Muscleman builds on his passion for fitness


Iwan Setiawan (left) training one of his clients, Hazwan Khairi Jamil, 25.

LOCAL bodybuilder Iwan Setiawan Jozef, 41, fondly known as Wan Ah Seng, has been hitting the gym since he was 18.

“I remember turning on the television and flipping between sports channels when I saw the greatest bodybuilder of all time – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“A day after, I became a regular gym-goer,” said Iwan Setiawan, adding that he learned bodybuilding from the 1999 International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Mr Asia Wong Hong.

The father of three is founder of D’Popeye Gym and has been helping his clients achieve their fitness goals with his 14 years of professional coaching experience.

“I first started working in 2002 as a despatch boy at a bank.

“I resigned from the bank as assistant manager (unit trust) in 2012 to start my gym,” said Iwan Setiawan, who is American Council on Exercise-certified.

He has expertise in fat loss programmes, hypertrophy training, strength and conditioning, diet, bodybuilding stage posing and other types of fitness programmes.

“Being a bodybuilder and running a fitness business is not a bed of roses.

“I experienced several months of not having enough customers for my gym or clients for my training programme.

“I also suffered many injuries to my back and hamstring and was partially paralysed for two years.

“Despite countless career-threatening injuries, I still put my blood, sweat and tears into bodybuilding and to grow my business,” said Iwan Setiawan, adding that giving up was not part of his vocabulary.

Despite countless injuries, Iwan Setiawan continues to give his all to bodybuilding.

“The image of a dumbbell is planted in my mind early in the morning when I wake up and before I sleep at night,” said Iwan Setiawan, who was raised in Kuala Lumpur,

“My proudest moment in this industry was at the 2006 Mr Gym Rakyat when I emerged champion in the 70kg and below category at the championship.

“I am also the winner of the 2010 Mr Kuala Lumpur Bodybuilding championship in the champion of champions category.

“It was my greatest onstage performance as I was recognised as the best of the best,” he said, earning him the moniker “Little Giant Killer” from other local bodybuilders.

Iwan Setiawan acknowledged his debt to his family and close friends, especially his wife, Normilah Ahmad Pahmi, 36.

“She is my chef who knows about the right combination of carbohydrates, protein, fats and fibre in my meals.

“She is someone who I can always count on and has been through many ups and downs with me since we tied the knot 15 years ago,” he added.

Diet is key to bodybuilding, said Iwan Setiawan.

“I make sure that I take 300gm of protein daily to maintain my physique. I spend about RM600 per week on 6kg of chicken breast, 4kg of salmon and 90 eggs.

“For complex carbohydrates, I prefer oats and basmati rice, while banana, broccoli, onions, tomatoes and green beans are my main sources of fibre.”

Iwan Setiawan said having the right calorie intake in terms of carbohydrates is crucial to build muscle mass.

He is also a Kuala Lumpur Bodybuilding Federation (KLBBF) coach.

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