Food is the glorious creation that keeps every living organism on this sphere kicking. Somewhere along the line though it became less of a nutritional necessity and more of a past time amongst Insta-foodies and glutton fiends.
Washboard abs, meet sugar, carbs and his best mate, fat. With so many temptations hiding around every corner it can be difficult for people to keep in shape in these days, but not impossible. Alongside regular training, a muscle building mission also demands a close eye on what goes into the gut.
We hit up one of Australia’s fittest bodies to find out exactly what he does (and doesn’t) eat to achieve and maintain the the physique of the classic hunter-gatherer. You’ll be surprised – the dieting part isn’t as hardcore as you think.
Mindset Comes First
Whilst Tim Robards is renowned for his rippling abs and notable guns splashed across television screens, it’s off camera that he reveals how important a balanced diet is in achieving his signature physique.
Robards focuses on the intrinsic aspects of a healthy mind to achieve his healthy body. In simpler terms, that means he doesn’t diet and go through extreme cutting phases like most fads out there.
“I don’t do things to look a certain way even though I do like to look good. It’s a mixture of feeling good and looking good to be at my best all the time.”
According to Robards, having an athlete’s mindset is the most important thing to inherit as men age.
“An athlete doesn’t do things just to look a certain way. They do things when they want performance out of their body, whether it’s performance in the office or performance to lift.
There are clear do’s and don’ts when it comes to setting up a proper mindset before food prep.
- Make it about short term goals like getting ripped for summer then letting yourself go in winter
- Overcomplicate things when it comes to measuring intake right down to the gram (like protein intake)
- Focus on eating real wholesome foods that come straight from nature as much as possible
- Stick to natural foods as the more of this you eat, the less room there is for discretionary things like junk food
Food Prep & Intake
Balance is something Robards prides himself on and this flows on from his TRM 7-2-1 nutrition plan which correlates to consuming 70% super clean foods, 20% sensible foods and 10%of whatever your stomach desires at all times.
Robards is currently partaking in intermittent fasting where he only consumes within an 8-hour window everyday. This is what his daily food consumption looks like.
12-1pm: First meal of the day
“Breakfast doesn’t need to mean it’s in the morning. All it means is you’re breaking your fast. We all fast when we sleep.”
- Bulletproof coffee with alternating milk from plant based milk to macadamia to soy to normal milk
- Robards also adds butter or brain octane oil (MCT oil) to it occasionally
- Various cafe foods but usually a breakfast bowl with greens, vegetables, cemented vegetables, quinoa or different types of grains
- Alternatives include salmon, poached eggs, sour dough bread and avocado
“Some days if I’m feeling it, I’ll break the fasting. I’m not super strict.”
- Drink lots of water, eat nuts during the day supplemented with a bit of fruit
Late afternoon: Second meal of the day
“Sometimes I go two meals a day and that’s it.”
- Chicken salad
Evening: Last meal of the day
“I’m trying to have more fish these days. There is an overthinking of needing to have so much protein in our diet from meat. I’m looking for other protein sources now like tofu.”
- More fish, salad, vegetables
- If eating out, opt for the 20% ‘sensible food’ category and go for a nice tasting pasta
Supper: A sometimes dessert
“If I’m out at a restaurant I’ll usually share the dessert.”
- Bit of yogurt or fruit
Portion Sizing & Food Variations
Robards has a simple method to control his food portions. By simply using his hands, he can determine how much food intake is enough.
- Vegetable intake is measured by placing two open hands together like you’re holding a bowl; that’s how much salads I try and get in
- Protein is about the size and thickness of my palm – that’s most meals under the steak, tofu and eggs category
- Fat is measured using the three finger trick. If you put your three fingers together, that’s your allowable fat intake
Food variations are also acceptable under Robards’s personal diet.
- The 7-2-1 food guide states that 70% is clean wholefood straight from nature whilst 20% is sensible food – traditional processed food like bread
- If Robards wants something like spaghetti bolognese, he’ll halve the pasta, add zucchini and vegetables on the side to turn a meat and pasta dish into a more sensible meal
- When it comes to the 10% relaxed food, if there’s birthday cake Robards is eating it
“The hard part is getting 70% of that whole food from nature – that doesn’t happen most times and a lot of people don’t get that. They’ll be lucky to get 10% or 20%,” explains Robards.
He avoids foods like:
- Most seed oils like canola and sunflower seed as they are cheaper, inferior and create bad cells that break down and oxidise quicker to age you quicker
He limits but doesn’t rule out foods like:
- Sugars, refined foods, processed food
What About The Bodybuilder’s Diet?
Robards isn’t a personal fan of the bodybuilder’s diet.
“What I find with bodybuilders is their diet goes up and down because their philosophy isn’t right,” he says.
“Once you lose that drive, and it’s usually an ego drive, you’ve done your competition, you fatten up again. It’s not a consistent driver.”
Results & Timing
Robards is an advocate of creating healthy habits for the long term rather than getting ripped for the short term.
If someone is looking to see a rapid shift in their body shape though, he suggests treating the 70% portion of his 7-2-1 program as a detox phase rather than a weight loss silver bullet.
It’s extremely hard as you’ll be eating super clean wholesome natural foods for 100% of the time rather than the 70%, but the results should show if you’re committed.
“Do the 70% for a month straight – go hard. You’re just detoxifying all the processed crap out of your diet that doesn’t come naturally.”
“If you’ve been eating a lot of crap, and change something, something will shift.”
“The 7-2-1 food guide is a hell of a lot more sustainable for most people. You can do that for the rest of your life.”