CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Daine McDonald, Founder & CEO at Clean Health

Daine McDonald is the founder & CEO at Clean Health, one of Australia’s top fitness industry educator and personal training organisation.

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

I was unsure of what I wanted to do out of high school when I “Grew up”, so in 2001, I entered the Army. 

There, I very quickly realised that A) I loved the physical aspect of it and B) that I needed to get an education in something health and fitness related so that I could turn that into a career.

So, I stayed in the Army part-time and left to get my Diploma in personal training. My goal was to use that as a stepping stone to entering university in human movement science and then physical therapy so that I could become a physical therapist.

However, I decided to start a personal training business once I qualified to earn an income doing what I loved whilst studying rather than working at a bar.

The rest is history, as they say; from there, in 2008, I founded Clean Health, which is today considered one of the world’s leading fitness brands and set up my first gym, which then expanded into multiple gym sites.

By the time 2015 had come around, I had to make a choice: do I retire from personal training, or do I become an actual business operator? 

I had 40+ staff and multiple locations; I had also expanded into live event education and had a ton on my plate going through a divorce with my first wife.

During that time, I made some poor business decisions that nearly bankrupted me to evolve into a “CEO” and not just your typical founder, which ultimately led to me retiring as a PT and going “all-in” as a businessman.

So, in 2016/2017, I consolidated things and exited my gyms for seven figures and then went all-in on the education pathway, which in 2019, I transitioned online and have done over since.

Today, after 20 years and being in business for myself my entire adult life, I’m grateful for the impact I’ve made in my industry and proud that in the last 5 years, Clean Health has educated over 50,000 personal trainers and nutritionists worldwide.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I am up at my desk between 4:30-5:30am 6 days per week, depending on how my body feels and Sunday, I will “sleep in” to 6:00-6:30am.

From there, my day is very regimented and looks like this:

  • 4:30am-5:00am: Personally, connecting with our customers through social in our community platform
  • 5:00am-7:45am: Product development and sales/marketing funnel related
  • 7:45am-8:15am: General business admin, emails etc
  • 8:15am-10:00am: Workout, Sauna/Ocean swim, and then breakfast with kids
  • 10:00am-12:00pm: Product development and sales/marketing funnel related
  • 12:00pm-1:30pm: High level business commercials, financials, strategy, growth related
  • 1:30pm-2:00pm: Outdoors, sun, grounding
  • 2:00pm-4:00pm: Any business meetings
  • 4:00pm-4:30pm: Bath with kids
  • 4:30pm-5:30pm: 121 time with kids
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm: Family dinner
  • 6:30pm-7:30pm: Read with kids, put to bed etc
  • 7:30pm-9:30pm: 121 time with my wife
  • 9:30pm-10:00pm: Meditation and sleep

As you can see, I don’t take any meetings unless crucial before 2:00 pm, as it allows me to get more work “done” across our products and the way we sell them to our customers whom I know intimately, being one myself!

I also structure time with the kids every day. I have 6 kids now (no joke) and 1 more coming soon, so it is massively essential for my wife and me to connect with them daily. 

Now my routine on the weekend is the same up until lunchtime, and then I have the afternoons “off”, and at 39 and turning 40 soon, I work harder and smarter than ever before!

Oh, and finally, I “pray at my temple” – i.e., the gym – 5 days per week and aim to do 10,000+ steps per day outdoors at least!

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

Yes, with Clean Health, we are a 100% online business with both products and our workforce! Our team is spread across Australia, Asia, and the United States.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Like Grant Cardone, I believe in the context of being 10X in every aspect of your life, so balance to me is not an issue, especially considering that my “job” does not feel like work, as it is something I am super passionate about.

I want to be super healthy, super happy, super grateful and lastly, super “financially” successful because, ultimately, that is the least important of the qualities I just listed.

Outside of that, I aim to connect and be present with my family and loved ones, take care of my body daily, and make sure I have some downtime at the end of every day, which is enough for me!

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life? 

My morning routine of workout, sauna and breakfast with the kids is the most significant change, as it allows me to prioritise my physical and mental health all in one hit and be more efficient with my time.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts, or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Any book or course by Tony Robbins (Mindset), Grant Cardone (Mindset and sales) and Russel Brunson (Marketing) you can’t go wrong with! 

7) Are there any products, gadgets, or apps that you can’t live without?

My Apple watch, infra-red sauna and home gym.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Dwayne Johnson.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Everyone has a different perception of what their dream life means to them, so my advice is to step 1, not to compare yourself to others. 

Step 2 is to identify the level of value you place on your relationships, health, emotions, family, and finances/career and then assign the necessary level of energy to that “pillar” to maximise it to its fullest potential.

I believe you can have it all, but also remember that money doesn’t buy happiness and that it is better to wake up every day feeling wealthy in body and mind, just as much as your bank account! 

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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.