Coaches / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Mitchell Woods, Performance Coach

Mitchell Woods is a Performance Coach, combining over 10 years experience strength & conditioning, rehabilitation, mind training and nutrition to consult with people about how to get more performance out of their lives.

In addition to running his performance coaching business, Mitchell also works as a Health & Fitness Coordinator at Energize Health Club.

Balance the Grind spoke to Mitchell about his extensive fitness background, what performance coaching entails, juggling two roles and home life, swimming in the ocean and more.

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

As a teenager, I fell in love with fitness when I played rugby league and union at a club and representative level throughout high school.

After school (2004) I studied to become a personal trainer and have worked in the fitness/health/wellness/sporting industries ever since.

I went onto study Human Movement at the University of Technology Sydney and completed multiple professional internships within elite sporting teams and organisations.

This allowed me to gain employment within various high-performance environments, as well as different fitness club management roles.

In a slight twist to what I thought was my very linear career progression.

In 2008, whilst on a snowboarding trip in Canada I smashed my hip into a tree. I tore the cartilage in my hip, which was painful, to say the least. Pain killers were a regular thing, it was not a good time.

2009 I had an arthroscopic procedure to clear away the damaged tissues. This left me in pain and unable to move and train myself and my clients like I used to do.

Angry and frustrated, I turned to meditation to help me break through my mental and physical barriers to find happiness and fulfillment.

I now combine my background as a sport and exercise scientist, and strength and conditioning coach with my experience as a meditation and mindfulness teacher and HeartMath Mentor Coach.

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

I currently run my own Performance Coaching business – Mitchell Woods Performance Coach.

The day-to-day for my Performance Coaching business is working with one-on-one clients and small groups. I offer a range of services, including physical movement and fitness to meditation, nutrition, and rehabilitation.

However, the current majority of clients seek me out for my rehabilitation, pre and post-operative coaching skills.

The nature of my work is to train clients on a physical and emotional level. I believe that we need to heal on all levels as our emotional and physical body is not separate.

This, I feel, ensures the most complete and long term solution. Meditation, mindfulness and the HeartMath coherence tools provide a great platform to assist within challenging rehabilitation cases.

Furthermore, not separate but parallel to my Performance Coaching business, I am also employed as the Health and Fitness Coordinator at Energize Health Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Within my position, I work specifically with the personal training group. I have designed my role to focus on helping our team to grow their business within our organisation. This includes technical, tactical, sales, administration and more.

For new trainers, I play a mentoring role in helping them start up their new business. In regard to more established trainers, I try to support them as much as possible to make work efficient for them and helping them in becoming as successful as they would like to be.

New trainers typically quit the industry within 3-6 months. They wanted to become a trainer because they love fitness and health.

However, did not understand the business side, especially the sales and networking aspects to being a trainer.

I like to think I help new trainers avoid quitting their career by supporting and upskilling them to create a new and thriving business in an industry that they love.

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

5.30 am: Wake up. I “will” have a cold shower for at least one minute (I have to coach myself into this every day!).

Drink 1 litre of water on my way to work. I do intermittent fasting till lunch (usually an 18 hour fast). I listen to podcasts in the car on my 20-minute commute. I like the School of Greatness by Lewis Howes.

6.30 am – 10.30 am: Work with clients. My focus is to be as present as I can, assisting clients to achieve their performance goals.

10.30 am – 1 pm: Meet with staff and work on the training part of the business. My focus at Energize is to grow the number of personal trainers we have and help our current staff as much as I can.

1 pm – 2 pm: Meditate and/or train. I am currently rehabilitating myself from a hip replacement operation due to that snowboarding injury from 2008. I have to make time for myself, I must fill the cup!

2 pm – 4 pm: Work with afternoon clients or attend to health and fitness coordinator tasks.

5 pm: Home by this time on most days to help with the dinner, bed, story time, clean kitchen and talk to my beautiful wife/watch Escape To The Country on ABC.

Our son Orlando (4yrs) and daughter Hermione (1yrs) do not like to sleep. It is an interesting way to end the day and proceeding into the evening.

Parenting is hard. Conscious parenting is so hard. I struggling with being present of all the time with everyone, including myself, within each and every moment of the day.

I am, however, way further down the yellow brick road compared to back in 2008 when I had my snowboarding crash.

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

I run a diary. If it isn’t written down it does not happen. I have to make a scheduled time for anything I do during the working day. It helps me feel like I am creating my ‘ideal’ day/life and enables me to say no to people.

I have to keep the main thing the main thing! Meditation or some kind of inner energy work is a priority over everything. If I am not in alignment, I am not in alignment.

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 for me conjures up an energetic analogy. I see myself as a battery. I have to do things that fill me up and I have to be aware of the things that require me to use energy.

I find being with my kids takes up lots of energy, so too does working with clients.

To balance that I prioritise the beach, meditation, eating whole foods and drinking clean water, sleep (I hunt for 7-9 hrs but often fall short due to my 2 kiddies), supplements, exercise and being in nature.

Swimming in the ocean is one of the best ways for me to reset, feel whole and balanced.

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

I love swimming in the ocean. I literally feel like the waves take off the layers of stress. This might sound full-blown crazy, however, I will persist and be vulnerable here – If I am feeling angry or stressed I will do some yelling under the water to let that stuff go!

Without a doubt the ocean has taken so much stress off me, I cannot thank it enough.

I was there this afternoon. On my knees in the shallows, in the cold water with the wind chill penetrating my body. I was looking at the pink layers of clouds from the sunset. I felt connected.

When I am connected, I am in the moment. When I am in the moment I am on point and can perform at a high level.

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?

I feel my best habit is also my greatest curse. I tend to feel like I need to be doing more to be more. However, I am aware that I need to simply chill.

Be more and allow the doing to come from that. In terms of it being a habit, I have always loved the idea of self-improvement and becoming a better version of myself.

Thus, my role as a Performance Coach is perfect. My habit is to BE better at all facets of my life.

Meditation helps me so much with that. The more I become aware of myself, the more I can look to implement positive change.

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

The books that have touched me the most in my life are:

9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Meditations! If I do not meditate every day I feel like my head is full of static! I am less creative, patient and calm. The more often I sit, the more whole I become. Then the day rolls from there.

Life is stressful or so we think. If we could sit and go within each day we would connect to our true nature, which is calm, aligned and balanced.

The outside world can be very intense at times but always within us, if we wish to connect, is a place that is undisturbed. This is the path to greatness. The path to true performance.

To be able to function with love, joy, happiness, and optimal creativity while living your life is the highest level of performance that there is. That is how I am to get the most out of every day.

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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.