Welcome to another edition of “What’s Neue from 9 to 5”.
We here at Neue believe that every person out there has a story to tell.
This week, we find out What’s Neue with Seven Sporks, a specialised meal prep business that’s headed by 26-year-old Syafiq Iqbal, a personal trainer who left his office job a few years ago to build something that would secure his family’s future as well as his own.
According to him, getting fit, eating healthily and doing business have one thing in common – they require you to KNOW exactly what your goals are.
And once you’ve identified those goals, you then have to put in the work to achieve them.
“Never give up! Focus!” This is what he firmly believes in.
“If you have this mentality (a ‘bulletproof’ mindset), Insya’Allah nothing will stop you,” he said.
When asked what inspired him to build the Seven Sporks business, he said: “First and foremost, it’s passion, second is family, third is people, and fourth is financial security.”
“As a fitness trainer and as a person who is always passionate about cooking, it just made perfect sense for me to start this business,” he added.
Without further ado, let’s see how Syafiq tackles this week’s #Neue9to5 questions.The First 9 Questions
1. Tell us about some inspirational people in your life?
That would have to be my mom, dad and fiancée.
My mom, Fatimah binti Ismail, has always been my #1 fan.
She’s always been the first to believe in me … even when I didn’t believe in myself.
She has always looked out for me, and I want to do the same for her.
Her loyalty has no comparison.
I respect her a lot and truly appreciate everything that she’s done for me since day 1.
I’ll always remember what my mom said this to me when I was 18 – “Love yourself before you love others.” This is something that I still hold true to this day.
Another person who I truly respect is my dad, Abdul Manap bin Haji Zaman. I learn from what my father went through in his business ventures. I embrace it all. Look, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
My fiancée, Nurul Hidayatullah, is another important person in my life who has always been there for me.I’m a firm believer that behind every successful man, there’s a strong and wise woman – who will stick with you through the good times and bad.
And I can’t move on to the next question without making a special shoutout to my brothers – Hanif, Hafeez and Faweez.
Family and loyalty are like diamonds – won’t bend, won’t break, it’s forever! This is the code of our business. I’m so very thankful to have these amazing people in my life.
2. You left your office job a couple of years ago. What advice would you give someone who’s thinking of doing the same?
For me, I am someone who always wants to inspire others. You know, sometimes it feels like I need to.
At the end of the day, hard work will bring you success.
But don’t get me wrong, you can’t achieve success in an instant.
It will require you to constantly put in the work. You can’t afford to sleep off!
3. How did the idea of ‘Seven Sporks’ come about?
Prior to setting up Seven Sporks, my personal training business was picking up.
For me it’s passion … fitness … sports. I wanted to make all this a part of my life.
That was when I realised that I wanted to offer people a healthier option to eat.
And one way to do that was through a specialised meal prep business.
And that was how Seven Sporks was born.
I know you’re probably going to ask me now, “Why that name though?”
Well, it’s simple: I just wanted to build something that has meaning.
And I wanted to come up with a name that whenever people say it, they’ll think to themselves, “Man! That’s catchy!”
And there you have it … ‘Seven’ because that represents how many days there are in a week, and well … ‘Sporks’ … that’s spoon and fork! Haha!
4. I understand that ‘Seven Sporks’ now has a nutrition coach. Can you tell our readers a little something about this?
I’ve attended bootcamps sponsored by DARe (Darussalam Enterprise), a statutory body that aims to nurture and support the development of local enterprises.
And that was when I knew I had to make my business legit.
After all, you will get people who might say, “Eh? Benar kah ni?” – “Is this for real?” in English.
And this is where Lim Fun, a nutrition coach, comes in.
He is someone who shares the same goals as me.
Both of us used to compete in CrossFit before and he’s been a good friend of mine ever since.
5. Nasi Katok: what’s are your thoughts about this?
Look, I’m not against people who do not eat meals prepared by Seven Sporks.
For me, I think it’s alright to eat Nasi Katok for a ‘cheat day’, say Sundays.
I’m not trying to condemn anyone.
Through Seven Sporks, I just want to be a part of someone’s life 🙂
6. Where’s your go-to gym?
I’ve always been with Hybrid Movement Gym.
Why? Because Hybrid is community – from the way we train to the way we interact with people.
It’s not just you, client and trainer.
At the end of the day, we are like friends in a sense.
It’s not about one-offs … it’s all about building relationships.
Look, it’s not that hard to be nice.
But it takes a lot of energy to be a jerk.
7. What are your thoughts about fat-shaming?
I used to be fat.
It’s never okay to fat-shame people.
When I was fat back then, I remember I wanted to be just like everybody else.
I wanted to join in on the fun … you know sports and stuff. I was 110kg back then.
Looking at me now, you would not probably believe that I was fat before. So what makes you think that YOU can’t lose weight too like me.
Most of my PT clients just want to be healthy – it’s not necessarily just about weight loss.
And that’s we do at Hybrid … it’s all about making people feel inclusive.
8. If you could meet anyone in the world. Who would it be?
It would have to be Dan Peña. He’s a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and business consultant who began his business journey from the bottom.
For me, I’m always fascinated by how people overcome life’s struggles.
You know, when you talk to someone who’s “hungry” (and has nothing left to lose in life), you can see the fire in their eyes and they will prove to you that they will work as hard as possible to attain success.
For me, when I do something, I say to myself, “I’m going to smash that wall!”
I’m inspired by what Dan Peña said. If I recall correctly, he once said, “I will not give my kids my fortune because that will not help them.”
Me doing this (Seven Sporks) … it’s all about securing my family’s future. I want to build something that’s big.
I want to be in a position to be able to give others opportunities to attain success in their own lives.
You know, when it comes to people who are successful … it comes from struggle and having good support along the way.
So if you’re successful, be sure not to spoil your kids. What’s important is that you teach them and provide them the necessary tools. What happens next is up to them!
I know it’s cliche but it’s like the saying goes … “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
This is so true!
Oh! I’d also like to add that another person who I’d like to meet would be Jamie Oliver, the British chef and restaurateur. He is known for his approachable cuisine, which has led him to front numerous television shows and open many restaurants.
I’d love to ask him how he was able to make his personal brand stand out. I’d like to know how he manages all his business!
9. Knowing what you know how, what lessons would you give your kids in future?
Focus … that’s the only thing.
Because once you focus, you can do anything.
However, if you’re doing ‘A’ and at the same time juggling with ‘B’, it’s going to be really tough to achieve success in your life.
The important thing in life is that if you truly believe something’s really going to work, you have to focus.
You have to put your heart and soul into whatever you believe in.
The Last 5 Questions
1. Let’s now take it down a notch with some easy-going questions. Are you an animal lover?
I absolutely love cats! In fact, I currently have 8 cats.
To me, cats are like humans. They all have their own characters. They are just like us!
2. What’s your best memory from your school days?
Escaping classes with my friends and playing cards 🙂
3. Do you still keep in contact with your old school mates?
One of my closest friends back in Sayyidina Umar Al-Khattab Secondary School (SMSUA) then was Afiq Adli.
What’s interesting is that to this day we still do keep in touch.
In fact, we’d go deep sea fishing!
Oh! And side note … I can’t swim!
4. I understand that you’re a Marvel kinda guy. What kind of superhero would you like to be?
I’d love to be like Iron Man. His ability is well, money! Money to build really cool things! Honestly! That’s be a pretty cool superpower to have. Money bro!!
5. Tell us something that people may find interesting about you.
Well, my nickname is ‘Del Oso’ (that’s a play on the Spanish word for teddy bear ‘El Oso’).
And hmm … what else? Well, I can sing. I enjoy singing Michael Bublé kinda songs. I used to be active singing where I’d join competitions when I was 17.
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