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The habit series: the entrepreneur

Habits. When done right, they can become the secret to hacking fitness and reaching goals. We talked to four people with (incredibly) busy lives on how they run regularly through the power of habit.

Rose Marie Jarry - entrepreneur, Quebec 


Rose Marie Jarry has been a competitive runner since the age of 15. After an injury sidelined her in 2009, she found a calling in Spartan adventure races – scoring podium after podium, competing in over 70 of the competitions, and ranking 1st globally. All the while, a love of healthy food and healthy living led to her founding Kronobar, which today produces over 200,000 bars a year and counting.


This interview is part of the habit series. To see all interviews, click here.



Firstly, Rose Marie, wow. A hugely successful career both in sports and professionally - what does your week look like with so much going on? 


Since 2010, my week resembles 30-40 hours or more dedicated to the development of my company, 5-8 hours a week of training, and 3-4 hours developing my recipes for my food blog. The rest of my time goes to sleeping, socializing and taking care of my animals (I am a huge animal lover). I have a large enclosure built in my house which houses 8 ferrets I adopted from shelters as well as 3 cats!



Animals and all! So has it always been like this, with so much going on? 


I’ve always been passionate about cuisine and sports, having grown up in a family owned restaurant while being active in sports at a young age. TV and videogames were not permitted in our house, so unlike many of my friends I developed a love for running rather than Playstation. In 2013, I started to become more and more interested in vegetarianism and veganism for health and moral reasons (I am an animal lover after all) and I never really liked supporting the meat industry.

Being the type of person who loves all things nature related, I decided to become 100% vegan.

Veganism became a passion of mine and I build all my recipes around the notion of cooking a well-balanced protein & nutrient rich, cruelty-free health foods.

We’re talking a lot about habits at On – what are a few of your good habits that got you to this point in your fitness?


One of my greatest strengths has been my ability to weather a storm, even when I felt like I couldn’t. One of best habits I have is that I persevere through the tough times - I really believe it’s one of the keys to my success in life as well as in athletics. I always opt for a healthy lifestyle and almost always live within the best and healthiest options I have available to me. For example, I love to eat well, so I always keep a well-stocked fridge filled with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to make different foods every day (a routine habit of mine). I love cooking, it brings me joy and I cook almost everything I eat. Another thing that brings me great joy and satisfaction is training, so no matter what, I always find a way to train at least 4-6 times a week.



What have you had to give up to make your habits happen?


I like to think I am well-disciplined, so have never had to make great sacrifices to get to where I am today. This has always been my lifestyle, train, work, and eat. The biggest changes I’ve made have been switching from being an omnivore to a vegetarian and balancing out my workout and work schedules. Being competitive, it was hard at first to sacrifice those extra hours I would put into my training, and channelling them into the long-term benefit of my company.

I used to train 15-20 hours a week in my competitive days and now I usually find time for 5-8 hours, which is one “sacrifice” in a way, yet an opportunity (for my business) in another.



How do you achieve so much with only 24 hours in a day?


I start with getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night - if I don’t, I feel irritable and inefficient. I determine what my greatest priorities are and execute my tasks in order of importance. It does happen from time to time that I don’t manage to get things done in one day and I need to finish some tasks the day after. I try to look at every situation in a positive way and keep a good mindset because stress is horrible for our health and has many unwanted side-effects that I do my best to avoid.


The other aspect is habits, like these I do day to day:

1.    I always make sure to add chia seeds to my breakfast and my smoothies to ensure that I get some Omegas in my diet and they also provide a little dose of protein as well.


2.    Multiple times a week I juice the following fruits & vegetables to make sure I ingest a fair potion of vegetables and vitamins: Carrots, celery, beets, kale and apples. Usually do this on the days that I find a little less time to cook and I know that my meals don’t contain enough vegetables.


3.    I drink a glass of water with a table spoon of powder chlorella or spirulina in it every day. Personally I much prefer chlorella the taste is not as strong as spirulina, it’s a fair bit more tolerable to drink. Each table spoon provides 6-8g of plant based protein and provides me with anti-oxidants. Also very good for recuperation after workouts.


4.    Like many people, I make myself a smoothie between meals. My smoothies are a blend of a glass of coconut milk, hemp protein, fruits and chia seeds. This allows for quick and easily digestible proteins.



What was the moment you knew your habits had paid off? Tell us about it.


I have to admit that is difficult more often than not for me to appreciate my own accomplishments. Until my business reaches the level I want it to get to, I have a hard time feeling satisfied. Reminds me of my athletic career, never satisfied because as good as you get, you always want to aim higher. In May of 2016 I was selected to present my company on the television show “Dans L’Oeil du Dragon” (Quebec’s version of “Dragon’s Den”) and it was during my presentation that I had practiced many times before that I really felt proud of myself. It was a really stressful moment to talk on camera in front of the investors but it was magical because I felt 100% in control. I nailed it and knew that my years of hard work and everything I had accomplished paid off. I was made offers by 3 of the 5 dragons and, after some negotiation, we came to an agreement and I accepted one.



Would you say fitness goals for you are better achieved solo or as part of a team?


Ever since I started participating in sports, I found that I always had a preference for individual sports as opposed to team sports. For example, running, I only have myself to rely on. I prefer not having to count on others to perform well. I also prefer having no one to blame but myself for bad performances as well I prefer my good performances to be personal feats. However, I must admit that even if you are practicing an individual sport, it’s much more motivating having training partners to practice with.


My business has been somewhat of an individual sport to me as well, I have long had to do most things on my own and the few business partners I’ve had ended up not being the right fit for my enterprise. So as of yet, I still have no real business partner. Its fine though, I get well on my own but I prefer to be honest with myself and I know that if I had the right business partners, I am certain that my business would expand quickly. I am currently working to try to find the right people that I could work full-time with and take Kronobar to the next level.

In business, it’s more important to be surrounded by people to work with, help and motivate me than it is in sports.


Many people use new years as a chance for new habits – were there any on your list this year? (e.g. change diet, run to work vs train etc).


In 2017, I didn’t really set any resolutions for myself. Many people have as a resolution to get themselves into shape or to eat healthy yet those are both part of my everyday life. Although after sitting down and thinking about it, I would set the following resolutions for myself.

1.    Take a bit more time for myself away from work or training. Seeing friends, going out, working on art projects and traveling if my budget allows for it.


2.    Continue working on handling stress better and learning to let go of the things I can’t control.


3.    Eat better while I on the road all day as I sometimes find myself not eating enough for long periods of time when my schedule is too full.



And what are you training for next?


In 2017 I go back to my roots. After 7 years off of track and field I’m going to put aside obstacle racing and look  towards my true passion, the 400 and 800 meter on track. I don’t want to set high goals for myself right away but I still want to compete at provincial and nationals as well as smaller local races. I will also be doing some road races, some 2km and 5km.


I would love to run a sub 2:10 800m. My best 800m ever is 2:09.02 and I believe strongly that with the experience and wisdom I have gained over the years will help me better perform as an athlete, I now know better how to listen to my body and heal my injuries as opposed to when I used to try to run through them and make them worse. Within the next 2-3 years, I’d like to set a new best time. I am now supervised by my new coach that has better knowledge of preparation and muscular reinforcement, who understands how to avoid injuries caused usage and instabilities.

Looking forward to my return to sport that I love and competing on a track again!


Finally, what advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?


I’d like to end things with a bit of advice to people who want to start their own business:

1.    Surround yourself with people who will help and support you during the toughest times, I’ve personally seen some really tough moments in this very competitive industry, sometimes the pressure was too much and I wanted to give up and let it all go. I never quit because I can look back at everything I accomplished to date and understand that I don’t want all the hard work I put in to go to waste, it would be unthinkable. I wish I had more moral support and help through the tough times, I’m only human and sometimes we all need someone to accompany us through certain moments.


2.    Don’t give your trust out to just anyone and don’t be too kind in business! This is a piece of advice I can give based of personal experience. For those who are very kind to all, don’t be in business. When money is involved many people will prove to be a lot less sincere in their promises and agreements than you will have hoped. You’ll find many people to be dishonest and if you give people the chance, they will exploit you. I can tell you with honesty that today, I am far more selective of the people I associate myself with than when I first got into business.


3.    Take the time to do the things you love! I strongly recommend remembering to take the time to do the things you love; life isn’t all about finishing tasks. There needs to be a proper balance of both. Obviously, this is easier said than done but whether in business or competition, for your own health and well-being it’s important to take some time enjoy life.