The Wellness Guide Sydney was born from a simple mission: to compile and present an inspiring collection of health and wellness spaces, to empower Sydneysiders to live better, healthier and happier lives.
Sydney's fast pace, combined with the drive to become our personal best, means we’re seeing a major societal shift towards healthier lifestyle choices. But rather than striving for perfection, Sydneysiders are on a quest for a fulfilling life balance.
We have scoured the city to bring you the best in food, fitness, body, mind and soul, all in one beautiful book, with the hope it’ll light the way on your wellness journey – or to inspire a new one.
Founder / Hugo van den Black
I didn’t always have the opportunities I have now. I grew up with a poor support network that lacked the leadership I craved as a child. I suffered from a social anxiety disorder and barely spoke a word until I was around eight years old.
Despite my slow and challenging start in this world, the one thing I did have was passion to forge my own path. I realised there was so much more to life than what I had been told, or what people around me told me life should look like. I just hadn’t worked out what I wanted instead.
At 16, I left school to begin a career in hospitality as an apprentice chef. It was hard work, but it kept me out of trouble and allowed me to start building discipline and confidence I needed. I loved expressing myself through the art of gastronomy.
I started my first business 13 years ago at age 24. Hugo’s Health Packs was a simple idea, a healthy snack delivery service. My customers were treated to a few pieces of fruit, a yogurt with muesli and a small selection of nuts. I would deliver my packs every morning to businesses around the Sydney CBD. It barely covered my rent, I had no business plan, there was no social media. I just took the leap to make my idea a reality; living by my creed of doing what I loved.
The business only lasted six months before I sold everything I owned and travelled the world on an adventure of self-discovery. I explored and lived in many amazing locations: Norway, New York, Aspen, France, Mexico, Scotland, England and many other places in between. Every destination an opportunity to soak up foreign influence and culture. Learning and adapting to different values, beliefs and traditions.
It was around this time that I became fascinated by the fast-paced, constantly evolving world of digital design. What was a part-time obsession quickly became my full-time profession. It didn’t take me long to realise that both visual art and digital design share the power to engage and emotionally connect with people. My talents were sought by a variety of clients, but something wasn’t quite right.
On my return to Sydney, I noticed how contemporary lifestyles were affecting people’s health. I saw an opportunity to make a difference and became determined to draw on the lessons I’d learned from my own successes, failures and challenges. I decided to use my design and communication skills to support health and wellness professionals in their quest to help others live better, healthier and happier lives. That’s when Empowered was born.
Empowered is an online digital marketing agency and we’re passionate about crafting website and SEO strategies for health and wellness businesses. We work with all types of wellness professionals, such as personal trainers, gyms, yoga centres, Pilates studios, spas and wellness centres. Basically, we support anyone who is in the business of changing people’s lives.
Through my work with these incredible businesses, I became inspired. So many people are doing amazing things for the health of their communities and it has become my mission to showcase them.
The Wellness Guide embodies this passion for helping people and connecting communities. It is a reflection of who I am and who I want to be.
I’ve poured my heart and soul into this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.