In the suffocating sweat sock of Florida’s Pompano Beach, with its heavy hissing midday air, motorists taking to the freeway do so with a dread not unlike that of entering Erebus, that benighted pit stop on the way to Hades; Ahmad Haidar sees that heat-shimmering snake of macadam wiggling its way into the city and eagerly straps it on like a leash.
Five days a week, year in, year out, Haidar has been lapping up that highway like a puppy dog, loving every mile, and the farther he drives, the hungrier he gets. His trip from home to the gym takes 45 minutes, but he wouldn’t mind an even longer time to stew. This is his chance to become immersed in the prep for his chest workout, where he can plumb his passion and start the momentum for what’s to come, running through every exercise, set, rep and sensation he’ll face. “When I walk through that door,” he exclaims, “I’m at full boil, ready-pumped and ready to go.”
His is a silent burning, but one as evident as Florida’s steam. At first glance, he’s laconic, almost shy; but a slight thing, like the timbre of his voice, reveals more of his character than battles where thousands fall. The more Haidar describes the pile-driving pump he’ll feel in his upper chest, the delicious pain that will tear at his outer pecs or the drum-tight fullness he’ll build with a forced rep, the more you share his excitement.