Published: 28th April 2018
Rags to Abs: The story of gym trainer Shafi Sami is what every Hyderabadi would find inspiring
At the age of 15, he had been motivated by the idea of Indian Wrestling, as fighting and keeping fit had always been a part of his family legacy
"I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than yesterday". That's the motto Shafi Sami, a gym trainer, a bodybuilder and a down-to-earth soul from Hyderabad lives by. Hailing from a family of Army personnel who were all into fitness and bodybuilding came naturally to him. Shafi is the eldest son in the family and had completed his secondary education in a government school and went on to pursue his Bachelors degree in commerce.
Shafi had a tough childhood: the phase where other children explore and enjoy outside, Shafi had the responsibility of his younger sister as he had lost both his parents and grandparents. At the age of 15, he had been motivated by the idea of Indian Wrestling, as fighting and keeping fit had always been a part of his family legacy. He joined the 'Muscle Power Gym' 5 kms away from his home and to manage his gym fees, house expenses and the responsibility of looking after his sister: Shafi juggled between his gym hours and took up a job of marketing gift articles for which he had earned Rs 20 per day and later spend three hours a day at the gym.
His continued passion for body building had paid off finally as his gym owner Bhaskar Reddy saw his utmost dedication and hard work that he had waived off the payment of the gym fees. Not surprisingly, Shafi considers Bhaskar Reddy as his guru who had recommended him for demonstration as guest posing. He had received a lot of attention and people valued his talent: this made him work harder to reach great heights. He started participating in many local competitions, amidst all these, he had gotten a job as a Fitness Trainer at 'Hitech Gym' for a salary of Rs 1500/- and used to train 200-250 members. In 2005, Shafi rook part in Mr. Andhra Pradesh and in 2006, Mr. South India securing third place in the 75 kg category: this was his biggest achievement in his life and he felt content for his success but didn’t stop at this milestone, he continued to participate in many other competitions like Mr. Telangana and Mr. Hyderabad.
Soon, he cracked the Fitness Trainer Post in Bank of America which was one of the toughest interviews so far and it had been interviewed by Rajan Reddy (An army body builder) for Rs 6,000 amonth. Rajan Reddy has been his mentor he states providing him with the necessary tips, knowledge and skill required to be a trainer and later applied for a job for training troops of the Indian Army. This excited him as he wanted to serve and play his part to the Indian Army hailing from an army background; he was interviewed by Captain Bharathi and was selected as Fitness Trainer at Mehdipatnam Branch and served there for a whole of 14 months. Shafi is also known to provide freelance training to celebrities like Bishnu Adhikary and Abhijeet at 'Roy's Gym, Banjara Hills'.
Though life is never a bouquet of roses, Shafi had enough turmoil in his life as he had gone through a financial crisis where he had opened up a gym along with a partner named 'Body Flex Gym' in 2008 at Asif Nagar and later an extended branch in Karawan in 2013: he had sold the prior Gym to buy himself a home.
And the only milestone achieved during this dark period of his life was acquiring the 1st place in Mr. Perfect competition held in the year 2012.
Due to repeated financial crisis, Shami resorted to Freelance training at 'Fitness Solution Gym' and on a suggestion given by his guru he had come across Srinivas Sir, he had opened up a Gym at Gachibowli utilizing the resources and the required loans provided by Srinivas who owned the place at Gachibowli. Shafi had seen a tough phase of his life by taking loans, selling his house, Jewelry and his vehicle also staying in a rented house. "Where there is a will there is a way " saying comes true in Shami's life as all his troubles financially and individually paid off with the initiation and set up of 'ERA of 24/7 Fitness and Unisex Gym'. Though it seems like he has come up to the top he still aspires to compete in Mr. Asia representing our country.