Balancing the Grind with Charlie Hendrie, London Expansion at BFT UK

Charlie Hendrie is responsible for launching London’s first BodyFitTraining in Battersea. BFT is the fastest growing fitness franchise in Australia with over 450 franchises sold globally and a rapidly growing membership base of 55,000+.

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I’m a classic example of the COVID pivot! After 10-years in various sales manager roles in fashion, food & beverage, I knew in my heart this was the time to pursue an industry I’d been passionate about for most of my life – fitness.

From school sport to amateur footy, I’ve always been super active and committed to my health & fitness. When a sales role with a health food start-up didn’t work out, and very little recruitment or opportunities presented post COVID, I tasked myself with (finally) completing a sport science course to become a certified Personal Trainer. 

Starting over as a PT, I still wasn’t sure how I wanted this career change to evolve. So I started coaching in a boutique gym and over time established a strong client base and felt so rewarded by the impact I made to people’s fitness.

From there I felt equipped to open my own studio but through a chance meeting, was introduced to Hamish McLachlan a Director at Body Fit Training – Australia fastest growing fitness franchise. I’d never considered going down the group fitness franchise path, but after Hamish heard I had knowledge of the UK market after living in London for years prior, I was offered an amazing opportunity to launch the first BFT in London – BFT Battersea.  

BFT Battersea opened in Nov and together with the team, we smashed it out of the park. As an owner/operator at BFT Battersea I draw on my commercial background for sales and operations and get to live out my fitness dream everyday – with some of London’s best coaches and our unrivalled fitness community!

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

Monday & Saturday are my biggest days of the week. On Monday I typically coach all the morning sessions and make it my purpose to encourage all of our members to start their week right.

This involves arriving at the studio 4.45am, coffee, review of session purpose & coaching notes and greeting everyone with energy when they arrive. Classes finish mid-morning and I spend a few hours on admin such as sales leads, connecting with trialists from previous week, reporting on member engagement – and most importantly checking in with members who haven’t been in recently.

Post-lunchtime, the coaching team and I chat about the week ahead and fit in a BFT workout for ourselves. I’m more of a morning person, so I leave the studio before the evening classes and head home for a bit more admin and time with the family.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

Daily exercise is non-negotiable for me, and helps to create balance. Taking time out of a busy day, away from admin, social media etc and having the flexibility to exercise when I feel like it means I don’t have the stress of trying to fit it in. I understand that’s not possible for everyone, but committing to doing something active everyday (a walk!) will change your mindset and once you’re in the groove you won’t look back.

Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

Running your own business means you are “always-on” and I absolutely got stuck early days working all the time. What I realised is that I hadn’t empowered the team enough to help and just did everything myself.

I now dedicate time each day working with the team and setting expectations of what needs to get done. This has enabled me to work more “on” the business and as a result things run more efficiently and I’m not the bottleneck. The space I’ve created from not trying to do everything creates more balance in my life. 

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

For business, each week I listen to THE FITT INSIDER. It’s a podcast that talks with entrepreneurs, execs & investors who are redefining fitness and wellness. They have chatted with leaders of the biggest fitness companies globally. And for all sorts of life advice, I always love The Imperfects | Podcast on Spotify.

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

It comes as no surprise that exercise and being active is linked to better mental – and I see this daily in our studio. My advice is “just start something” and build from there. There is an abundance of options so shop around and find something you like. BFT makes it easy for those intimidated or unsure how to get going at a gym so give us a go! But I’d also be happy if people who want to feel better just got outside and got active. I promise it will change your life.

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.