This week, we interviewed our very own CEO, Colin Darretta, to shed some light on who he is and why he decided to start WellPath.
How did you first become interested in and educated about nutrition?
Nutrition has been a lifelong passion of mine. Even while working in the world of finance I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of being able to change, or “hack,” your body simply through changing what you consume and when you do so. Even in college as I started experimenting with a variety of different diets and supplements, I started to recognize how profoundly the right sort of nutrition could impact my life in a vast array of ways.
What compelled you to start WellPath?
As they always say, necessity is the mother of invention. In the case of WellPath, after ten years spent self-educating and no small amount of self-experimentation I came to the conclusion that there were a huge amount of supplements out there that could do many people real good but for a whole host of reasons people were never finding. In general, as I examined the market, I found that almost uniformly people found the existing retail experience sorely lacking – there were hundreds if not thousands of undifferentiated SKUs and all the products were being sold as a one-size-fits-all miracle solution. There was no appreciation of the fact that different people had different lifestyles, goals, and genetics, and therefore would need their supplement plan to reflect that. Further, even if someone did manage to get the right assortment of supplements for their aforementioned needs and goals they then had the hassle of dealing with twenty different jars of products, all of which had different serving sizes and rates at which they would need to be refilled. In short, the industry made it really, really hard for someone to figure out and then take the right assortment of supplements for their needs.
Describe your diet and fitness routine.
My diet is, on the face of it, pretty simple. Without fail I start my morning with a WellPath shake though I do add a few additional elements to it – namely raw pasture raised eggs, broccoli, some coconut oil and almond butter to up my fat intake. I take my WellPath Essentials at this time as well. Afterward I hit the gym, occasionally taking a shot of espresso beforehand, where my workout routine will vary contingent on my goals.
When I’m working on strength you’ll find me doing a lot of compound exercises at heavy weights, whereas when I’m looking to improve my cardiovascular endurance or tone up I’ll shift into something that more closely resembles an HIIT program interspersing cardio and weights in a circuit format.
My lunch almost always consists of salad with plenty of colorful veggies, an animal protein and some healthy fats in the form of oil, olives and avocados. Dinner will vary, it’s the one meal I feel that you’re most likely going to struggle – oftentimes business dinners necessitate I deviate from the plan a little bit, but in this day and age almost every menu has something moderately healthy on it. Since I try not to overindulge over dinner I’ll often finish my evening with another shake making sure to have some carbs and fats in it for sleep optimization and hormone regulation, respectively.
Most people like to listen to music while they work out. What’s usually included on your playlist?
I love movie soundtracks for the gym. The Rocky soundtrack is an obvious one. Conan the Barbarian, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, The Raid, and Tron: Legacy are all on my heavy rotation as well. Aside from that I listen to a lot of the big commercial house guys out there – Swedish House Mafia’s Until One will probably never leave my gym iPod as long as I live.
While you certainly lead a very healthy lifestyle, there have to be times when you indulge in something that isn’t healthy. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I am a sucker for carbohydrates, and thus pasta and sushi are where I tend to indulge. I spent my early childhood in Italy and my father and I spent many summers traveling through the country, so pasta has been my enduring love as far as food is concerned. Sushi came a bit later – really when I moved to New York and had friends who helped me develop an appreciation of really great fish and perfectly made rice. Many people discount just how difficult rice is to prepare – well-executed Japanese rice is melt-in-your-mouth good.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
My morning shake. I always found breakfast was the hardest meal to eat healthy – cereal is a nutritional nightmare for the most part and pancakes and waffles are basically just dessert. That basically leaves you with eggs and not much else. Long before I started WellPath I started having a shake every morning for breakfast – something I don’t see ever changing.
As the CEO of WellPath, you definitely dedicate most of your time to working, but when you aren’t at the office, what are some of your favorite things to do?
Striving for balance in life is integral to maintaining a healthy state of mind. I tend to be someone who takes my work home with me – I’ve never been good at compartmentalizing what is going on in the office from my general state of mind. Beyond exercise aplenty I make a conscious effort to spend time doing things that might at first seem totally unrelated to the wellness community – regularly visiting the amazing galleries around New York, attending film festivals and taking day trips outside the city when I can sneak them in. I find that even in these activities, one can derive inspiration from at times the most unlikely sources.
What advice would you give to rising entrepreneurs?
Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. You really have to have a passion for the business you’re about to endeavor upon, otherwise it will be incredibly hard to stay motivated and enthusiastic during the trying times to come. We all hear about the overnight success start up and I find many people have delusions of grandeur in expecting similar results themselves. The reality is it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of setbacks, a lot of sleepless nights and more than a little luck to build any business, let alone a successful one by some of today’s standards.
How do you define success?
Success is far too often closely associated with economic success. By all means, that is one barometer of success, but far from the only one. From a business perspective nothing gets me more excited and motivated to keep pushing forward than the emails we receive from WellPath members exclaiming how we’ve improved their lives in some way. Having that sort of impact is incredibly rewarding – of course the size of WellPath and our own success should have a high correlation with that sort of support.
What company do you admire most (excluding your own) – for its service, product, culture, etc.?
It’s a tough question to answer as I take cues from a variety of businesses for the facets that really make them who they are. Google has built a unique culture of curiosity that serves as a great inspiration on how to build a team with the right sort of mindset. Johnson & Johnson has unwaveringly committed themselves to the wellbeing of their patients, even in extreme cases at the short-term expense of the stockholders, knowing well that in the long-term the patients and doctors whom they serve will be the bedrock through which they can persevere while other companies falter. Apple for its commitment to a vision that at times many people have dismissed as either too grandiose or too niche – or at times both.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
First and foremost, my father. He’s a testament to how far hard work will take you. He’s a constant source of sound judgement and encouragement, and I can say without both his example to follow alongside his guidance I would not be where I am today.
On The Path, you are publishing content that focuses not only on nutrition and fitness but also lifestyle and fashion. How would you see this trend playing out?
I think we’re at a unique period where all these industries are coming together in a way we just didn’t see a decade ago. Stella McCartney doing a collaboration with Adidas, people wearing Rick Owens to the gym, celebrities Instagramming their favorite SoulCycle classes and mainstream gyms like Equinox hiring relatively avant-garde photographers like Rankin to shoot their campaigns. Fitness and fashion make a good pairing intuitively since on some level they are both concerned with what we appear like outside and how that effects the image of ourselves we wish to put out in the public sphere.
Interested in keeping your energy up throughout the day? Learn more about the customized nutritional solutions that WellPath offers here.