This week I interview another inspirational up and coming business within the health & fitness community. I’ve been following Vivo for a while now and am a huge fan of many of the products they stock, from their health range to their ethical & often organic beauty products (I’d buy the lot if I had the money!).
I recently connected with one half of Vivo Life and after chatting over email I knew I had to interview him. Here’s what he had to say…
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Sure, although there’s not a great deal to tell! My name is Josh, I’m 22, and I love travelling, watersports, dogs, and anything remotely related to fitness and / or food. Does this sound like a dating profile? Swiftly moving on…
I’ve always been passionate about health and fitness – starting when I was much younger and had my own health troubles that I wanted to fix, it then became a natural progression that I would go on to help others. Before we started Vivo I was a professional writer in the health and fitness industry. And the more I wrote and the more I researched, the more I realised just how much misinformation there was out there. There are more companies selling ‘health products’ than ever before, but how many of them are truly healthy? Something needed to change, and fast.
What inspired you to setup Vivo Life?
I can’t take any of the credit for this one! Vivo Life was my business partner Salv’s idea, but from the moment he first spoke to me about it I knew straight away that this was exactly what we needed to do. More people are taking an interest in health and fitness than ever before, and it’s amazing to see. But we’re at a stage where there’s so many products and so much advice out there, no one really knows who to listen to and who to trust. For someone who is new to the world of health and fitness, where do you start? You probably follow the usual route of choosing the wrong products, compromising your health, and then end up back at square one again. I’ve been there myself and most people reading this probably have too.
Our aim with Vivo Life was to cut through all the false promises and create a marketplace that people could genuinely trust for all of their health products. Everything we sell has been personally tried and tested by our team to make sure it meets our strict criteria. If we wouldn’t use it ourselves, we’re not going to stock it – it’s that simple.
What are your favourite items on the site?
Where do I start!? Genuinely, it may sound corny but I truly love every single product we sell. I don’t personally use everything (I couldn’t afford to!) but the chances are, a member of my team does. And I love them because they make a real difference to people’s lives, we’re not selling bullshit health products that are just going to have you wind up feeling even worse than before. I trust in the quality of every single product that we sell, and I’ve seen first-hand the results that they deliver to people from all walks of life.
But, going back to your original question! I rotate the products I use all the time, keeping things varied is so important in every aspect of life, especially diet. I love all of our superfoods – maca, spirulina, baobab, cacao, bee pollen, reishi mushroom – take a look in my cupboard at home and you’ll find at least 10 at any given time! Coconut oil is a must, if I’m travelling for work or even on holiday the first thing I take with me is a jar of Lucy Bee. We have loads of great protein powders so I’m not tied to a specific brand – currently I’m using Revolution Foods Raw Plant Protein, but this will change again when I run out in a few weeks’ time. I’m always raiding the shelves for herbal teas, raw chocolate, kale chips and anything else I can get my hands on! Plus I get all my toothpaste, shampoo, body wash etc from our selection too, I’m a big believer in keeping it natural on the inside and out.
Supplement wise I rotate depending on the seasons and what my body is feeling. For example, we’re heading into winter right now so a vitamin D supplement is essential. I always take a probiotic, currently I’m using Megafood Megaflora but I change brands regularly to keep things varied. Oh and magnesium, that is a must for everyone. I use Lifestream Natural Magnesium powder in the evening, usually followed by a herbal tea of some sort.
Your website also has a great blog, what motivates you to write/produce this?
The Vivo Blog is all part of our wider commitment, which is to inspire, educate, and ultimately help as many people as possible to fulfil their health and fitness potential. The products we sell are one thing, but the blog gives people the information they need to take action and really start making a difference in their lives. The internet is a minefield when it comes to health information, so just like our products, the blog is somewhere that people can go to for advice that they can genuinely trust.
As mentioned earlier I used to write for a living, it’s still one of my passions and is my biggest creative outlet, so it’s only natural that I keep doing it. It’s the way I can connect with the most people at any given time, and I’m fortunate now to have Vivo as a platform to do it from. If a day comes where I wake up and I’m not inspired to write, I’ll stop doing it. When you’re reading a piece that someone has written you should be able to feel the passion that they have for their work jumping out at you and slapping you in the face. If it’s just producing content for the sake of producing content, you need to fix your priorities. This is advice I would give to any blogger – when you sit down to write, why are you doing it? How is this article going to improve people’s lives? The very best things in life are done with passion, writing should be no different.
What are Vivo’s top tips for maintaining a healthy diet?
Listen to your body! There’s so many different ‘diets’ out there each trying to tell you that eating a certain way will make you healthier, stronger, faster, leaner, whatever. Some of them work, some of them don’t, but the most important thing is discovering what’s best for you. How you feel and perform on a daily basis will be able to tell you so much more than any diet book or website, so it’s crucial that you let your body be your guide.
If you want to be vegan, paleo, or anything else for that matter, that’s awesome. But whether you follow a ‘diet’ or not, I think the fundamentals will always be the same. Eat as low down the food chain as possible – focus on real, wholesome, nutrient dense food that doesn’t come in a box or packet. Buy local and organic wherever you can. Prioritise plants, and lots of them. Eat as many colours as you can each day. Treat your body with care and respect, and you’ll be amazed at what it can do.
What does your daily diet look like?
I get asked this question a lot! But honestly, there is no typical day’s diet for me, every day is completely different from the next. I love cooking and I love eating, the last thing I want to do is take the fun out of food by eating the same thing every day! What I eat in a day depends on my mood, but also the seasons (what foods are at their best right now?) and the type of training I’m doing that day.
One thing I always do to start the day is a herbal tea with a squeeze of lemon to rehydrate and give my liver a bit of a boost. This is usually followed by a smoothie of some sort – I like to have a smoothie in the morning to ease my digestive system into the day rather than throwing a big plate of food at it first thing in the AM. What’s in it will vary from day to day, but as an example, this morning I had coconut water, coconut yoghurt, pineapple, blueberries, Amazing Grass Raw Reserve, Epic Protein Vanilla Lucuma, Revolution Foods Maca, Inspiral Cacao Powder and a little bit of Clearspring Matcha. I’m lucky to have access to all these amazing foods to put in my smoothie, but even if you don’t have any of these things, just chucking some fruit in a blender will be a great start to your day. I’m a big advocate of fruit in the morning, it’s full of nutrients but it also digests very quickly, so it’s better to have it earlier in the day when it won’t interfere with the digestion of other foods.
For breakfast this morning I had eggs from my neighbour’s hens, scrambled in coconut oil and served with some local kabocha squash, onions, mushrooms and spinach. Lunch was wild salmon with avocado, local beets, new potatoes, sauerkraut and broccoli. For dinner tonight I’m planning to make a curry, which we’ll probably have with some sweet potatoes or white rice and some greens. At some point today I’ll eat some raw chocolate too! Some things are just non-negotiable.
What about your exercise plan?
Like my diet, I try to keep my training as varied as possible. If you want to make progress you have to keep your body guessing. I weight train 4 – 5 times per week, but I also love to take my workouts outside whenever possible. I like doing exercises that build functional strength – pull ups, Olympic rings, tyre flips, sled drags – things that don’t just involve lifting a dumbbell and putting it back down again. I’ll also throw in at least one HIIT session each week, usually in the form of sprinting or intervals on the rowing machine.
These are what I would consider as my ‘training’ days, but in general I try and get as much activity into my day as possible. In the summer that usually comes from my watersports, but I love sport in general so I’ll try my hand at pretty much anything throughout the year. I do try to have one full rest day each week, they are my least favourite days mind you!
What do you love most about your job?
I’m lucky enough to have been able to turn my passion into a vocation, and the moment you do that you begin to lose all concept of the word ‘job.’ Being self-employed isn’t easy, 5am starts are the norm and weekends are virtually unheard of. But when you think about it, there’s nothing more rewarding than working in the health industry. That’s because everyone needs health. Yes it’s a passion, but it’s also an obligation, and it’s about helping as many people on their personal health journey as I can. And that’s why I wake up every morning thankful for the job I do.
What does the future look like for Vivo Life?
The future is really exciting – the Vivo Life brand is still very much a baby and we have so many things we’re looking to do. The first step is our own product range, something which we have already got the ball rolling with, I’d love to tell you more but at this stage it is all being kept under lock and key! After that we hope to see Vivo Life stores popping up in towns and cities across the country. The high street market is crying out for a new health and wellness retailer, someone that actually takes their customers’ needs seriously and cares about the products that they sell. At the moment being an online retailer we are limited as to the products we can sell, and as much as health supplements can make an amazing difference to people’s lives, they are still ‘supplements’ after all. If we’re going to make the biggest difference, I believe the answer lies in food. Having high street locations would enable us to diversify into fresh organic produce, chilled goods, and even a healthy café / restaurant.
This is all quite a way off, and I’m probably getting a bit ahead of myself here! In the immediate future, it’s simply about making as big an impact on as many people’s lives as we possibly can. Every time I see someone’s health improve from a product we sell or simply a piece of advice we have given, it reminds me exactly why I do my job. I don’t think that feeling will ever lose it’s magic.