Q&A with Pascal and Nic of Équilibre

Published on March 26, 2012
Categories - Blog, News, Read About

Today we are pleased to introduce to you Pascal and Nic, from local business Équilibre. This husband and wife duo have brought a whole new approach to the world of fitness and coaching. Their latest program, Fitness for Foodies, recognises that typical ideas of training and coaching can be alienating and daunting. Pascal and Nic have set up a very accessible and inspired program which involves 8 weeks of action plans, fitness and food timetables and access to 3 group training sessions a week, if you feel you need that extra push for motivation. Sounds great to us! So let’s find out a bit more about Équilibre and the team behind it.

Who is behind Équilibre?

We are a husband and wife partnership…

Pascal – trainer extraordinaire, bicycle lover, sports nut, coffee snob, wine enthusiast and doting dad.

Nic – passionate foodie, quiet achiever, risotto stirrer, detail lover and relatively recent convert to exercise.

Oh, and of course the ‘little foodies’ – Sophie (2yrs) and Remy (3mths) – our constant source of motivation and inspiration for living a healthy lifestyle.

Tell us a little about your background and how the idea for Équilibre came about?

Pascal is an 18-year veteran of the fitness industry, starting his career in Melbourne and Sydney and eventually making his way to WA for a 2-day visit, which turned in to a 15-year stay! During that time, he has seen many fitness trends come and go, but the common frustration amongst clients has always been over the conflicting information and advice on diet and exercise –  so many new reports, studies, diets, books, fitness crazes and regimes that all promise ‘the answer’. No wonder people have come to associate health and fitness with confusion, deprivation and having to sacrifice the things they enjoy.

For us, it’s a different story – staying fit and healthy is a way of life, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we miss out on fabulous food, a great glass of wine or a well-made coffee. We felt there was a need for a fresh voice – an approach to health and fitness that is realistic, back-to-basics and sustainable – and that’s how Équilibre (the French term for balance) came about. We combine Pascal’s years of expertise and experience as an exercise professional, with Nic’s passion for great food and cooking – the perfect ‘balanced’ partnership!

Équilibre is all about finding your own personal equilibrium. We champion good health and lifestyle over weight loss, promote positive body image, strive to simplify exercise and encourage people to eat REAL food. There are no gimmicks, quick fixes or empty promises. It’s the way we choose to live our life and raise our children.

You are launching a new 8 week long program by the name of Fitness for Foodies – what does this program offer that other exercise or lifestyle programs do not?

We’re excited about our new Fitness for Foodies program as it’s our first opportunity to really teach and inspire our clients, not just about exercise, but about food and lifestyle. So often, people come to us for training and that’s fine, but if they don’t make changes to other areas of their life, particularly nutrition, they rarely get the results they are looking for. Fitness for Foodies provides a solution to this with a complete package in an easy to follow, uplifting format. It’s practical advice and simple habits that can be implemented into your lifestyle, week by week.

We’ve included some practical group training sessions in central Perth locations (such as King’s Park, Subiaco, City Beach and Lake Monger), which are ideal if you need an incentive to get out and get active. The sessions provide a great opportunity to meet an expert trainer and ask questions in person, but if you can’t get along to them, don’t worry, as they aren’t essential to getting the most out of your program. We’ve included exercise action plans and easy to follow programs that you can do in your own time and in the comfort of your own home, if that works better for you.

The program is designed to be supportive and personal, which means that we can interact with participants, hear their stories and answer their questions. Being based here in Perth we are delighted to be supporting local businesses that are doing good things, particularly with food. Those on the program will have the opportunity to win weekly prizes and giveaways such as books, local food products, vouchers and other items to inspire and uplift them in their healthy new lifestyle.

Another great feature is that we’ve made it extremely affordable at only $99 for the first 8-week course, which means it’s accessible to many more people who would otherwise find personal training or gym memberships out of their reach.

Fitness for Foodies is all about giving you the tools and knowledge to be able to self-manage your own health and fitness and to change your approach for good.

What types of dietary advice can we expect through one of your programs?

Quite frankly, we’re sick of diet mentality, all or nothing approaches, protein powder and supplement pushing, the weight loss plans and meal replacements that are flooding the marketplace. We’re not nutritionists or scientists, but we are real people who recognise that society seems to have lost its way when it comes to what we eat and how we eat. Something needs to change drastically if the rising tide of obesity and ill health is going to be turned back for good.

We could provide you with a specific nutrition plan with a pre-determined number of calories and fat grams, asking you to weigh and measure everything that goes in to your mouth – but we’re not going to! To us, that’s a short-term solution to a life long problem and not something that can be (or would want to be) sustained for the long term. We’d much prefer to educate you about the type of food you should be eating and assist you in understanding what works best for your body, helping you to feel energised and full of life.

We don’t advocate low fat, low calorie, high protein and definitely no diet foods. We don’t ask you to cut out entire food groups or so-called bad foods. Instead, we teach you about eating real, whole food (instead of processed, chemical laden, technology food), better quality food, much more variety and not too much of any one thing.

It’s about taking more of an interest in food, where it comes from and how it’s prepared. It’s getting back in the kitchen to prepare meals using best quality ingredients, including delicious treats. Life’s too short not to indulge every so often, as long as it’s without any guilt. We believe that the experience of eating food should be social and enjoyable and it’s not something that can be replaced with a meal shake from a sachet!

Food is so much more than just the individual nutrients it provides, and when prepared and consumed with a little care and love, it has the ability to nourish the soul as well as the body.

We love your branding and we’re always interested in the process of how certain designs and ideas come about. Can you take us through how yours was developed?

We noticed that most fitness industry businesses use similar looking branding, and their websites often contain images of semi-naked bodies and bulging biceps – not really our cup of tea! They also tend to make use of a lot of ‘before and after’ photos – something we wanted to avoid as these can be misleading and promote an unrealistic weight loss message.

Our aim was to provide a refreshingly different perspective on health and fitness, and we were determined that our branding should capture that point of difference, too. Our wish list of design attributes included something fresh, approachable and inviting. It needed to be clean, simple and stylish and provide an overall sense of calm and balance (of course!)

Luckily, the lovely ladies at Studio Bomba were able to interpret our ramblings, understand what we were all about and translate it into a design that is distinctively us. We are quite proud of the overall result of our website, the cherry red and green apple design, and our ‘retro feel’ fitness for foodies banner – without a spray tan in sight!

What else can we expect Équilibre to offer in the future?

We’re looking forward to launching our cooking club program soon – a series of cooking classes with a variety of chefs and cooking schools around Perth that interest us. We’ll even interview them for the blog, and share what we’ve learned. It’s all in an effort to increase food knowledge and help foster a passion for cooking at home. We’d like to follow this up with a foodie retreat or even a shared communal meal event.

Also on the cards is a series of more intensive, 4-week courses to follow up the Fitness for Foodies program – one exercise focused and another for food.

On a broader scale we’d love to spread our message further by running more workshops and by developing our programs for the workplace – an area we feel is becoming increasingly important to actively promote a positive health, fitness and good food message too.

What are your top 3 tips for a healthy lifestyle?

We are big believers in the simple mantra, eat less, eat better, move more, with one additional, but important tip from our own Équilibre philosophy – enjoy it!

Maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle will never feel like a chore, inconvenience or hardship if you love to eat, take a real interest in your food and enjoy what you do for exercise. It’s that simple! Pascal & Nic.

All of the lovely photographs are the work of Jessica Shaver Photography.

Thanks to Pascal & Nic! It’s so refreshing to hear about health and fitness from their perspective. If you’re interested in finding out more about their programs or signing up, head to the Equilibré website.

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