How to Stay Healthy as a Busy Entrepreneur

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Make smarter choices.

As the founder of the healthy fast food brand Thr1ve, Josh Sparks is time poor, but extraordinarily healthy. The entrepreneur is on a mission to show that optimum wellbeing is available to anyone – even entrepreneurs who spend their lives at the office. Here are his tips for thriving.

Create a healthy culture. Studies show that our colleagues influence the way we eat, often not in a positive way (#cupcakefriday). From childhood, we are taught to regard junk food as a reward and it’s a difficult habit to break as an adult, and as a boss. At Thr1ve’s head office, our communal fridge is always stocked with healthy snacks and, of course, Thr1ve ready meals. We have an open-plan office with high-energy music pumping and a gym and lap pool onsite. I spent months looking for an office that reflected what we consider essential for maximising health and happiness. Our aim is to provide all the tools, empowering and inspiring our team to make ideal choices. Although, it is a free country and we are all adults, so I would never force it on anyone.

Don’t catch unhealthy habits. Before launching Thr1ve, I worked in the fashion industry, as the CEO of Sass & Bide and, before that, the managing director at Urban Outfitters Inc. I’m often asked if I picked up any unhealthy habits during that time, as the cliched fashion type lives on Diet Coke, Champagne and cigarettes. The parties were a lot of fun and I indulged; I won’t begin to pretend otherwise. However, that’s exactly how I considered it then and how I consider it now – an indulgence. The great thing about living a healthy lifestyle is that, over time, you create new habits, and your default choices become healthy. It feels better. The aim is progress, not perfection – a very useful motto I use both personally and professionally.

Stay fit on a budget. Even if you’re launching a startup on a shoestring, you can still make healthy choices without eating into your income. Shop around! The healthiest cuts of high-quality meats are often the cheapest and fantastic in a slow cooker, which means you can put it on to cook at the start of a busy workday and it will be ready when you get home. Organ meats, considered the ultimate animal protein by our ancient ancestors, are absurdly cheap, and tinned fish, packed in olive oil or water, is perfect with fermented vegies for a light meal. If you’re lucky enough to have outside space or a balcony at your office, you can grow fresh herbs or vegetables (another team-bonding activity).

Cleanse your mind. Running a business can be stressful, so it’s important to take care of your emotional health too. I try to meditate daily, but my mind is a spinning top so I find it very difficult to achieve deep meditation whilst sitting still. To combat this, I recently started learning to play the guitar, which requires me to be totally present, centred and in the moment. When I practise, it’s the ultimate switch-off zone for me. I find myself feeling exhilarated yet relaxed, in a very spontaneous and creative state of mind. If music isn’t your thing, then discover your own version of this, whether it’s learning to surf or dance, taking up a new language or trying martial arts. A new skill is a wonderful thing for neuro-plasticity, creativity and happiness.

Make time. A lot of people, especially when launching a business, say they don’t have time to cook healthy meals or to exercise. But, I would argue that the healthy lifestyle we propose in the Thr1ve Protocol actually increases the time available to professionals. Food choices are simplified, appetite is normalised, so you’re not managing hunger pains, and the training we suggest takes only 60-90 minutes per week. I am a big fan of Tim Ferriss whose obsession with the ‘minimum effective dose’, which is mentioned in his book, The 4 Hour Body, is a guiding principle for us at Thr1ve. Even if you’re running a global startup and time or money are in short supply, you can still maintain extraordinary health.

The Collective readers can download a free copy of the Thr1ve protocol 8-week transformation program here by using the code COLLECTIVEHUB.

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