News: Hempstead Marine follows goal of becoming pro body builder, inspires, mentors others
Story by Sgt. Caleb Gomez
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – Standing at 5 feet 11 inches and 200 pounds of pure muscle, Sgt. Malik King is a United States Marine and an amateur bodybuilder.
A 2005 graduate from Hempstead High School in Hempstead, N.Y., King was a wrestler during his junior year.
“I wanted to be a professional wrestler,” he said. “That’s when I started to go to the gym. I wanted to get big and I figured amateur wrestling would be a gate-way, but as we know those are two different things.”
King joined the Marine Corps when he was 19 years old. He said his recruiter was his major influence in joining the Marine Corps.
“In the Marines I saw a role model,” said King, a supply administrator with 1st Marine Corps District. “I saw professionalism. I saw physical fitness. They just had everything I was looking for.”
In 2006, King went through recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. Upon completion, King attended military occupational specialty school at the Marine Corps Combat Service Support School in Camp Johnson, N.C. in 2007 and after graduating he reported to the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan.
While in Japan, King continued lifting but wasn’t into the bodybuilding scene yet. He solely focused on powerlifting which allowed him to get his name on a board next to all others who could bench press 300 pounds or more. King left the unit holding the record for lifting 410 pounds.
In 2008, King received orders to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
While stationed there, King won three power lifting awards, two for first place one for second place.
In 2009, King deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he supervised the management of millions of dollars worth of government property and facilitated uninterrupted supply support to close to 1,000 Marines and maintained 100 percent accountability of more than 1,300 weapons. Closing in on the end of the deployment, King entered a service-members only bodybuilding competition where he placed second.
“I felt good winning second place.” King said, “I was excited, I didn’t train for it and did well. The guy who beat me was in his 30s and you could tell that he was experienced, so it made me feel confident that if I continued to train, I could make it.”
After returning from Iraq, King spent the next few months continuing to powerlift and stay in shape. In 2010 he received a permanent change of assignment to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment also at MCAGCC.
While assigned to 3rd Bn, 4th Marines, he deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 where he had a similar role to that of his last deployment. Other than just continuing to powerlift, he took four overweight Marines under his wing and trained them. With his help the Marines got a first class on their physical fitness test for the first time.
Two months after returning from Afghanistan, King transferred here.
It was at 1MCD where King started getting into bodybuilding. In September, he entered his first official competition.
“The show in Iraq wasn’t official,” King said, “I did my first official one this past September. The only person who actually came and really supported me, took pictures and helped oil me up was my girlfriend, she is definitely my biggest supporter.”
In September, King took first place in Men’s Novice Light-Heavyweight Division and in Men’s Open Bodybuilding Light-Heavyweight Division at the NGA Nationals in East Orange, N.J.
“I didn’t know which category to enter,” he said, “so I entered both. I wanted to walk out with something, I wanted to better my chances, and I ended up winning first in both.”
King stresses to any Marine who wants to become an amateur bodybuilder to put your career first.
“I think the biggest piece of advice is don’t forget that you are a Marine first,” King said. “Bodybuilders get to a point where all they want to do is lift. They don’t want to run anymore, next thing you know you can barely pass a PFT. You’re getting embarrassed on the [combat fitness test] because you’re losing your stamina. For anyone interested, sculpt your physic, but make sure you are doing your pull-ups, crunches, your three-mile run, so you don’t fail when it comes to your Marine Corps career.”
King’s peers admire his dedication to both being a Marine and a bodybuilder.
“Sergeant King is very motivated in everything that he does,” said Sgt. Arturo Sotelo, purchasing agent with the district, originally from Calexico, Calif. “He is really dedicated toward his goals to be a body builder and never misses a training session, no matter how rough of a day he had.”
Capt. Roy Forehand, the 1MCD supply officer, said not only does King perform exceptional in his daily duties as a Supply Marine, he also leads the district color guard as the color sergeant and attends off duty education in pursuit of his bachelor's degree.
“Sergeant King is a goal oriented Marine,” said Forehand, “once he sets his mind on accomplishing a goal, there is nothing that will stand in his way.”
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