Mt. Airy fitness club owner overjoyed to finally be open

Posted 8/26/20

After being forced to shut down for almost five months, Mika’il Abdul-Karim, 50, was allowed to open his gym, Diverse Body Sculpturing, Inc., 7224 Germantown Ave., on Aug. 10. by Len Lear Mika’il …

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Mt. Airy fitness club owner overjoyed to finally be open

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After being forced to shut down for almost five months, Mika’il Abdul-Karim, 50, was allowed to open his gym, Diverse Body Sculpturing, Inc., 7224 Germantown Ave., on Aug. 10.

by Len Lear

Mika’il Abdul-Karim, 50, was smiling like a child who just got everything he wanted for Christmas. On Monday, Aug. 10, he was allowed to open his gym, Diverse Body Sculpturing, Inc., 7224 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy, for the first time in five months because of the pandemic. Gov. Wolf loosened the protocols just a sliver to allow gyms and fitness clubs to open with very strict guidelines, including only a very limited number of customers at any one time.

“I am so happy,” he said with a smile that would not recede. “I am allowed to have 25 to 30 people here at one time, but that is no problem because I do not have more than five clients at one time anyway. I took a Covid-19 certification test, and we had already changed the setup so that there would be plenty of social distancing and sanitizing.”

Up until Aug. 10, Abdul-Karim had been giving training lessons on Facetime, some group classes and some one-on-one sessions. “The community in Mt. Airy has been phenomenal throughout this whole thing,” insisted Mika'il. “There has been overwhelming support. I can't tell you how many people said they hoped we would not have to close our doors. It was such a great feeling.”

Abdul-Karim grew up in South Philly and graduated from South Philadelphia High School. He started fitness training in 1986, and he has been bodybuilding since 2000 under the tutelage of mentor Michael Thaire, owner and fitness coach of Body World Gym in South Philadelphia.

As part of his fitness regimen, Mika'il began running every day at 3 a.m. (earlier than farmers get up) at the St. Joseph's University track, which was open to the public. (He'd go to sleep at 9 p.m.) He would start giving advice to other early birds, and before you could say “Give me 30 push-ups,” he had clients who were willing to pay for his training tips. World-of-mouth brought more clients his way, and eventually he had 30.

“Then I thought that since I had that many clients, I might as well open a gym,” he said. A friend named Carolina Ruiz, who had opened a massage business, Sacred Paradise Spa, at 7203 Germantown Ave. in 2013, allowed Mika'il to open a fitness club in her basement. In January of 2018, he moved to a bigger location at 7224 Germantown Ave. but was thrown a curve when the pandemic forced him to close until Aug. 10.

In 2016 he studied online and in person at a school called NESTA (National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association), an NCAA-accredited school in Southern California that teaches nutrition, biomechanics, slimming therapy, etc., for fitness trainers and coaches. The following year he went to Florida Medical College, a school in Miami that offers associate degrees in massage therapy, medical assistantship, etc.

Apparently, a typical client, local resident Vaune Jones said about the Mt. Airy gym, “Mika'il created a training program that fits my physical capabilities, and before we start each training session, he has always asked me how I feel and if anything hurts … If I have a question regarding the meal plan, he always responds within a reasonable amount of time by phone or text. Mika'il is a very pleasant person and is very dedicated to his clients. I am so glad I decided to give his gym a try.”

In addition to fitness, Mika'il is an evangelist for healthy eating. “I drink a 50.7-ounce bottle of water before 7 a.m. every day and another one before 5 p.m.,” he said. “It helps your joints, blood circulation, all your organs and cells throughout your body, and your flexibility improves … Foods like most sugary drinks and cereals like Cap'n Crunch have Aspartame (an artificial non-saccharide sweetener much sweeter than sucrose), which is killing our people. It causes anxiety, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, diabetes and more. You wouldn't give your kids cigarettes, so why would you give them diabetes? We need a plant-based diet, not fast food!”

Abdul-Karim also will make his film debut when he appears in Eric Orr’s film, “CHAAW,” later this year (if the film is picked up by one of the prestigious film festivals). “CHAAW” was nominated for Best Script at the 2019 New Vision International Film Festival and won the 2019 Award for Feature Screenplay at the Los Angles Film Awards.

For more information: 267-586-9504 or itsdifferentatthislevel.com Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com

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