Small Business editor of the NZ Herald

Small Business: Keeping well with Karen Staples of Pure Delish

Karen Staples is the owner and founder of Auckland-based food company Pure Delish.

Karen Staples, owner and founder of Pure Delish.
Karen Staples, owner and founder of Pure Delish.

What do you do to keep yourself well?

I began doing CrossFit around six years ago. I was looking for something to get me really fit and also take away some of the stress of a very busy life. I pretty much became hooked straight away and have also become really involved in competitive CrossFit.

I have competed in four regional CrossFit team competitions, and also competed in the masters competition for individuals - for those aged 45-plus - and ranked 22nd worldwide in 2013.

Doing CrossFit has been a fantastic way to not only stay fit, but to get fully involved in a great community who really value health and wellbeing. In the last couple of years I have encouraged some of my staff to get involved and we now have five of us doing CrossFit workouts together after work most days.

How does it help you in terms of running your own business?

Doing CrossFit has been a fantastic diversion from the day-to-day running of my business.

It not only gets me away from work, it takes my mind completely away from the stress, and by the time I have finished my workout I am a different person.

I truly believe a healthy and fit body gives you a healthy mind and you can cope with so much more. It definitely increases my concentration and energy levels to go hard in all areas of my life.

How do you fit your workouts into your schedule?

As far as scheduling exercise, it has to be a big priority and diarised just like a meeting would be. I prefer to exercise at the end of the day, so I try to get away from work by 5pm in winter and 6pm during summer.

I am a real believer in less is more and sometimes you are far more productive if you work less and make time for exercise than if you stay at work late and end up having no balance.

What about diet? Do you follow any particular regime with that?

I follow a semi paleo/low-carb style diet, and basically eat as much real food as possible. That means lots of vegetables, salads, good meat, nuts, seeds and not so much processed food. I think this is even more important than exercise and we are all responsible for how we treat our bodies.

I realised very early on in my business that a lot of people have not been as fortunate as myself when it comes to being exposed to good food and what is and is not healthy eating. This is where starting to provide healthy meals at work came into play.

It frustrated and saddened me seeing the food choices that most of my staff were making and I decided to create a lunch club where we made healthy lunches at work at a subsidised rate so everyone could afford it.

We are now cooking for up to 20 staff and every day we only have healthy salads, vegetables and meat. Maybe once a week there will be a bread roll for a treat. It's all cooked on site and the staff also get to enjoy our handmade cereal for breakfast or morning tea.

What kind of payback are you getting in the workplace from doing this?

I believe the benefits of this are huge. Not only does it create a sense of care and community and a happier and healthier workforce, I know my staff are getting at least two healthy meals a day!

What advice would you have for other small business owners in terms of keeping well?

If you are not healthy and well you have nothing. You can't perform at your best if you don't look after your body, especially with the high stress of running your own company. A fit and healthy mind and body makes better decisions, is calmer and overall it makes you a better boss.

Coming up in Small Business: More than 70 per cent of small businesses have no employees. What are the highs and lows of working on your own and what are some tips for making this work? If you've got a story to share about what it's like to go it alone in your business, drop me a note:

- NZ Herald

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