North Curl Curl Local and CEO of THR1VE, Josh Sparks, is building a healthy food empire with the message that it's never been easier to eat and live healthily.
He told COVERED. about his business, his plans and his love for the Northern Beaches.
What led you down the ‘THR1VE’ eating style?
I have closely followed health and fitness research since high school, initially as a subset of my interest in performing at my peak in sports and athletics, and over the years that has evolved into a more holistic approach. Essentially the question for me has always been around what combination of lifestyle elements can most powerfully impact my health and wellness, and in turn create the foundation for a life lived (sustainably!) at full throttle.
The THR1VE philosophy reflects the latest in research - that 80% of how we look,
feel and perform comes down to what we eat, and that brief, infrequent and high intensity training with lots of low level daily activity like walking and play, is the perfect combination for achieving the body of your dreams and true health and wellness.
Did you have any reservations about the food having mainstream appeal?
Absolutely. It is crazy, but we face a significant challenge in convincing people that simply eating deliciously fresh and seasonal real food, quality proteins and local produce, can literally transform how they look, feel and perform. Thankfully our customers see the results for themselves, and they are now spreading the word far and wide.
How long have you lived on the Northern Beaches?
Since I moved back to Australia from the USA, in 2011. It’s awesome; it reminds me of the lifestyle in SE Queensland where I loved growing up, while offering all the ‘big city’ benefits of living in Sydney. We think of it as paradise, albeit with overpriced housing!
The first THR1VE outlet in this area is at the mall?
Yes, we debated whether to take a mall location or something on the street, and frankly that debate continues. We love the high profile of a mall location, which is critical as we are still a young brand with limited market awareness, so a constant stream of locals passing by is a must have. We miss the tourist traffic of a site in Manly for example, but ultimately we want to be more of a regular part of our customers lives than an impulse purchase.
It can be just a meal - but there appears a wider philosophy behind THR1VE?
That’s exactly right. We don’t want to force it, so we are delighted to simply provide a delicious meal or smoothie to a first time or occasional customer, but we also want to provide the opportunity for those customers who are interested, to be inspired and empowered to go deeper. Wherever you are on your journey to health and wellness, we see our role as providing you with all the tools you need. That ranges from a simple recommendation from our knowledgeable staff, to a deep dive into the lifestyle underpinning the brand philosophy via the THR1VE Protocol, which is an awesome eight-week transformation program – plus everything else in between.
Are you trying to ‘educate’ or ‘enlighten’ people about healthy eating?
Yes, we talk about ‘inspiring and empowering’ our customers. Ultimately it is an individual choice, and when taken, it is a journey not a destination. We hope it is working! And the dozens of emails we get every week from customers experiencing extraordinary change, simply through eating with us instore and at home, is enormously encouraging. We have a long way to go, but the lives we have impacted already drive us to work harder and smarter every day to best benefit our customers and their health and wellness.
You don’t want to be classed as a ‘health food only’ eatery?
It isn’t health food, it is real food - you were designed by millions of years of evolution to thrive when you eat this way - so it’s for everyone, not just those overtly committed to their health. In fact, put in simple terms, what we do is make the ideal human diet delicious, accessible, and convenient. If you are human, and you want to enjoy your one short life to the full, this is exactly how you should eat every single day.
Do you think your healthy living Protocol is accessible to a wider, potentially time-poor audience?
We designed the THR1VE Protocol, which is the heart and soul of our brand, with real world in mind - it is for busy people, with multiple competing demands on their time, and an impatience to see and feel results fast. We exploit the most powerful levers we have available to us - a synergistic combination of nutrition and training - to get maximum results in minimum time. The food is delicious, the training is short, intense and invigorating, and the emphasis on play is lots of fun. Why wouldn’t you try it? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, literally!
You have children - how old are they? Are they fond of the food?
My daughter Poppy is 10, and my son Sam is 7. They are fussy eaters, of course… but they always find something on the menu they love. Our new kid’s menu was designed for little people just like them actually. I figured if we could get Pop and Sam happily tucking in, then we were a long way towards success.
THR1VE is Australia wide - are there plans to take it internationally?
We are in all east coast capitals and Canberra, and we have plans to expand nationally over the next three years. The key is finding those locations where there is sufficient interest to support an outlet in the early months, as we work to inspire and empower the locals to build the business from there. We would love to expand internationally, and have purchased the trademark throughout the region, the USA, UK and Europe. Australia is a very high cost market for what we do, so the thinking internationally, is that if it works here, it will work anywhere. Time will tell. It is still early days and we are still a young, growing and vulnerable business, but my fingers are crossed!
Westfield Warringah Mall Ground Level, Food Court,
Phone: (02) 9939 7907
Mon - Wed: 9am - 5:30pm; Thu: 9am - 9pm; Fri: 9am - 5:30pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 10am - 5pm