This week we are introducing our CEO, Anna Thompson-Ford to our Say Hello To The Pro’s series. This series is intended to connect our customers, friends, and family through honest conversations.
Day to day, what do you do mostly?
Day to day, I am a working mum. I run Pro You, the supplement company I co-founded with my brother in law Mark and partner Jeremy and a busy family – I have 2 children, Luca (4) and Polly (3) and 2 stepchildren, Morgan (15) and Gabby (13).
What do you love doing?
Outside of work and day-to-day family life, I am either 100% off or 100% on. I love doing absolutely nothing, enjoying unscheduled time at home with my family, and just going with the flow of the day. But, I also love crazy fun times with my partner and girlfriends, live music, festivals, lunches that go on forever and the very occasional late night!
What stresses you out?
Big things = competing priorities. It is challenging growing a business with young children, but once you master a weekly schedule that works and stick to it a lot of stress disappears. Little things = Auckland traffic. So.much.time.wasted.
Where do you work out and why do you choose to work out there?
Sweat in Newmarket. Nothing beats the hot room and the community there is second to none, a lot of genuine life-long friendships are made there. Playground Fitness. I love the fact you can walk away from a class feeling like you’ve had an intense one-on-one PT session, plus the vibe is really uplifting – I love going in the middle of the day. Core Collective in City Works Depot, I love the focus on the technical aspects of the practice and the teacher’s genuine commitment to making sure everyone in the class is getting the most out of their session. Keep Fit in Matakana, the PT’s with Justin are brutal, but so effective – you see results really quickly. I will be booking in as soon as we are at Level 2! Finally, Life Co-Lab in Parnell, I had my first class booked when lockdown hit. Check them out on Instagram, they have been putting out some really great content for their followers the past few weeks, including an amazing wellness workbook for the whole family.
What is your usual day to day diet and what are your favourite treats?
I run a VERY loose version of the autoimmune paleo diet as it seemed to help so much when I was recovering from an autoimmune condition back in 2019. Breakfast is always a Pro You smoothie loaded up with whatever I have on hand. Lunch is usually some sort of thrown together dish, leftover roast vegetables with hummus, greens and maybe an egg. We tend to have the same things for dinner, fish tacos, poke bowls, bolognaise, steak and salad or homemade soup. My favourite treats that are not AIP at all are Pain au chocolat from the Ringawera bakery in Matakana and pretty much anything from Eden Noodles.
Do you have any tiny habits that heed big results? i.e. What small things do you do consistently that make you feel great or have a positive impact on your life? I try to go to bed at the same time each night – 9.30pm. My kids get up pretty early and sometimes still wake during the night, so this is my only sure-fire way to ensure I have enough energy to get through the day and not have a fuzzy head!
What drives and motivates you?
My friends. My girlfriends and I have been thick as thieves since high school, and each one of them does something incredibly challenging and amazing. They are business owners, creatives, specialists at the top of their game, humanitarians, mums, and most of them also wear multiple hats. I love most that they have all carved out their own paths in fields they are passionate about. There is always a lot of ideas, wisdom and advice shared when we catch up.
We love supporting local! What New Zealand-made products do you use, love, and recommend?
- Sweepstake Winners – a truly unique and pioneering brand, owned and designed by my good friend Julia Ford.
- Maggie Marilyn – the best basics, and I really admire Maggie’s approach to business and focus on sustainability.
- Emma Lewisham – great products that do what they say they will.
- Ruby NZ – a longstanding favorite since my early 20s.
- Aotearoad Basil Seeds – a great alternative to chia seeds.
- Wild Delicious – I cannot get enough of their Tumeric and Black Pepper Lemon Ginger Gut Shots.
- Arepa – This product was an absolute lifesaver for me when I had had sleepless nights with the kids and had to focus the next day.
- Clique Fitness – I have loved watching this brand evolve over the past few years and really admire how Carena and Bex have grown the company and their range. I love their new Conquest collection and plan on making an order this week.
What media do you enjoy – podcasts, magazines, books, tv shows etc.
I listen to a LOT of podcasts. I picked up the habit when I was living in Matakana and commuting regularly to Auckland, but now enjoy them in the evening to help me unwind before bed. I could write a LONG list, but here are my top 10 I listen to regularly and would recommend to anyone. A bit of info on each one for your interest –
- Nike Trained
Mindset. Movement. Nutrition. Recovery. Sleep. Turns out the same five tools that pro athletes use to break records can help us all stay healthy, happy, and strong.
- The Prof G Pod with Scott Galloway
We live in a winner-take-all economy that’s bifurcating into those who are part of the innovation economy and those who aren’t. Every week best-selling author, professor, and entrepreneur Scott Galloway answers questions from you (his listeners) on who’s winning and losing, and how you can get ahead.
- Business Wars
Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live.
- Even the Rich
Stories about some of the greatest family dynasties in history, from the Murdochs to the Royals to the Carters (Jay-Z and Beyoncé, that is). Because as Queen Elizabeth once said, “A good gossip is a wonderful tonic.”
- The Anxious Achiever
Host Morra Aarons-Mele is on a mission to reframe how we think about anxiety and mental health in the workplace.
- Gutsy Holistic Health
In the Gutsy Health podcast, Tristin and Juanique Roney cover the topics involved in alternative health, holistic health, nutrition, diets, and medicine.
- Under the Skin with Russell Brand
‘Under The Skin’ asks: what’s beneath the surface – of people we admire, of the ideas that define our time, of the history we are told. Speaking with guests from the world of academia, popular culture and the arts, they’ll help us to see the ulterior truth behind our constructed reality. And have a laugh.
- Gut Health Gurus
Kriben Govender is a Food Scientist and Gut Health Advocate. His purpose is to share the importance of gut health in addressing many different health issues.
- The Next Big Idea
Think bigger. Create better. Live smarter. Ideas are coming at you every day from all directions. Where do you even start? The Next Big Idea brings you groundbreaking ideas with the power to change the way you see the world.
- Wellness Fact or Fiction
Each week the hosts take a popular diet, fad, or myth and debunk them with scientific studies. You’ll gain a wealth of practical tips and skills you can use every single day to improve and enhance the way you eat and exercise!
Right now I am reading –
Sort your sh*t out: How to Reinvent Yourself in A Post COVID-19 World by Mike Hutcheson. It’s currently available from the Kindle store and will be available for sale in print in New Zealand next month.
It’s just what I need right now, and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone affected by COVID (so everyone) who needs a bit of a lift, inspiration, and some practical insights to ensure you
survive thrive in the coming months.
And, Aroha: Maori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet by Dr Hinemoa Elder. It is a beautifully written collection of 52 whakatauki that provide simple and powerful life lessons. I have loved sharing this book with my children and it is my go-to each night before bed.
What does sustainability mean to you and how do you incorporate sustainable practices into your lifestyle?
To me, sustainability is about doing lots of small things right, consistently. You need to start with a conscious effort to switch brands and ditch the glad wrap, but it really becomes second nature once you get started. So just get started! Our biggest ‘small thing’ was getting rid of individually wrapped kids’ snacks, a go-to for any working parent. It was a bit of a shock to the system at first, but it actually only takes a minute to chop up a carrot and we’re saving so much plastic from the landfill each year. The kids don’t even miss them.
What supplements do you take and why?
I do have quite a few in my day-to-day repertoire. This is partly due to a bit of paranoia about getting sick again but mostly because I need to keep my energy levels up (and stress levels down) for my family and to keep Pro You moving forward. Each morning I take – Pro You Pea Protein Blend, which provides 20g of protein and the equivalent of a multivitamin, Metagenics NeuroCalm, Biosphere Magnesium, Medlab NanoCelle Activated B12, Iron Melts, good old Berocca, and a pure marine collagen we’re trialing for a new product. All of the supplements I take apart from the Pro You are under the advice of a practitioner. I see Kaytee at the Boyd Clinic, and Khalid at the Urban Herbalist and cannot recommend their services highly enough.
What ways do you use Pro You protein powder?
I have a smoothie every morning using the Pea Protein Blend. My basic go-to is a banana, a handful of frozen blueberries, almond milk, Pro You, and collagen. But, I do mix it up a lot, we are constantly trialing new recipes for the blog so I love experimenting with what’s in season and different plant milks.