Sabah Hamed Interview – Founder and Director of SABS Fitness and Hulky Hijabis

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1. Can you tell AWN why you created Hulky Hijabis?

I have always been into health and fitness and one day Amal (co-founder) and myself were working out and we realised just how difficult it was to be able to work out, not lose movement, be comfortable and modest. And that was the start of our journey to create Hulky Hijabis. We wanted to empower other women; ensure they feel comfortable to work out as well as look good. A lot of the types of fitness wear in the market currently, does not look good and restricts your movement a lot which ultimately negatively affects your workout and your results.

2. What is the main mission, vision and values of SABS Fitness and Hulky Hijabis?

We wanted Hulky Hijabis to be more than just a clothing line we wanted it to be a movement of empowerment, inspiration and strength.

At Hulky Hijabis our mission is to be the market leaders in the health and fitness industry. Empowering women is at the forefront of every executive decision we make. We strive to become the globally recognized champions in the fitness industry by making fitness more accessible around the world. We endeavour to achieve this by increasing knowledge, driving positive change and eliminating as many barriers as possible. The biggest and hardest barrier to combat is clothing. What to wear, how to wear and how comfortable it is.

At the heart of our core values lie empowerment, inspiration and representation. We believe everyone should be able to work out, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or religion. Everyone should be able to work out without feeling out of place, scared or compromising his or her beliefs. More specifically women and fitness have always been somewhat of an “unspoken” subject within many cultural groups, and Hulky Hijabis has been created in order to be the voice of power and fitness success for a woman in all four corners of the world.

SABS Fitness was developed with women in mind, to encourage and inspire more women to be active, partake in sports and health-related activities and develop a safe, effective and comfortable environment for women. I have felt the disconnect and disparity between women and men in the industry and I wanted to change that. I want women to work out and not feel like it is not the environment for them, I have tried to provide solutions to barriers that exist and will continue to strive towards narrowing the gap for women in fitness.

3. You’re doing some great work for the Breaking Barriers: International Day of The Girl Child which addresses the needs and challenges that girls face whilst promoting empowerment and fulfilment of human rights. How did you approach the campaign?

I realised that although more women are working out now and that there is more of a focus and spotlight on this it still wasn’t enough. There were still not enough happening to reach the far corners of various communities and that is why the campaign came to light.

I approached this by speaking to large organisations, charities, community leaders and local councils to champion this initiative as it would allow me to reach a large number of women in a short space of time. The goal was ultimately to maximise the effect in as little time as possible.

4. What other educational methods and services did you develop in order to help or train women?

I use an app called My PT Hub that allows me to set workouts for all my clients whether I train them face-to-face or online. The app has videos which demonstrate exactly how to do the exercise as well as written instructions too. They can record their progress and what they were able to do, and I can then alter this programme and amend it as required through the different training phases. I also use a nutrition tracking app called MyFitnessPal this allows me to set nutrition goals and targets for my clients so that they are eating the right balance of nutrients to support their intended goal. I also run Facebook live FAQ events where everyone is able to ask me any questions they may have, and I then upload this to my YouTube channel so they can listen to it at any point if they were not able to attend.

5. Who is the main team that forms SABS Fitness and Hulky Hijabis and what are their roles?

The main team at SABS Fitness is just me as Founder and CEO! And the main team at Hulky Hijabis is Amal Ali and myself both as Co-Founders/Joint CEO’s.

6. Was it difficult to get contributors and investors to support your project? How did you approach them?

It can be quite difficult to get contributors and investors to support a project especially when you’re just at the point of inception. Which ultimately means you end up footing a lot of the costs yourself, but it pays off in the end. For both ventures it has been self-funded up until now, however, we have been approached by investors as the brand has grown and we will need to fully evaluate the benefit this may have for the business.

7. What was the most remarkable moment you have experienced with SABS Fitness and Hulky Hijabis?

SABS Fitness: The most remarkable moment would be running my Free Ramadan Fitness Challenge in May this year. I wanted to be able to give back and set up a free online training programme to encourage women to take part in regular fitness activities whilst fasting as usually speaking all types of health-related activities come to a massive halt. I was lucky enough to be able to work with women from every continent and worked with over 2000 women in 30 days! I was astounded by how much traction it garnered and I never anticipated it would!

Hulky Hijabis: Without a doubt being featured in Women’s Health Magazine the Middle East was the most remarkable moment ever, and once again it was not something that I ever imagined would happen. Although you have a dream when it comes to business having it actually happen is a completely different thing!

8. Are there any future projects or plans that you can tell us about?

SABS Fitness: Future plans are to try and reach more women and work with other local communities in delivering health and fitness programmes. There has been a lot of attention from other local areas to replicate the women’s only work I have done in Kingston so this could certainly be something. To keep empowering and inspiring and growing as a brand and a business and end-goal would be to the face of women’s fitness across the world.

Hulky Hijabis: We are currently planning and designing our second line with a whole host of new designs, items, accessories and more so watch this space!

Sabah Hamed and Amal (Co-Founder Hulky Hijabis)

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