Ben Lucas is the director and co-founder of Flow Athletic, an incredibly successful yoga and fitness studio based in Paddington.
To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Out of school I played professional Rugby League for the Gold Coast Titans and the Cronulla Sharks. As my footy career was starting to wrap up, I got into personal training and started to pick up some clients.
It’s a big transition mentality to go from being an athlete to not doing that anymore and I knew it would be tough, which is why I wanted to set myself up financially before I took a deep back to lessen the blow.
I opened a small personal training gym through a fitness franchise and it got so busy that in 3 years I had opened up three different studios which I was training clients out of. It was very busy, I worked extremely long hours and in amongst that, to keep my mind healthy because I was running marathons and ultra marathons to try to fill the void I was missing after my footy career wrapped up. I ended up running 35 in the space of 5 years.
Towards the end of those 5 years, I stumbled upon Kate Kendall who co-founded Flow Athletic with me and is our yoga director. I went to her class one day in Bondi as it was recommended to me to do some yoga to relieve my sore muscles from all of the running I was doing. Sure enough, not only did it work but my running time and performance improved.
I told her about this and we decided to test it the other way. I would do some strength training with her and sure enough her yoga improved.
One day I told her she should open her own yoga studio. She thought about it, came back to me and said that she will open a studio with me and we should base it on a philosophy of balance based on our own experience, that being for every strength workout, you should do cardio and yoga/ flow.
I thought about it, sold off my three fitness studios and put my money into Flow Athletic. That was 10 years ago and I have never looked back. I have been a lot happier too as when you are not part of a franchise you can be more creative as you don’t need to follow their guidelines.
What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
It really changes up these days because I now have two kids and a wife, but it is great as it has forced me to find balance.
An average day would be:
450am: I wake up and go to the gym to do my own workout.
6am: I come home to have breakfast with my family and send the kids off to school
From 830am: I am at Flow Athletic. Sometimes I am teaching classes, or I am doing admin, we do frequent creative days to come up with new event ideas, class ideas and community activations. I also will meet with all of my team every quarter to see how they are doing and what goals they want to kick. I may go and meet with potential businesses that we can collaborate with and more. No two days are the same
12 noon: I always try to go for a mid morning or lunchtime run. Ideally I will do 5km every day. I started this during Covid to help with my mental health and I kept it up for 365 days. I plan on keeping it up as much as possible.
From 3pm: I try my best to be home and to hang with the kiddies after school
7pm: Dinner time, kids bath time, and some time with myself and Taliths
830pm: We usually wind down, read a book or do a meditation before bed.
What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, it is more work/ family balance. I make sure I am as available as possible in the times that my kids are not at school as I don’t want to miss them growing up.
For me I am lucky because I have an amazing team at Flow Athletic to help manage and do the reception work which means when I am there I can teach, be creative and just oversee things when I need to.
On a personal note, the past few years being a gym owner with a studio in Sydney has been really tough. We were not allowed to train people in our space for a long time. The rules kept changing, we had to keep adjusting and I kept all of my staff on their salaries the whole time.
For me, I started my 5k a day 365 running initiative just for my mental health. I also started meditating a lot more and making sure I was reading positive books before bed.
In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I have probably gotten into a better routine. Now that life is back to normal and my kids are at school, I have structured my routine outside of work around their times.
A big thing I am still focusing on is running as well as how to keep innovating our business to keep on the forefront of the industry.
Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
My favourite book and most gifted is The 4 Agreements. It helps you get out of your own head and look at what is really important
If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
What I admire in someone is that they have a good relationship with their family, maintain good health and are self-made.
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