Featured image and video via Ahmed Zizo
Tons of bodybuilders and fitness instructors preach the idea of “no excuses”. They simplify exercises, facilitate meal plans, and create motivational videos of all sorts. But none talk the talk and walk the walk quite like Belal Gaber; the Egyptian bodybuilder defying common conceptions, reaching peak physical levels, and challenging what people think an amputee can or cannot do.
Belal was just a normal 12-year-old kid when he faced one of the biggest challenges a person could meet. A train accident left him without his left foot, but Gaber was determined to overcome adversities and live the life he wanted for himself, and not the one his circumstances would usually force upon him.
After the accident, Belal went on with his life normally, and despite doing well at high school, he struggled to find his place in higher education, moving from one university to another, until he finally got his Bachelor’s degree. But through this journey, the gym was where Belal really found his calling.
His passion was a source of enormous discomfort for his parents, they didn’t approve of this path due to the detrimental effects it had on his body. Belal’s physical strength wasn’t up to par with the heavy load he took upon himself at first when he started hitting the gym. His amputated leg would be drenched in blood and cuts due to overwhelming it with heavy weights, but Gaber was determined to find a way.
With hard work and determination, he started gaining strength, and before long his body was stronger and his drive more fierce than ever. This enabled him to participate in weightlifting competitions. Competing in these national tournaments brought light back to his soul, and made him feel truly alive. It shattered the image of what a person can or cannot do, especially when he won a bronze model in a competition, and snatched the top spot in a contest between Egypt’s universities.
Throughout his journey, Gaber says that his coach, Ahmed El-Turky, is one of the people who has helped him the most in realising his dream. Turky helped Gaber along the way and was one of the reasons Belal is now a coach himself at one of the biggest gyms in Egypt. Belal Gaber’s next step is to study for a diploma and become an internationally recognised fitness trainer.
The road to our dreams will always be long and hard, but anything worthwhile should be that way.