Balancing the Grind with Jamie King, Co-Founder of Flex & Flow

Jamie King is the Co-Founder of Flex & Flow, made up of their flagship fitness studio based in Portland, OR, as well as a global community of events, training and retreats.

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

After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2004, and a short stint working in a law firm and studying for the LSAT (which I decided not to take), I took a big leap of faith and opted to halt my law school dreams, and start a career in high tech marketing and public relations (which I didn’t know much about – both the high tech and public relations part).

Several years into my career, I was managing my own practice and thriving, but also discovering my true passion and purpose (movement and community!).

I was working non-stop while also training and running ultra marathons, teaching yoga, and helping others get fit before work with a community bootcamp in San Francisco several mornings before work.

One morning at work, after a particularly challenging (and packed!) early morning bootcamp class, I was sitting at my desk thinking about what was next for me in my career, and what in my life was currently filling me up.

I thought about relocating to a new office, or changing jobs completely. But when I got honest with myself, I realized what I really wanted to be doing was to inspire people through movement. And that’s when I got bit by the entrepreneur bug.

I knew then that I wanted to do something that would inspire everybody to move and feel more free in their bodies. I now use my PR, marketing skills, and management skills to foster and grow a movement powered community.

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

As I write this, I realize how annoying it might sound – like one of those articles telling you to wake up earlier for increased productivity (especially if you’re someone who genuinely loathes early mornings), but I am a morning person.

I usually start my day with an early morning trail run. I like to take the time before the world begins to stir to clear my head and still make it back in time to have breakfast and coffee with my two year old son.

After spending a little quality time with my kid, I get on my computer and do a quick scan for any fire-drill type emails.

Once I am sure there are no fires to address (or I’ve addressed them all), I’m usually creating content, planning classes, working with instructors on scheduling, class logistics, etc, taking calls with brand partners or colleagues, and then I either break for a little lunch time yoga or take my dog for a walk to break up the day.

When I return, I am back to my workday until about 4pm when I log off to spend time with my son which often involves outdoor time – whether we’re gardening, hanging out at the park, the river, or even on the deck doing a yoga class together.

Then it’s dinner, clean-up, and bedtime for my son. Whatever work I didn’t get to before 4pm, or whatever is still lingers that needs to get done, usually gets done in the later evening hours while I’m sitting in the living room with my dog and husband.

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

The funny thing is, we’ve always been big proponents of remote working and flexible schedules. We don’t have a butt in seat policy – we’re more about the work getting done however that fits in with your life!

I’ve been remote working since we started our business 10 years ago – so my work style hasn’t changed much because of the pandemic – it’s mostly just changed in the last two years since I had my son (meaning I just have a lot less time to dawdle than before!).

The only thing that’s different is that when I’m teaching classes, I’m no longer teaching to a room full of students — but to a screen full of them instead.

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

The ever elusive work-life balance! Honestly, I’m not really sure that I have a goal in mind when it comes to finding more balance. I think what I strive for is happiness and fulfillment.

I realize that I am not serving anyone when I am unbalanced – overworked, unhappy, or not challenged – so I take time out of my day to run, do yoga, connect with my family and friends, and sometimes even just to make ice cream.

The thing is, I really love what I do – and here I go with the cliches – it honestly doesn’t feel like “work.” But like everyone else on the planet, I am constantly learning to be a better communicator and advocate for myself, and set boundaries with my time so that I can take care of myself and my people.

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

I have started making more ice cream – does that count? Joking, sort of.

I guess I would say that I’ve been consciously working on saying “no” to more of the extraneous stuff so that I can focus on what’s most important to me.

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

Podcasts! Yes! Too many to list.

But for starters (shameless plug alert!), tune in to Shiny Objects – a podcast my business partner, Alyse (who also happens to be my cousin) started to talk about the messy business of working with family and entrepreneurship.

I also highly recommend That’s Not on Brand. It’s a lighthearted and fun podcast with two sisters sharing stories about their own healing, mental health, pop culture, and more.

They tackle some serious topics in a very uplifting way and they’ll make you laugh until you pee your pants (or maybe that’s just me.) Other faves include: 2 Dope Queens, Rabbit Hole (New York Times), The Daily, Reply All, and Death, Sex & Money.

As for books, I am an avid reader, but find myself leaning very, very, very heavily into the light, summer reading type books right now (I think the pandemic has been heavy enough). Some books keeping me company this summer include: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, Normal People by Sally Rooney, Assymetry by Lisa Halliday, and Educated by Tara Westover.

As for newsletters, I can’t get enough of:

The Anti-Racism Daily, by Nicole Cardoza. I truly think everyone should subscribe, support (ie pay them for their hard work!), and LISTEN to Nicole and her team

Coffee With Alyse. While it might be a semi-shameless plug (because yes, she’s my business partner), it’s just too good and everybody should read it, already!

And of course, The Activeist from Flex & Flow.

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

My must-haves are my Suunto running watch, Strava, and my AfterShokz headphones.

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

My friend, Emma. She is one of those people who are top of their career, can bake a cake (and decorate it!) from scratch, learn a new skill and excel at it (like crabbing or skateboarding – you name it, she’s done it!), and somehow still show up for her friends and family in a meaningful way.

Emma – I need your secrets!

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

Find things that fill you up and surround yourself with people who make you a better person – and then figure out how you can serve and honor them in return.

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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.