Malik Abdul-Haqq turned to drugs to fill a void in his life, but he received a wake-up call when he was sentenced to a three-year stint in a California state prison. To get his life back on track, he traded his drug addiction for an addiction to wellness and started doing CrossFit.
A longtime bodybuilding enthusiast, Abdul-Haqq created a plan for surviving prison: He would read the books his father gave him and exercise every day. But weightlifting has been banned in California state prisons since 1998, so Abdul-Haqq had to get creative. When he wasn’t running or performing body-weight movements, he would fill old T-shirts with gravel and use them as weights in the yard.
Upon his release, Abdul-Haqq decided he no longer wanted to focus exclusively on bodybuilding. Instead of being a specialist, he wanted to be “an all-around badass,” and CrossFit’s emphasis on constantly varied functional movement was a better fit for his long-term goals.
After receiving encouragement from the coaches in his CrossFit community in Oakland, California, he completed the CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course.
Abdul-Haqq plans to open his own gym and offer after-school fitness programs for local kids someday.
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