Nordine is a French-American fitness personality, coach, author, and speaker. His Mind Over Body and InnerFitness® methods are revolutionary in the high-performance, fitness, and wellness industries. He is a former Mr. Europe, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe champion. In March 1995, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded Nordine Zouareg with an Alien of Extraordinary Ability Status (EB-A1). To get this status, an alien must be able to show extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. He speaks five languages.
Getting to know Nordine
Tell us a bit about you and why you do what you do.
I’m a fitness, wellness, life coach, and retreats facilitator. I’m also an international speaker and an author. My work is more of a passion for me. Wellness has always been something I wanted to explore by first becoming an international professional athlete and by coaching, speaking, and wiring. I think today, more than ever, people are paying attention to their overall health and wellbeing. I love to help them, guide them, and watch how the process unfolds. Every day, I hear from clients about how they are benefiting from my teaching. To me, that’s more rewarding than the financial aspect itself.
If you could be a superhero, what would your superpower be and your superhero name?
Well, I think “Tiger Man” would be appropriate. It’s both my Chinese sign and my favorite animal. My power would be to enter others’ minds and capture their ill thinking process and change it into productive, healthy, and compassionate thinking. Makes sense?
If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
George Clooney! I’m told we look alike; I personally don’t think so, but I’ll take it!
If you were talking to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give yourself?
No, you don’t know it all! Stop being a fool and listen to wise people who’ve been there; they have experience and wisdom. Ask those who have traveled the path of success; they’ll answer you. Every mountain you want to climb has at its bottom someone who has already climbed it to its summit. Just ask!
If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?
Three Countries Later. I was born three months premature in Algeria (in the Sahara Desert in the back of a truck), immigrated to France when I was six months old, and am now an American citizen.
What makes your business different from any others doing a similar thing?
I think what makes my business different from other similar businesses is the fact that I combine various tools and methods. For example, when I’m working with individuals, I use an approach called Behavioral Engagement practice. It is the art of working with the person as a whole being, paying close attention to all aspects of one’s life; mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. It takes compassion, understanding, great awareness, and patience. It is the difference between just listening to my clients and engaging with their concerns, issues, or challenges.
As a public figure, how do you think being hailed as a role model impacts others, and what pressure does it put on you?
There is always going to be pressure coming from others’ expectations. I’m very aware of the impact it has on my own mental health. It’s not a secret that many of us depend on what others perceive or think of us. It used to be a dominant concern of mine when I was competing at top levels. I used to think that I needed to be perfect in my performances, both behind and on stage. I no longer think that way. I have a simpler perspective about life now. To me, what matters most is doing my best to help others get well, be well and feel well. Happiness is, as I always say, a state of being, not a state of mind. Chase it, and it will become more elusive. Surrender to it, and it will become part of you.
If you had a magic wand, what would you change in the world?
Oh, that’s a good one! If I had a magic wand, I would summon my genies to program humanity into loving one another, to doing what we are here, on this earth to do — spread love, not hate. Humanity has spent thousands of years being preoccupied with the physical aspect of oneself, not enough time on the deeper meaning of happiness. Coming from a former Mr. Universe is bold and ironic, I know! I’ve done some soul searching to come up with such an understanding.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Great question! There have been many satisfying moments and many more to come, I hope. But one which comes to mind is when I spoke for the Gospel Rescue Mission in Tucson. I remember this older lady approaching me; she said: “You speak from the heart; that’s very rare for a gentleman of your stature!” These words reinforced my belief that I’m on a mission to raise collective consciousness. I know I’m not alone!
What advice can you give to someone about dealing with stress?
Another awesome question! Stress is a natural response to life’s demands. Therefore, stress is good when one can redirect its energy by learning to manage it. Stress can be dangerous if it’s not controlled or managed. It’s not what happens to us that matters, but how we respond. Learning to step back and gather facts and evidence to the challenge at hand, then finding a positive and proactive resolution to the problem. Also, there are two kinds of stress, Eustress (the good stress, i.e., getting married, winning the lottery, starting a new job) or Distress (bad stress, i.e., overworked, overload, divorce, family issues, kids’ performance at school, etc. It’s important to identify which stress you are experiencing and use a non-reactive (jumping to conclusion) approach. There are many ways to redirect the energy that stems from stress. Exercise modalities such as yoga, strength training, and aerobics are excellent. Also, meditation is of utmost importance in managing stress.
Titles & Awards:
Mr. France 1985 (Marseilles, France)
Mr. World 1985 Runner-up (Worcester, MA)
Mr. Europe 1986 (Lyon, France)
Mr. World 1986 (Berne, Switzerland)
Mr. Universe 1986 (Berne, Switzerland)