Ryan Bartlett is the founder and director at Functional For Life, a mobile personal training company currently operating in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I have been in the fitness industry for almost a decade working in various capacities from personal training through to management.
Throughout this journey it became clear that the knowledge and skill set of individual personal trainers varied greatly and as a result many clients face an array of beliefs and ideologies about training that may not align with what their individual body requires.
The marketing focuses seemed to be concentrated on short term quick fixes where, in reality, this may not be an effective training style for many people. We felt the industry was lacking trainers with the skillset to personalise sessions accounting for individual’s postural dysfunctions.
These dysfunctions commonly lead to pain, stress levels and poor nutritional choices. We wanted to structure programming that creates sustainable change.
As such in late 2017 my brother and I co-founded Functional For Life Mobile Personal Training where I am now the Director. Functional For Life is currently located in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide delivering quality training directly to our clients homes, local parks and online via Zoom.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My day generally involves a 5:30am wake up to begin training at 6am with the first client of the day. Usually I would be travelling to client’s homes or local parks to deliver sessions however under the current conditions we have been delivering a vast amount of services via Zoom.
I generally conduct sessions into the late morning or early afternoon, have a break to get my own workout in and some admin and then may finish with some sessions in the evening depending on the day.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
We are able to deliver sessions via Zoom, which has been a significant change for the team. The zoom sessions have been much more effective than we originally anticipated and it has been an enjoyable challenge to change up our usual delivery method.
I feel it has further enhanced my own skills and the skills of my team as we are constantly trying to keep our programming varied and enjoyable for our clients.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To be honest this is an area I am constantly working to improve. I believe it’s a hard transition when you start a business to try to move yourself away from working “in the business” to working “on the business”.
You start with so little, at first the goal is building up your own personal income, which is a hard task in itself. Finding consistency in your income in the early days is a struggle; you work incredibly hard to create sustainability and security.
Suddenly the time comes where your focus needs to shift to business development and having to delegate to your contractors/employees is a hard mental barrier to get past, especially during a pandemic.
I find that my solution in the past has been to work more hours, however that takes away from giving yourself the time to do the personal things you love and leads to fatigue. As I’ve shifted this focus I have started to schedule time off, allowing me to have time where I don’t need to be thinking about the business and just do the things I enjoy.
Keeping active and working out is something I schedule in each week also, ensuring I am strict in maintaining this, varying my training to keep the enjoyment, I believe this is essential for physical and mental health.
I think work life balance is essential yet often neglected, taking the time to schedule time off seems to work well but this is still a major focus for me over the next few months.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I think maintaining habits during this pandemic has been a more important factor. With the constant challenges many of us are facing it’s easy to let the positive habits we develop slip and let negative ones take their place.
I’d say overall I’ve maintained my health and wellbeing quite well through this period, minimising my alcohol intake and ensuring I’m consistently working out.
One big change for me has been regularly checking in with myself from a mental health perspective, taking the time to acknowledge how I am feeling and putting measures in place to work with those emotions.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
A few books that I have really enjoyed are Rich Habits, Becoming a Supple Leopard and The Barefoot Investor. Certainly all worth a read, if you are looking for a good foundational knowledge of exercise and corrective training Becoming a Supple Leopard is great.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I’ve recently started using the mental health app HeadSpace a lot to help with my sleep and have found that to be very effective. I’m not sure I would have got through lockdown so far without UberEats!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Richard Branson, I’d love to know if someone that successful can honestly find the time to have work-life balance and if work-life balance was always a priority or a learnt behaviour.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I think work life balance can be heavily associated with the expectation we place upon ourselves. When we want to be successful, we can throw ourselves into our work and lose touch with the things that matter to us personally.
If we are able to reduce our own expectations of immediate success and the pressures surrounding that it allows more time to enjoy the journey of what we are trying to achieve.
Setting smaller goals in a step-by-step fashion, over a period of time with intermediate reward will lead to the outcome, yet also allow for work life balance so you don’t lose yourself in the process.
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