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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 August 2018

UAE Portrait of a Nation: Abu Dhabi resident seeks to change lives through fitness

Luca Muller began his fitness journey aged 14 and has since become a fitness influencer, offering advice to thousands online

Luca Muller, fitness trainer and influencer, hopes to use expand his online presence to help more people. Victor Besa / The National 
Luca Muller, fitness trainer and influencer, hopes to use expand his online presence to help more people. Victor Besa / The National 

From make-up to cooking, to drawing and carpentry, these days there is almost nothing you can’t learn from the internet.

Luca Muller is a product of that world. The 22-year-old is a fitness influencer who taught himself to become a trainer and body builder by watching videos online.

His fitness journey began at age 14.

“I started at a small city [in Germany] called Kusel that was next to our village [Rammelsbach] because it had the closest gym; and that is where it all happened,” he says.

By supplementing his gym training with Taekwondo, Mr Muller began transforming himself from a shy, skinny boy, to a strong and fit athlete. He would teach himself new skills by watching videos of well-known German fitness specialists online.

“I tried the things I learnt from them and they worked, and then I thought I can start to help other people.

“We are taught that you have to go to school, after that to university, then you find a job, then you spend your whole life in that job, then you retire, I thought ‘this cannot be it, there must be more to it than that’.”

Not unlike most parents, his German father and Slovenian mother were supportive but were concerned that he was planning to forgo a formal education to pursue a career in online fitness training.

His parents encouraged him to attend university to study facility management but he dropped out two years ago as soon as he saw an opportunity to work in fitness in the UAE.

“I had a friend who was working in Fitness First and he offered to introduce me to the manager. I saw myself as working here, so I packed my stuff, bought a one-way ticket and I came with my luggage only, I did not even have a job.”

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Determined, Mr Muller told himself he would not return to Germany until he had made something of himself.

He did land the job as a personal trainer at Fitness First and at Saadiyat Beach Club.

While working as a trainer, Mr Muller would post pictures of his fitness journey online and began to garner something of a following.

Those who saw his transformation would ask him for tips and, when it worked, they came back to him for more.

“Because people saw the changes on me they started coming to me and asking what they can do and I gave them the tips, and after a while they came to me and they were like ‘because of your tips my body has changed, what else can I do?’

“I got so happy from that and I thought ‘OK I need to keep on doing this and decided to go into personal training’.”

Beyond those who merely wished to become fitter, his clients included people with eating disorders who overcame their issues through exercise and the elderly who had trouble moving but were helped by the activity. The transformation fitness offered his clients made him want to expand his reach to more people.

“Personal training is good in the sense that it is personal, but you will only reach a limited amount of people a day.

“So to reach out to more people, I wanted to digitalise my knowledge.”

He started by posting new workout ideas and stunts to his 16,000 followers on Instagram. But Mr Muller does not want to stop there, he wants to build a community that is “not just active in terms of sports, but also mentally and physically.”

He plans to achieve this by going back to the place he started: the internet. Mr Muller is working on a website — alphabody.fitness — that he hopes will become a place for people of all walks of life to share fitness tips, their progression and encourage each other.

“I chose the name alpha body because alpha stands for number 1, and your body should be number one in your life. You have only one body and one life so you should treat it in a nice way,” he says.

Mr Muller is now self-employed and devotes all his time to his online platform and creating motivating, fitness content for his followers.

“Fitness changed my life completely,” he says.

“I finally found something that makes me happy; and that was my main goal, what I achieved now and I would not change it.”

The biog

Job: Fitness entrepreneur, body-builder and trainer

Favourite superhero: Batman

Favourite quote: We must become the change we want to see, by Mahatma Gandhi.

Favourite car: Lamborghini

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