Interviews / Personal Trainers

Balancing the Grind With Lachlan Rowston, Co-Founder of The Mind Muscle Project

Lachlan Rowston is the Co-Founder and Director of Creature Fitness & Co-Owner and Host of The Mind Muscle Project podcast.

This conversation is brought to you by HelloFresh, delivering delicious ingredients and simple recipes straight to your doorstep each week.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?

I grew up in a very privileged middle class Aussie household. No insane struggles of poverty or immigrant boat stories just a very humble middle class childhood which I am very grateful for.

I played a tonne of sport growing up and at the age of 16, due to my extremely skinny frame and constant bullying about my size, I picked up my first dumbbell.

My interest in fitness sky rocketed as I read every muscle mag and bought every mass gainer I could get my hands on.

Ultimately I joined the fitness industry at 18 working as an intern PT where I learnt some hard lessons about how to NOT run a small boutique fitness business as clients and staff constantly bombarded me with behind closed doors complaints and negativity about the business.

At 19 (2011) I found CrossFit and began to compete in it competitively with my local box (gym) as it combined my love of the gym with the camaraderie of team sports, something lacking dramatically to this day in all commercial fitness.

At 21 I opened my first gym with my business partners Rory and Raph and with in five short years we had two more locations. To this day we still run those three locations and manage 15 staff.

Along this journey I competed athletically whilst managing the business on the side. Gone now are those days, and if you ask me now at 26 I’ll tell you I’m a businessman not an athlete. Fitness for me is now about sustainability and health not competitive performance.

During this time only a year into running the gyms we started Australia’s first interview based health and fitness podcast – The Mind Muscle Project.

We invited multiple fitness influencers and coaches on the show and very quickly solidified our place in the top 5 Australian health podcasts.

The podcast has taken us across the globe with three US trips and one stint in Dubai. We have had some of the biggest names in Fitness including Mark Bell, Kelly Starett and the hosts of Mind Pump Radio.

The podcast lives separate to the gyms now with its own studio in the inner city of Sydney.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

Currently I direct the gyms and lead the senior staff members. I also manage the gym’s marketing and sales. For the podcast we record 3 shows per week in the studio and create on going content with our designers and producers.

I try to always get around to the gym during the week just to help lead the amazing coaching team and I’m always striving to stay in touch with what’s going on down on the floor so we can have a more meaningful effect on the changes to the overall direction of the business.

3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Wake up 6-7 days at 6 am. I stay off electronics for an hour. In the first hour I like to set the tone of my day.

I have a special recipe I’ve designed in a smoothie to maximise cognitive energy and alertness. I’ll drink that whilst running through my 3 personal and professional wins from the day before. I try to also fit in some breath work and meditation as well.

After that routine which I usually do Mon-Fri and parts of Saturday and Sunday, I start my day. I walk to the gym and listen to my audio books.

From here I like to meet with the coaches and run over some basic operational stuff and squeeze in my training.

After that I head into the podcast studio in the city via car, wrap up any intro or recordings we need to and work on the current plans in the show.

I’ll head back home usually for some intense deep work on the days most important tasks which some days could look like building out new parts of the website or creating online content for the gyms.

The day ends with me at the gym again talking with some of the members and having some in-person sales.

After that I go make dinner with my partner usually at her place so I’ll drive in again to the city.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?

Every day I start my day off by writing down my top 3 personal and professional wins for the day.

Personal practices usually involve things I’m working on to become more habitual. Some which I have conquered are drinking more water, meditating and reading.

All things I have been inconsistent with but know are good for me. This was a good daily reminder to get them ingrained so they no longer needed to make it onto the list.

Professional wins are usually the top priority business to-do’s. These are the things which NEED to get done. There’s always 10-12 things on my list and I’ve had to accept for now this is always how it’s going to be.

But the problem I found is I can cross things off daily and avoid the important things. So in order to feel a sense of achievement each day I must get the most important things done.

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5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

Balance is always an interesting question.

Everyone has the same 24 hours but not everyone has the same energy. This is what I believe is the separator between good and great.

I always make sure I keep the routines in my life that optimise my energy. You can have the most balanced life on paper but if you can’t make it through the day without feeling flat it doesn’t work.

Energy is derived from good health so daily movement, weight training, nutrition and sleep habits are my priorities.

After that I’m always chasing business goals and it’s always front of my mind, this means getting after the most important daily tasks.

I always make sure I’m out of work mode around 8pm to spend time connecting with my partner.

I’m a social person so I always make sure I have something booked on the weekend with friends, this looks like coffee, nice dinners or events. My friendship circle has dramatically shrunk over the years.

I’m very careful about he types of people I spend time with. I really believe you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with so I pick them very, very carefully.

By being highly selective of my external world it leaves a lot of room to feel balanced in my internal world.

6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

Good question. It’s a strange feeling I get when I take a holiday. I look froward to them don’t get me wrong. But I find it hard to switch off and enjoy them.

What makes me feel energised is tackling new problems and projects and solving them. Meeting people I look up to and having the pleasure of interviewing them lights me up and inspires me, so these are things I constantly chase as I feel they level me up.

Completing a week of hard and consistent training recharges me. Inspiring and leading my team of amazing coaches recharges me.

I guess what I’m getting at here is what typically ‘recharges’ people is not what does it for me because it takes me away from what I love. Doing what I love everyday is what fuels me.

Most people need slow relaxing holidays because they don’t truly love what they do, they could just be working for a pay check or in a toxic environment. It’s different for everyone and this is what does it for me.

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

From a very early age I started bodybuilding and the lifestyle which goes with it. The habits of being able to effectively cook and feed yourself are greatly under-valued when you’re young!

So many times have I seen men and women who move out of home and have to fend for themselves for the first time be completely at a loss nutritionally.

They don’t know what ingredients to buy or how to cook so they resort to takeaway and packaged ultra-processed foods. As a result they form poor habits and eventually become ill and unhealthy.

It is a basic human skill to be able to prepare a days worth of nutritious food and this is something I built and practiced at 15 years old and has stuck with me.

Now I’m definitely not carrying an esky and eating religiously from tupperware but I am very consistent at getting fresh veggies, lean proteins and plenty of water.

Like I said earlier these habit provides me the energy to operate at a higher level than most other people and get more out of my day.

8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?

Tough question. I’ve got two.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. This is a book about how to ascend to true business owner mastery. It helps create the mindset of what real business owners need.

This moves you towards a leadership approach to business which relies on systems and less on you doing all the work. This can help any business owner in particular get more life balance.

My second book is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Most people have read this book but for me it fits into this question by providing you with perspective.

Any time you can get more perspective on your life you soon realise all your problems are self created and in the scheme of humanity are irrelevant. It’s a good way to chill and work in some balance.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.