COcoHe learned this from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is one of the most well-known and glorified bodybuilders in the world. Heroes such as Schwarzenegger and Hugh Jackman, who have taken this lifestyle seriously, have inspired Siddiq’s outlook on life.

“I never was the smartest kid growing up, but lifting and learning the discipline that goes into it helped me to control my personal life and academics as well,” Siddiq said.

He has seen these heroes demonstrate determination in their own careers with acting through strict eating habits and avid weightlifting as well.

“I hope to continue what I am doing to increase my own progress, help my clients grow in their efforts and promote the staff at the student life center in gaining further recognition,” Siddiq said.

He said he hopes others look at his efforts and know that they too are capable of achieving their own goals if they work for it.

Siddiq said he is doing everything he can think of to build himself into what he wants to see and what will inspire his peers.

Story and photos by: Dane Chronister | Reporter