Episode 52

Creating An Athlete's Attitude At Your Desk with Ben Rashleigh

February 9th, 2022

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Today we’re chatting with Ben Rashleigh, an ex-chef turned passionate Pilates instructor who's sharing tips on how to keep moving even while you're at your desk.
We dive into:
  • Finding movement that is right for you
  • How our bodies work when we're not moving
  • The benefits of standing up every 15 minutes
  • Setting up our desk up in a way that allows you to keep moving

Connect with our fabulous guest

About Ben
For the better part of a decade Ben dedicated himself to a career as a fine dining chef, both here in Australia and in Europe. Years of 60-plus hour weeks being hunched over a bench, caused chronic lower back pain and forced him to wear a brace on a daily basis just to accomplish simple tasks. Ben’s physiotherapist recommended he take up Pilates to combat the damage, where he quickly developed a passion for the discipline, which in turn prompted him to enrol at National Pilates Training and obtain his Diploma in 2012.
Ben truly believes that every single person deserves a chance at living their best life just like he had the opportunity to do so in 2012, which has led him to help people to participate fully in their own life through the Pilates Method and so over the course of the last few years Ben has developed a multifaceted workspace exercise health program that can be participated in many different workspaces from Hospitality to the Corporate worker.
In 2020 Ben also launched The let me take a selfie podcast, which is a self-health podcast purely to enrich and educate the community on a multitude of topics that can improve our health and wellness and not always having to commit more to your day to achieve that.
The rest of Ben’s working week is filled out with instructing tailored Pilates sessions at Aligned for Life Pilates Melbourne and teaching the Introduction to Anatomy for National Pilates Training where he looks to teach the basics of Anatomy to future Movement educators through to the most practical way possible.
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Ben’s Website

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Full Episode Transcription

Nicole Smith
Welcome to Take Control with Nicole. As business owners we experience firsthand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be. If you're looking for smarter ways to work, and create space and time freedom in your day, then you're in the right place. All right, let's go.

Nicole Smith
Hello, hello and thank you for joining me for this fabulous episode of Take Control with Nicole. Today I have the amazing Ben Rashleigh here with me and we are going to be talking about creating an athlete's attitude at your desk. But firstly, I would love to introduce you to Ben. After years of 60 hour workweeks hunched over as a fine dining chef, Ben was forced to wear a brace for his chronic lower back pain. Through his experience working with a physiotherapist he developed a passion for the discipline of Pilates. This led him to develop a multifaceted workspace exercise health programme, supporting many different workspaces from hospitality to the corporate worker. He instructs tailored Pilates sessions, trains future movement educators, and is the host of the fabulous Let me Take a Selfie podcast. Well, hello, Ben, how are you? Thanks so much for joining me here today.

Ben Rashleigh
I'm very well. Thanks for having me on. And I like the amazing Ben Rashleigh. It's, I might get my name legally changed that and see what happens.

Nicole Smith
I think you should, I think everyone is just woo, yay. So we would, I'd love to hear a little bit more about you, your background, your what led you to today, to be here. Share, share all your fabulousness with us.

Ben Rashleigh
Mm hmm. So what led me here today to the point that we're speaking right now. Woah, out of school I decided to become a chef, and I am the type of personality that doesn't like to do things in halves. So everything must be done to its full potential. So, I somehow negotiated my way into a two hat restaurant at the time called Donovan's in St Kilda, if you are Melbourne, a Melbourneite, most of you and likes a good night out to eat you probably know Donovan's is an institution. I did my apprenticeship there. And essentially Kevin Donovan, who's one of the two, the Donovans, he's one lovely wife gals, the other. Pretty much said that they don't take first year apprentices. And I made it my mission over the course of a couple of weeks to change their opinion on that and eventually swindle my way into a position as a first year apprentice at Donovans. Moving forward for the better part of a decade, I worked in multi hatted restaurants throughout Melbourne, I worked overseas in London and in Spain, at fine dining restaurants and Michelin star kitchens as well getting to the point where sort of you know, I was getting to the top of my game like I was, you know, my highest position would have been as a sous chef here in Melbourne, but also in in Spain as well. So a sous chef at a Michelin star kitchen and a sous chef for gentlemen, a lot of people if they do like eating out and again, we'll know this name Scott Pickett. So my last proper gig was being Scott Pickett's sous chef at The Point in Albert Park. And so like, you know, like, I work pretty hard for that, like I worked, you know, my butt off, so to speak, doing 60 hours a week, at least, in the kitchen, and sort of being hunched over a bench for so long in that position. You know, my back just sort of wasn't really in a good space. Neither was really anything else, but my back especially so I used to turn up to work with a back brace to sort of get through and ignore it. Eventually, I decided to do something about it when my father, back then was 80 years old, he had me quite late in life, was running rings around me with his health, and just how he sort of moves so I decided somewhere in my mid to late 20s that I would do something about that and went to the physio and physio pretty much said to me oh, you should try Pilates and my internal dialogue and arrogance as a chef sort of popped up and just started laughing. You know, it's, you know, I thought it was something that you would lay down on the mat and just breathe and then go catch up with the girlfriends on Akland Street for coffee afterwards.

Nicole Smith
In your beautiful activewear as well, always.

Ben Rashleigh
Absolutely, yeah, yeah, I was pretty wrong and I'll eat humble pie. But I was very quickly converted to and definitely got back on top have sort of my lower back pain pretty quickly. And then after a while, I decided that it was probably at a point in my career cooking where I either jump further down the rabbit hole and probably never come back out again, or make a career change and I decided the career change. Yeah, and so I studied my Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction with national pilates training and further on and gone done my advanced diploma with them as well. And I once again conned myself into getting a job with them as I tend to sometimes do if I like, like a place. So I, yeah, convinced Katrina Edwards, the founder of national Pilates training and the director there, and is also the director of Align for Life Pilates, which is the Pilates studios and the brand for me to sort of come and work with her. And over that time, I've sort of developed into probably a bit more of a senior role. I've actually, am now the co owner of Align for Life Pilates, the Melbourne CBD studio. I also spend every, probably every month sort of teaching anatomy to future Pilates instructors and movement educators and also going into more of a faculty education sort of role again in 2022. It's been a while since I've stepped back into that. So since then, it's pretty much been that I've decided that the method that sort of helped me get through life a little bit in so many different ways and forms over the years is something that I like to be able to use to help others in their life as well. Yeah,

Nicole Smith
So good, and I think it's really interesting when you're talking about the chronic pain or the pain that we just kind of put up with, it's just that kind of thing, oh well I'll get, deal with that later. I'll deal with that later. For me it was, I had days, dull, aching headaches for the longest time. And it wasn't until my whole neck kind of creeped and got locked, that I realised I was completely out of alignment. And a few sessions with, it was I went to a chiropractor, but a few sessions and the headaches stopped. But it was something that I just been dealing with didn't really put much focus on it. And so when you discover that new thing, like what you've done with Pilates, how it's almost a life changing experience that you've gone from this having to wear a brace every day to I can actually move again. It's such a fabulous experience to go through.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, absolutely. And pain, pain. Wow, pain is an interesting subject. And you and I could be here forever talking about just pain itself. And the funny thing about pain, it's an emotional and sensory response. And that response is actually a triggered response on the threat of danger. So interesting thing is not everything has a pathology or a trauma or an injury associated to pain. And it's actually your body giving off signals that there might be a threat towards that sort of danger instead. So pain is an interesting thing to work with. And some people sort of can't quite get on top of that. And then usually, through actually doing positive association to movements and slowly building capacity and load there. That pain goes away. Yeah, which is quite interesting. Yeah. And so that's, that's the important thing is like, it doesn't matter what you do, doesn't matter if you go and run an ultra marathon or you walk your dog around the block, or you go and lift heavy weights at the gym or you practice Tai Chi, Qi Gong, yoga, pilates, or you know what, you decide that you want to do pole dancing or acrobatics. None of it actually matters. It's the point that you're actually learning movement and actually associating movement and associating movement with positive experience that really can help with things like that. But also that movement doesn't matter what it is any movement is good movement, and that movement's medicine.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, so I think we might have had this conversation previously, but like, the whole exercise thing was always a, eee god it's not really me, I'm not a ball sports person, I know this and, then I realised, well, my movement is dancing. And when I first started, I would go a couple of hours and just, you know, work up a sweat and just be breathing and like, you know, having the most amazing time and then it was the after thought, ohh I've just done exercise today, but I'm feeling amazing because I'm moving and the, you know, all the happy vibes and all of that sort of thing. So, I guess the point of it is find your thing, isn't it? Don't feel like you have to be pushed or forced into running a marathon. Definitely not my cup of tea. Some people love it. But that's, find your thing that makes you happy.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, absolutely and I think dance is a great way of being able to do that. You talk to me, and I wouldn't exactly call myself a dancer. Yet I get up this morning. I'm like, well, I don't want to lift heavy weights, I don't really want to go for a run. So what did I do? I picked up the skateboard and went to the skate park for two hours, you know, and just rolled around and had some fun and, you know, learning new movements, learning new tricks and things like that, you know, it's all part of the benefits of movement. So, yeah, you can find movement through so many different ways.

Nicole Smith
Yeah. And so I, my background is corporate world. And you know, sitting at a desk longer than nine to five most days and getting into that kind of like you feel hunched over and all those things. How does something like becoming I guess a bit more aware of your body and your ergonomics as well of your workstation. How can that help, I guess, make you feel a bit better or get bit more happy about where you're sitting? Make your body feel a bit better?

Ben Rashleigh
So that's, that is a very interesting thing. Like we talked about ergonomics, right, we talked about setup, and you know, that we've got to have the screen at a certain height, you know, and the, you got to have your chair in a certain way. You know, shoulder rests, proper curvature for the chair, you know, keyboards got to be a certain way. I've even got a vertical mouse, not that you can see it, but it literally looks like a shark fin like it's incredible. That is all what we sort of view as ergonomics, but ergonomics is actually and this was, I learned this lesson from a guy called Dr. Heath Williams, who runs a great sort of corporate health company, and is an osteopath. And he told me, he goes, you know what, you've got to actually see it as your surrounding. So it's not actually just about your setup. But it's also about where the kitchens placed, where the toilets situated. As you were, is you, are you in a positive work environment, you know, is there stress, these are all ergonomics and changes. So I think that's the thing that we've all got to realise it's not just about your setup. So, you know, as you said, you would sit longer than nine to five in a corporate, you know, in a corporate setting, and so nine to five, let's just go back to nine to five, it's easier for everyone to compute. So the average person who sits nine to five that works in their office. So I'm not talking about being home, I'm actually saying in their office. That works nine to five sits for an average of eight hours that day, okay. Then they get in the car, or the train or the tram, and sit to go home, then they get home and they have dinner. They're sitting again. They sit to talk to their partner, their loved one, their housemate, whoever. Then they sit and watch TV, or they sit and read a book, or they sit and you're actually sitting on average, roughly, they reckon it's about, if you were to sit for eight hours at work, you sit for roughly about 12 hours of your day.

Nicole Smith
That's crazy, isn't it? When you think about it, you're so right. Because you don't just be like, oh, finished work, so I'm gonna go and just walk the rest of the night. You kind of feel like, I'm relaxing now gotta sit to relax.

Ben Rashleigh
Exactly. But even if you even if you were to go for a walk, you're going for a walk in that one element. And it might be for an hour. Go oh jeez, you might be really going to do an hour and a half, two hours and think you know, really know a steps today got my 10,000 steps. This is great. The problem is though, is what have you done for the rest of the day? And your body doesn't work, well it sort of, look, there's so many different ways we can talk about health and how we do and banking your exercise and banking your health, you know, talking about strength and bone density.Yeah, absolutely, the more you put in your banking yet, the more you'll get out of it, and long term. But the way that the body's metabolism works, it doesn't work as it as efficiently in a banking system, where you put a deposit in at the end of the day. So you cash out the till, it's all good and then you deposit at the end of the day. That doesn't really work that way. So our body starts to change after about 20 minutes of being sedentary. Because even though we're living in, you know, 2022 now, it wasn't that long ago, where our lifestyle and needed to be moving most times throughout the day and through our lives, whether it be hunting, gathering, lighting ires, whatever, moving around. So we are very much a system that starts to generate a lot of our hormonal and chemical responses and physical responses through movement. So if we sit for longer than 20 minutes, our body starts to slow down and metabolism starts to slow down, we start to, you know, the generation of certain sort of fat absorbing enzymes slow down as well. Okay, after 20 minutes, and these things like, start to affect cholesterol, like, affects heart disease, weight gain, all those sorts of things as well, not to mention sort of like, you know, stress responses and whatnot. So and then that's a whole gamut of other things. So the interesting thing is, is that instead of, probably, firstly, I'm probably not telling you to stop doing that hour walk at the end of the night, please do it. Absolutely. Please do it, because that is still really important for your health. Yeah. Okay. But it's what are you doing for the rest of the day? What are you doing to actually put these little micro investments back into your body, there are studies out there that looks at you know, if you were to stand up and get out of your chair every hour, through the course of that day, it would actually be more beneficial than actually doing 15 minutes on the treadmill at the end of the day. You know, you look at being able to stand up out of your chair every 15 minutes, you're starting to mitigate a lot of those sort of sedentary hormonal changes that start to happen in your body as well. And then I'm just saying Get up. Get up. So Nicole, we've probably been here for about 15 minutes already now chatting it can you please get up? Stand up out of your chair.

Ben Rashleigh
Okay, we're doing some exercise. Here we go. Yep,

Ben Rashleigh
Okay so I want you to stand up at a chair and then just sit back down.

Nicole Smith
Here we go,

Ben Rashleigh
that wasn't very hard now was it.

Nicole Smith
No! It's good.

Ben Rashleigh
But the the, it was good. Okay.

Nicole Smith
No, it's one of those things that you do, you get comfy, and you're like, okay, I'm just gonna keep I'm just gonna do this next thing. Next thing, next thing, next thing, and then all of a sudden, you do all those things we're talking about, you're feeling a bit like ughh heavy and tired. And I say to my clients, you know, we talked about Pomodoro before and those sort of 25 minute, you know, burst focus session times, my words are not working today. But you that is going in alignment with your 20 Minute sort of increments.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah absolutely. You know, like, if I was a stickler for the stats, I'd say your Pomodoro has to be about 15 minutes. But hey, for a body. But having said that, like you could do that. And that's the interesting thing is that, you know, if you are teaching your clients, the Pomodoro method, and I teach my instructors at the studio, the Pomodoro method as well, when they're doing their admin stuff in there, and that sort of work is like, okay, so you go 25 minutes on, five minutes off, right. And you do that for how many rounds? Is it about four rounds?

Nicole Smith
Yeah, so it's four for 25 is a one pomodoro, yep.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah. Okay, so you got, that's perfect. What are you doing those five minutes? What's your break?

Nicole Smith
Yeah, yep. Normally, I get up and go and get a, hopefully get another glass of water or a coffee

Ben Rashleigh
Okay. But you've gotten up?

Nicole Smith
Yes absolutely.

Ben Rashleigh
Perfect. If you're going to go sit down and still say sit and check social media how about you stand up and check social media? Or at least get up and then sit back down. Like you said that you're feeling sluggish before. Did you find that when you stood up, though, and sat back down? All of a sudden, it's not like your heart starts pumping again. But all of a sudden you don't feel so heavy. You feel a little bit more focused again. And so,

Nicole Smith
I felt like my face perkef or my eyes perked up.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, exactly. So and they the sort of the chemical reactions that are happening in your body, as soon as you start to move like that, because for you to actually stand up out of a chair, you've got to use some very large global muscles, very large functional muscles for the human body. And so all of a sudden, it's almost like this kickstarter, to be able to get you going again. So they are really good ways of being able to add in movement to your day. And so that probably segways us into sort of having this athletes mindset when we're when we're at the desk, right. And so you sort of have a look at it that way. And people go, oh, well, I don't have time. I'm really busy. You know, I can't, you know, it's like, okay, let's just play with that for a second. You're really busy. You're gonna sit there in your chair for two hours and just bang it out. Do you reckon for those two hours, you're 100% focused the whole time? Well, I can't move because it's, you know, it's gonna break my focus. It's like well unless you are someone that's made of complete mental resilience of steel, you are not going to focus for two hours. Hence, why the Pomodoro method is so effective. The Pomodoro method aside for a sec, go back down and just do your two hours of focus. Every time you send an email, you press send, there is a mic break of micro or micro break of focus in that point. Make it a habit. Stand up, sit back down. Every time you press send, every time you have to answer the phone. You can't answer the phone unless you stand up, sit back down. And so if you do things like that, if you find little places where you can actually, where you have micro breaks of focus, things that break the routine of you just trying to smash out a word document or whatever, or a spreadsheet, or whatever you do, you will find ways to be able to actually pepper it in to your day and into your work life, regardless how busy you are. And you will not break focus.

Nicole Smith
I love that, um, I can't remember where it was now. But we were talking about transitioning, even just your phone calls, instead of sitting like majority are on mobile these days, right, and you've got air pods or whatever else going on. So just get up and go for a walk with your phone calls. Like you don't necessarily have to be, especially, if it's a Zoom may be a little bit different. But if it's an old school phone call, get up, go walk somewhere, do something else. And I love that introduction of you know, the habits, it's just changing our current way and evolving it into introducing these small micro things. And those triggers the phone rings, stand up, you know, email sent, stand up. It's so simple, isn't it?

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, yeah. And it's a great way of being able to break the body cycle. And I think that's probably one of the most important things, is being able to break that cycle and to be moving because people go, oh, well, what about ergonomics? What about my posture and all that, and like, they are great things to be focusing on. And don't stop focusing on that. But your next posture is always going to be your best posture. You know, people go, well, I should be up straight the whole time. And like, yeah, but that's really good if you're just training yourself to walk around like a stiff plank body.

Nicole Smith
Put the books on the head and you know, walk around, like they used to in the,

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, well, there, exactly, there is a reason why our joints move in certain directions. And that's because our body needs to access those movements. And the age old, saying, if you don't move it you lose it, is actually quite true. If you don't start to move in those, keep moving in those directions, it's like currency for the body, the fibroblasts that sort of lay down your tissue to be able to give you access to those movements in the makenna receptors that give you the neural access to those movements, they are currency for the body. So what they tend to do is, if you're not moving that direction, they're like, alright, well, that's sort of, that's obsolete. So we will sort of pare that back a little bit, and we'll focus on something that that body does need more access to, which is evolution. That's why when you train the body, and when you train things that, you get better at movements, and all of a sudden your range opens up and things like that. But if you're not using it, you'll lose it.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, I've noticed that with um, you know, my dancing, so I haven't obviously been dancing at all over the last couple of years because of COVID and all the things. But at the end of 2019, start of 2020 I was at my peak, I was ballroom dancing is, it's certain style, right? And it's all about, a lot of it is all about your core and your reach out of there. And it was amazing to see where I had come from, to training those muscles and that movement and the you know, the way that you together dance with your partner. And now I can feel that my movements not as big as the bigger range than it was before because I haven't been using those things.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah movements important. Your setups important, but movements probably just as important. You know, it's not about how much you sit. I think you need to look at it as it's actually about how you breaking up that sitting. So if you sit for those 12 hours a day, well done good on you. But how much can you actually put breaks or break up that 12 hours of sitting? I think's the really important part.

Nicole Smith
I think I'd come if we spoke about this as well, but that whole busy culture of do do do do do do all the time. And so what happens is when we're doing all the time, our own personal well being is kind of pushed to the side. But I really love this conversation and I hope people that are listening are like oh, well that's pretty easy I can stand every time I get a phone call. That's, we'll make that a thing. But being able to make those, introduce those small little things. Also, let's move away from the busy culture because that's just, we don't want to be in there. But it can really help to change and evolve that way of being that is been so ingrained for the last X amount of years. Just let's support not only you as well, your neighbour, let's get them in on the party if you're back in the office. Me I'm at home I'll be like, Simon, time to stand out the other end of the house. I guess that is a question though, we're at home by ourselves, how do we take some of these things, I guess we've got a little bit more flexibility. It's funny one, flexibility in body and flexibility in time. But how can you, have you seen or supported some of your clients through the work from home situation of the last two years? And how we can start to encourage that movement? When we can't necessarily go out to classes? Or, you know, anything like that?

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, absolutely. I think probably the few things that you you probably want to have a look at, as, yes, have a good ergonomic setup. So, you know, it actually is worth the money on getting someone to actually do an ergonomic assessment for number one thing is those you don't want to be too comfortable, because you want to be able to get out, reminder to get out of the chair. So going into the other things and actually getting the movement involved into it. Okay. Nicole could you probably tell me, if you had an unbroken amount of time in your office, what tasks would you be doing?

Nicole Smith
An unbroken amount of time in my office? So I would, if I was sitting down the whole time. You mean? Yep.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, well, yeah. The kids aren't there. They're not sort of going hey mum, you know, look at this, watch this, play with me. All that sort of stuff like unbroken, like, we're talking like a period of time, maybe like two to three hours.

Nicole Smith
So I guess depends on the day, but I would have a particular project or a particular focus that I've been working on. So recently, we're evolving the business, looking at things a little bit more strategically, to go to that next level. So as part of that, there's a lot of brain work and a lot of thinking and a lot of reviewing and braining, basically. So sitting down and just focusing on all the tasks going through in my click up looking at the action that the team have given me reviewing the responses, then giving my response back to that. And so just moving through each of those tasks, until I get to a point where I'm like, that's enough. Okay, yeah. But sometimes that's not timed. Sometimes that is when you're not interrupted. And you do get in that zone. You do forget to get up.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah. And do you use a dual screen.

Nicole Smith
No, I've got my big screen over this side. She's a big monitor. And then I've got my laptop on a raised, raised little stand, portable one it's really cool. Yeah,

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah. Okay, cool. So look, we won't go over my opinion on what I think of dual screens. Okay. However, if you're going to use a dual screen, like, you know, you could, you could use that to your advantage, and you make sure that you actually create a habit that, you know, say that you're, do you normally, you'd normally type on.

Nicole Smith
So my big screens over there. Yeah. Oh, that's a very good question. Oh, maybe I need to flip around. It's over there.

Ben Rashleigh
Well, so that, yeah, so that's the thing, right? So I would be suggesting that if you're going to be typing, only type on one screen. But you know, make sure that for you to actually look at the screen to your left or right, that you actually got to turn. So you're actually creating motion by actually moving to turn and actually look at that screen. And coming back. Yeah, a lot of us do a head turn, okay. Which is good. But over repetitive nature, it's just like anything, you can sort of, definitely sort of cause you know, some tension up through some of those suboccipital muscles, create some headaches and things like that. So yeah, making sure that you know, create, almost creating a pattern, if you have to turn look at the other screen, twist the body, move the legs, twist the body and actually create, probably what we would say is a, a grossly exaggerated motion for what is actually needed for that task. However, that's the whole point of it. You know, is being able to create some bigger movements again. So doing things like that, you know, making sure your printers not at your desk, make sure you printers on the other side of the room.

Nicole Smith
Mine's down there on the floor, but she's not plugged in.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, that's the point like my printers out of my arms reach. So every time I print, I have to get up and get there. My water bottle, I always make sure that it's out of my arm's reach. So I actually have to either get up or physically move.

Nicole Smith
Isn't that interesting? Because we try and make things easier for ourselves. But by doing that, it's contrary to what we actually need for ourselves.

Ben Rashleigh
Absolutely. So convenience, you know, we think convenience is always going to be efficient. Yeah, having it all in there and around us and it's efficient to that physical time that it takes for you to actually grab that water bottle or grab that piece of printing or whatnot or looking at that screen, but efficiency on sort of, you know, your body, your mental focus and all that. It's actually not. So it might be it might cost time to actually create that movement. But that is time that is a given back and 10 fold when it comes to actually efficiency, have you actually be able to complete a mental task or a physical task?

Nicole Smith
Yeah absolutely. I know as well. So Kathy Rast, who's one of my very close friends and colleagues, she talks about, the language lingologist, yep she's amazing.

Ben Rashleigh
Yep I've still got to talk to Kathy.

Nicole Smith
So something that she always reminds me to do when I'm in a spot, because we always, we can get we can get in our heads sometimes. And she's like, you get up, go outside, get in a space, like move out there and be, you know, let yourself have some physical space around yourself. But also the action of getting up and moving is a really, like it and it's amazing. If you haven't done that, and you're kind of gone in a circle, which I'm sure everyone has been there, spiralling down through, just get up and go outside, even if it's raining. Go and dance enough rain.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, treating your chair, like a hot seat is really important. So you've got to be able to get up and get out of it as much as you can. So you know, being able to remove things out of arm's length is really important. They're really important. Another thing is for movement wise, is being able to sort of mix you know, as I said before, the next posture is your best posture. But like, what we do at the desk, or at any workspace is that we are flexing forward, we always do, that's where our eyes are where you know, where we are a predatory species, so our eyes are in the front of our head, okay, which means that everything that we do is in front of us, so we are constantly flexing forward. Now. Flexion is not a bad thing. It's an important thing for us to do anything, tie our shoelaces, pick up the bag of rice, from the bottom shelf at the supermarket, you know, pick your screaming toddler of floor, whatever.

Nicole Smith
Yes, screaming Yeah. Just got a flash of Charlotte, just saying Charlotte.

Ben Rashleigh
Some people might have had some flashbacks then, I apologise. But that's really important, flexion is really important. But so is extension. Extension is what sort of , our back extension is what sort of keeps us up right, it stops us from falling forward. It is also important for us, our back extensor muscles, also rotational muscles, too. So it actually helps us turn around and move as well. So adding some of that into your day. So being able to, you know, if you do have your little Pomodoro breaks, is actually create some back extension, which we could do a little bit now. Which is, if you would just place your hands on your desk.

Nicole Smith
Yep.

Ben Rashleigh
And what we're going to do is we're going to have a hands on a desk, arms and nice and long, and I want you to be able to press your hands down into that desk, okay. And you should feel how your shoulders start to activate in a sort of pull down towards the sides of your ribs. From there, you'll take your breastbone, and just swing it up towards the ceiling. Keep swinging up to the ceiling, almost like you're trying to do a back bend. Yeah, then you can probably lift your jaw even. And start the stretcher that throat. And then just bring it back. That's all it needs to be. You don't even have to get out of the chair for that. You know, doing some activity exercises like that, is really important. You know, also rotational exercises, which could literally be hands across the chest, and keeping your keep your feet planted, hips towards the screen, and then you just breathing in, taking a big breath in to fill up that chest and rotating to one side. And then just breathing out. And just bring it back. Breathe in, you go the other way, filling up that chest and that chest filling up that chest sort of expanding the ribs and it's expanding sort of the joints around where the ribs to the spine are as well. And then just breathing out to come back. Which that expansion is going to help with the movement too.

Nicole Smith
Yeah.

Nicole Smith
Just interrupting this episode for one little message. If you have been listening and love what you hear and want to come in connect, we have a Take Control with Nicole Facebook community right over there on Facebook that I would love to invite you to come and join us. We are a supportive community. We are looking to really take action in our businesses and change the way or evolve the way we're working right now. So I invite you to come on over and join our community and connect with us all. Community is the essence of everything in business, being able to really build those relationships that you can nurture, and grow and support and celebrate each other. Oh, how fabulous. I hope to see you over there, pop on over to Facebook. Take control with Nicole. See you soon.

Nicole Smith
I remember when I was singing, I sing and I always remember right back when the choir Mistress would be like, okay, we're gonna set up an out. And that was that whole movement of being able to create that space in your diaphragm and your lungs to breathe in and out. And yeah, it was just, I always think about that when I was dancing, or I'm doing something like that. It's that motion of up and just, you know, getting yourself ready to do whatever it might be.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, exactly. Because breathings, we go down the subject of breathing, jeez we're going everywhere today. Breathing is really important. Like if you don't breathe, you die. We all know that. What we probably don't realise is that humans are the worst breathers in the animal kingdom. We really suck at it. Okay. But that's because we don't have to do what we used to have to do. And also, we live a sedentary life now. Now, if anyone understands how breathing works, in its purest physical form is that the ribcage has to expand, or the cavity of the ribcage expands, which then opens the lungs and expands the lungs in the air sucks in so the air sucks in because there's less air pressure in the lungs at that moment in time, sucks the air in, ribcage pretty much or the cavity of the ribs goes back to, oh, the cavity of your thoracic, which is where anything you ribs are attached to goes back to its normal shape, which momentarily increases the pressure in the lungs, which pushes the air back out. That's all it is. Okay, you know, your diaphragm, which is the muscle at the bottom of your ribcage looks sort of almost like a plunger or like a parachute sort of thing. That accounts for about 75% of our respiratory effort. Okay. To breathe out passively, there's actually no effort, it's just a relaxation of the body back into its normal shape. But if you are really tight in that thoracic area, so anything that your ribcage attaches to, so think about your mid back, upper back, shoulders, chest, ribs, even stomach, you know that diaphragm, if that's quite tight, it's not going to be able to expand well, if it's not going to expand well, you're not going to be able to breathe well. So being able to do movement is going to help you with breathing. And now breathing is attached to everything. But it's the thing that you will start your life with. And it's the thing that you will end your life with everything else is up to question. You know, I think they used to say what is it like the two things guaranteed in life? I think my dad told me this as well. So I'm the two things that are guaranteed in life is deathand taxes. Well, unfortunately, my father's passed away, but I tell him he's wrong. It's actually the one thing that's guaranteed in life is breathing. Because everything else, well and death. Because, you know, some people don't pay taxes. So yeah, and that's the thing. So being able to breathe is really important. It changes your stress response, you know, the breath in or your inhalation as triggers your sympathetic nervous system, which is a fight or flight. The expiration triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, which is your sort of rest and digest. Yeah. Two really important responses to stress management, two really important responses to sort of everything in life. And so, but if you can't breathe properly, and you're taking sort of the short, shallow, high breaths, you're constantly just, also, if you talk about that level, is that it's just constant, short, sharp inhales. You're just staying triggered in that sympathetic nervous system area, which means you're in a stressed area. Think about when you're last stressed or anxious. It's all short, sharp breaths, really high breathes. You think about the person at really anxious person, you can see it, it's all in the neck, you know. So they're always triggering that sympathetic response. So in that form, if you're not moving and actually mobilising that thoracic, how can you breathe well. If you can't breathe well, how can you relax? You know, you might always have this high stressful breathing. You know, I think it's, we could go on forever, but I think it's something for you, for the listeners to really think about, you know.

Nicole Smith
And it's not the front of your mind or the time that it is all connected. Because you're like, yeah, I breathe. Of course I breathe, I'm still here. But I have experienced both of those things where I have been tight around that area and then my, I was suffering from asthma more and allergy or allergy stuff. And I went to my person and she did her thing. And oh, okay, I can breathe a little easier now. And I also found when I do get into that, that moment, of a little, maybe a bit of stress or a bit of whatever it might be, I go and sing. And because when I'm singing, I'm slowing down the breathing. So I can go through, you know, the, the phrases of the the lyrics and the music and the notes. And by the end it's beautiful. I just feel amazing after. So, movement, what I've got from all of the conversations here is just move. It doesn't matter if it's a run around the block or a simple get up from your seat, or even those exercises that we did here. Just go back in the episode and follow those for how many do you think we need to do if we're doing just the desk exercises? Is there some sort of, like, recommended amount or just as long as you're doing them?

Ben Rashleigh
I think going back to actually talking about again, is well, it's every 15 to 20 minutes. Yep. Something has to happen. Yeah, so yeah, those sort of those extension rotational exercises, great to put in throughout your day, you know, I wouldn't wait till you feel stiff to do them. I would be adding them in throughout your day completely. But we've actually been sitting for another 15 minutes. So you better stamd up,

Nicole Smith
Okay. Yep,

Ben Rashleigh
Up we go and then just sit back down again. And so that's the thing. That's and every 15 minutes do that. That is a good start.

Nicole Smith
I need a little timer.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, well, that's the thing, right. It's, um, you know, if you, if you treat yourself at the desk, like an athlete would, at the track, say they're a sprinter, you'll still, you'll come out of this much more fitter and much more mentally fitter from doing, making sure that you've actually getting up and moving, to get things, to grab things to do that. So it's actually not about how many times should I be doing this? It's actually you should always be doing it.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, it's just natural. It's the new way where it's just part of our everyday it's like getting up out of bed.

Ben Rashleigh
Absolutely.

Nicole Smith
Just part of the day.

Ben Rashleigh
Absolutely. Yeah, exactly. And so, making sure that that is in there, you know, there are so many desk exercises, Like I teach hundreds of different types of exercises, but they're all irrelevant if you don't do them. So, you know, it's, it gets back to that saying, that I said before, which has actually come from a lady called Joan Vernicos who was a, a NASA life sciences professor. Okay, and she wrote a book called Sitting Kills Movement, Heals. And it, she actually said, we are not designed to sit continuously. Okay, it's not how many hours of sitting that's bad for you. It's how often you interrupt that sitting. That is good for you.

Nicole Smith
The old switcheroonie of focus.

Ben Rashleigh
Well, absolutely. So it's not about how many times you get it done. It's how often you're doing something to break the sitting.

Nicole Smith
Amazing. So good. Now, your podcast. Let Me Take a Selfie. I'd love you to share a little bit about it. Because I, firstly, I've obviously been a guest on it, thank you. It was a fabulous episode, so fun. I love the name. And when you explained it to me, but I'd love you to firstly explain the name to the listeners here.

Ben Rashleigh
Well, it's sort of a play on the whole pop culture phase. Let me take a selfie. You know, you think about that, that things like oh, hold on, wait on, but first, let me take a selfie. And it's this very self indulgent view of taking a photo of yourself usually right? So it's just look at yourself and look at, you know, it's a it's a sort of a very exterior version of self infatuation. And sort of my view on that name is as well why does it have to be such a superficial view? Why is it let me take a selfie? Let me take time for myself. Let me take time for my self-health, my self-care, my self-love, my self-wealth, my value, all those sorts of things. And so it doesn't actually have to be just about taking this exterior photo, but it's taking time for you personally. And so that's where the name comes from.

Nicole Smith
And it's it's, as I said, when we first spoke, it's so important in this busy culture, which we've mentioned already, we forget about that, that it's a you know, it's not about doing the doing, it's about actually looking into what do we actually need? Be that movement, be that just resting, be that whatever it might be. And it's a great reminder, a really, really good reminder. What do you want your listeners to take away from all your episodes?

Ben Rashleigh
So I have a very broad range of guests come on, anything from what did the latest episode, Will Frost who is a Wim Hof instructor, what'd he say? Yes. I'm a professional breather. I dump people's heads and ice baths. Would you like to learn more? So we've got everything from that. Yeah, like your tradition, to someone like yourself, which is time management, you know, all the way to talking about females menstrual cycles, and the benefits around that of understanding the menstrual cycle. And also, you know, how that affects your health, how that affects your daily life, down to sort of conversations about movement, being able to put certain types of movement, meditation, their self affirmations, stress management, like it, the list goes on, and it can go from very left to right. And the purpose of that is, is that even though someone might view the subject as a bit too straight and narrow for them or a bit too, left of centre for them. Ironically, they all have the same message. Yeah. And it's sometimes just about finding what works for you. And you know, it's never my place to turn around and say, well, Pilates is everything. That's all you should be doing. It's just like, well, no, actually, all you should be doing is looking after yourself and actually, your health. And so you've got to find what works for you. And so there's so many people out there that can attribute to that. And there is a learning lesson in each episode. Whether that episode is for you or not, it's completely up to you. But you know, and that's why it's so broad, because I want to be able to touch everyone, not just a certain demographic, you know, the purpose of the podcast is actually not for me to create more sales, to create more business to do any of that. It's actually for me to go, well, what is my mission and my method in life? Which is actually everyone out there, knowing their own self value of being healthy. And you know, what, there are so many people out there, that how can you know, you sit down one avenue or pathway and say, this is going to help everyone. Well, theoretically, it might. But you might not engage people, certain people, so just making sure that there is something in it for everyone, you know, and that's the purpose of it. Yeah.

Nicole Smith
I love that. The creating awareness, as well as, you know, having a space for people to come and be like, oh, I didn't know about that. That's really interesting. And you know, diving in from one episode, it's amazing. I always say like, from one conversation, it's fabulous, what you can actually discover for yourself or for your business or for, you know, the people around you. And podcasts are great for that. And I love that you said that. That there's no, I say there's no one solution. If I'm talking about what or how I support my clients, there's no one solution. And that's across for everything. Because each of us are so beautifully unique, that our health is different to you know, Joe next to you. The way you work in businesses different, the way you are employee is different. Like all of these avenues are different. And so having a space like that, it's really, really good.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's important, I think it's important for that to be out. And a space for everyone, and space for everyone to have. Yeah. So yeah, that's the purpose of it. However, if you do want Pilates, I know a really good pilates studio in the city, you know what I mean?

Nicole Smith
With a pretty good view from what I've seen from your picutres.

Ben Rashleigh
Oh yeah, so Align for Life Pilates CBD, is situated on Little Bourke Street. And so our staff office overlooks the GPO building as such, and then the side of the studio overlooks Hardware lane. So there's all these beautiful old buildings all around the place. Yeah, it's lovely.

Nicole Smith
You forget, like so I started my career in in the city. I worked well, actually. Second second job. I was worked on Collins, Collins and Williams, I think it was and I forgot how beautiful Melbourne City is because I was away for such a long time. And so every time I go back back in I'm like, oh, so lovely just to be in the city again and the buildings and all of all of that.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, absolutely and you know what it's the, even though the Melbourne City has had a bit of a hard run the last couple of years, like it's incredible seeing some of the laneway stuff at the moment is amazing. They're putting in so much effort into it. And it's definitely a beautiful place to be and being not so busy anymore. It's actually really good because I never, no longer have to line up to get a coffee anymore or anything like that. It's great.

Nicole Smith
That's a win. That's a win. Well, is there anything else you wanted to share and talk about before we dive into the three questions?

Ben Rashleigh
I think, I'd just probably like to say to the listeners, it doesn't matter what you do, what you feel like you need, how much you're doing it, just do it. I think, you know, don't try and think that I have to be doing movement X amount of times a day, it's actually no, you just need to move. And you just need to be putting that movement in as much as possible in the littlest formats as possible, you know, stand up, sit back down, don't even have to leave your desk, do as much of those sorts of things as possible. If you've got a landline, make sure you got to turn to grab at that phone, you know, make sure you're doing things where you can move. And the more you do that, the better the results are going to be for you. And I'll tell you what, you're not going to feel like junk at the start of that end of day walk, or go into the gym or go into that Pilates class or that yoga class at the end of your workday. Because you've actually been moving throughout your day, you're going to get more benefit from those actually devoted hours of exercise that you might already do, as well. So it's, it actually helps with everything.

Nicole Smith
Very, very good. I love that and feel like we should do some sort of movement thing. Movement challenge when the episode comes out. Let's do move every 15 minutes. Let's do it. Okay, you're ready for the three questions.

Nicole Smith
Yes, please

Nicole Smith
Let's do it. Okay. What is your go to app that creates ease in your everyday?

Ben Rashleigh
It's airtable!

Nicole Smith
Nice. Yeah. Cool.

Ben Rashleigh
So I am a Pilates instructor by trade. I spend a lot of my time out on the floor. However, I manage a business, I manage instructors, and I manage other projects around that, like the podcast, teaching anatomy for the training college and stuff. And one thing that I've found is that, doesn't matter what you do, to do it easy, you need to be organised. And so I use air table, and I use air table to, you know, give checklists to sort of instructors if they're doing the opening and the closing of the studio that day. Job tasks as well, you know, I can allocate job tasks on airtable. All our policies and procedures are actually put in there as well. So, you know, I've got hardcopies, I've got harddrive copies. But you know what? I don't feel like I need to waste five minutes to an email to go when they go. Hey, Ben, where's the procedure for this? And I'm just like, it's on airtable. Yeah. And so it's all there for them too. So it makes their life easier. It makes my life easier. I love it. I absolutely swear by it. So I know you use ClickUp but I'm not quite sure if it's the same or not. But like airtable is, yeah, I love it.

Nicole Smith
It doesn't matter what solution you choose, right. But what's making my heart sing is you're talking about having your procedures documented and, and a system in place so that your team can easily find the things they're looking for. They know, your expectations as a business owner, what are those things we need to do at the start of the day at the end of the day? And yeah, airtables are a fabulous tool to use.

Ben Rashleigh
I think that's it and sort of it's online, which is important for us because we're such a transient workspace, like I might be there a lot. But you know, some of the instructors might come in teach for hours and go home, and they might only be there once or twice a week. And so, you know, it's all those sorts of things that are really important. With our online booking system as well. Obviously, our airtables not linked to that. But like between the online booking system and air table. Pretty much the instructors can do all their admin from home or from wherever they are. They don't always have to come into the studio to be able to do it.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, that's great and such a good model to set up especially because you want to be able to grow or build your business in a way that you can operate from where you need to operate from. And you don't necessarily need to be in with the paper files. I remember my first, one of my first jobs that the filing system was just like it was an accounting firm. So legally, they had to keep the things but, you know, we helped them them to move into an online space, which again, was just yeah, just even back then was a big thing. So awesome. Okay, well, I think I've answered the next question well you've answered this question. Are you an online or paper to do list lover?

Ben Rashleigh
I haven't answered it.

Nicole Smith
Oh, you haven't? Oh, okay.

Ben Rashleigh
So I saw this question. I'm just like, I might upset a few people. And I might upset the good old workplace efficiency gods too. But I am both

Nicole Smith
Nope, we have lots of hybrids on the podcast, I am also hybrid.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah. So I have my little sort of, you know, compendium, or whatever they call it, it's got my little book here that says get shit done yet, on top of it. And this is my list book, you know, there's lists, and I love making a list and I love ticking it off and all that. However, that list can stay there like that for for the whole week. You know? So I like a paper list, it's, it helps me sort of get all my thoughts out on on paper at the night before, that means I wake up the next morning really fresh and things like that. However, if I actually have something that's time sensitive, it's an electronic list. And it's a reminder system on the phone. So if it's time sensitive, you know, it'll say 9am comes up, got a book this person and reply back to that text message, or whatever, and things like that. So things that are time sensitive is electronic, because then I will go well, it's electronic. I know it's time sensitive, I better get that done. Whereas the paper list is a little bit more like, well, if it doesn't get done that day, it doesn't get done that day. It doesn't get done tomorrow. It's not such a bad thing. Yeah, maybe by the end of the week we're in trouble, but it's not the end of the world, whereas the electronic list that I use is definitely like, Ben, you got to get done. Yeah,

Nicole Smith
Yeah, no, that's great. Finding your groove, finding the way it works. So yeah, I know with mine, I do love the brain dumping out onto paper. There's something about that. But all of mine ende up being Clickup, all of it. The daily operations all lives in there. Okay, final question. What would you do if you created more space in your world?

Ben Rashleigh
I'd spend more time with my family.

Nicole Smith
Perfect, beautiful answer. I love that.

Ben Rashleigh
That's it.

Nicole Smith
Yep. It's good. Perfect. We'll get some more organisation, it looks like you're already on the way to doing all of that. So, exciting.

Ben Rashleigh
That's the chef in me. I'm a bit OCD like that. There's a bit of a, bit of a joke everyone's like, how organised is Ben at work? Like, it's like, I have a system and a thing for an a label for everything. And it's just like, you know, being instructors, when not usually, you know, any sort of movement type of educator is usually not the most organised of people. It's not our strength. But the chef in me is sort of driven that me from a very young age. So,

Nicole Smith
Yeah, absolutely. I obviously have not been the chef, but I can imagine, you have to be quite organised in the kitchen. And everyone knows their roles and where the things are living and what needs to go when and getting that out meals out on time. Especially in the level that you were working. So

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah, it's very obsessive compulsive

Nicole Smith
Love it. Well, thank you so much for our conversation today. It's always fabulous and I've definitely taken a lot away with the movement and from my own things, making sure I'm getting up and down doing the things in my space. How can we connect with you? Where are you?

Ben Rashleigh
if you can always connect with me through probably the best email to get me on is ben@alignforlife.com.au which is will go straight to the Pilates studio email for me. So yeah, if you are looking at sort of any of those sorts of things around sort of workplace movement, or even Pilates sessions and things like that, that is a great way to be able to contact me. You can also find me on Instagram @bjrashleigh_pilates_movement. I think it is we'll get that right in the show notes.

Nicole Smith
Yep, we're going to put everything in the show notes.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah. Yeah, that's one thing that's not my strong point is grammar and spelling. And then also the Let Me Take a Selfie podcast as well. You can find me both on Instagram again at its let me take a selfie podcast but there's lots of dashes and dots in there as well. So we'll get that right for the shownotes. And also you can find me on sort of at alignforlife.com.au/melbournepilatescbdpilatesstudio and also at benjaminrashleigh.com.au, which has all the show notes from the Let Me Take a Selfie podcast plus blogs and any information like that as well. Or, you can pick up the phone and ring me. Yeah, as well. Who would have thought.

Nicole Smith
It's so funny, isn't it the whole phone thing like you that was what you used to do. I remember like one of my friends from school, we'd leave school, we'd been talking all day and then she would go to the payphone, which was at the Mentone post office there. My house looked on to that. And we'd be on the phone like talking then she'd get home. And then we call each other again. But now it's kind of a rarity that we actually pick the phone up. It's more face time now.

Ben Rashleigh
Yeah people won't pick the phone up. But you send them a text message and they'll reply straightaway. It's really interesting, the social anxiety about picking up the phone these days. Yeah. It's really incredible. But yeah, I love a phone call. Please read me, you know. And if you spam, please bring me anyway, I'll still have a chat to you. You won't get anywhere with me. But like, you know, I will wish you a very lovely day. Yeah.

Nicole Smith
Amazing. Well, thank you so much. Again, all of those connections. And all the details will be in the show notes. So please pop on over. Listen to the podcast to connect with Ben and remember to move.

Ben Rashleigh
Absolutely movement as medicine.

Nicole Smith
Fabulous. Well, for everyone listening, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day and enjoy creating space and time freedom bye now. Well, there we go. Thank you so much for joining me today. It's been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected on social yet? If not, please come on over say hi, I'm on all the platforms @theartisanssolutions. So I'd really look forward to seeing you over there. And if you enjoy today's episode, don't forget to tag me and I'd love it if you could leave a review. And of course share this with others so others can come and join us next time. Alright, then everyone have a fabulous rest of the week and until next time, see you then.


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