Balancing the Grind with Mike Heitz, Co-Founder & CEO at Redprint

In our latest feature, Mike Heitz, the co-founder and CEO of Redprint, takes us through his journey from architecture to revolutionising the gym experience with smart technology.

With Redprint, Mike is bringing an architect’s eye to the fitness world, offering gyms across the US a digital blueprint for success. Mike opens up about the life of a startup founder, where balancing the drive for innovation with personal well-being is a daily challenge.

From his morning routine to the philosophy that keeps him grounded, Mike shares insights into managing the interplay of work, health, and creativity in the fast-paced world of tech entrepreneurship.

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

I started my career as an architect, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture, and spent two years in the industry. During my last year of undergrad, a close friend and I devised an idea for “smart gyms” in early 2017.

Over the next six years, while completing our education and working full-time, we refined the concept, developed wireframes, built an MVP, tested it, generated some initial revenue, and, feeling sufficiently validated, launched it full-time at the beginning of 2023.

Our company, Redprint, makes gyms interactive across the US, enhancing member comfort, helping gyms retain members, boost training revenue, and gather equipment usage data. The name “Redprint” is inspired by my architectural background, symbolising a digital blueprint for gyms.

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

As an early-stage startup founder, my days are unpredictable. Ideally, I start at 6 am, aiming for 7 hours of sleep, avoiding my phone for the first hour, and hitting the gym for an hour’s workout.

Post-workout, I return home by 8:00 am, shower, have breakfast, and read until 9 am. My co-founder and I meet at 9:30 am for planning, followed by sales meetings until noon. The afternoon is spent on various tasks until a 6:00 pm strategy meeting.

I also code for our mobile app, often from 7:30-11:00 pm, balancing work with personal time. However, stress often disrupts this schedule, leading to early wake-ups and a struggle to maintain productivity, underscoring the unpredictable nature of startup life and the importance of resilience.

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

Work-life balance, for me, involves equal emphasis on physical and mental health alongside professional endeavours. It’s achieved through engaging in enjoyable, non-harmful activities that promote present-moment awareness and creativity, such as drawing.

Starting the day with reading sets a positive tone, while sharing challenges with partners or fellow entrepreneurs fosters a supportive community. Physical health, vital for a health-based tech startup founder, is maintained through regular exercise, hydration, sufficient sleep, a healthy diet, and stretching, acknowledging their profound impact on overall well-being.

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?

The most significant recent change was allowing myself relaxation time, recognizing its absence during the intensive product development phase. Shifting to full-time on Redprint enabled me to allocate time for friends and unwind, improving my happiness and rectifying past neglect of personal relationships due to work guilt. This shift underscored the importance of balancing professional ambition with personal well-being.

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?

The book Relentless by Tim Grover has been particularly influential, offering insights into the mindsets of highly successful athletes. Its lessons on dedication and mindset have been energising and motivating, highlighting the importance of mental toughness and motivation in facing challenges.

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’s crucial to manage expectations regarding work-life balance strategies; perfection is elusive, and chaos is inherent in ambitious pursuits. The focus should be on managing chaos to maintain mental equilibrium and improve the odds of success, embracing resilience as a key to achieving greatness.

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.