Tim Robards’ Valuable Lessons For Locked Down & Out Australians

"With so many stressors out there, especially at the moment, it can be easy for our thoughts to manifest into bigger issues within our bodies, and it may inhibit our ability to perform at our best."

Australia may finally have some light at the end of a long, dark and treacherous tunnel, with the government announcing a roadmap out of lockdown, which even includes the possibility of international travel just in time for Christmas.

But until such a time comes around (if it even does at all), we’ve still got to do as much as we can to look after our fitness, mental health, and overall wellbeing. Some areas of Australia have found themselves fortunate enough to have restrictions in their area eased, which has certainly offered some respite, allowing people to meet up with others, to exercise outdoors or at the gym, and even just go out for dinner.

The same can’t be said of everyone, however, and for these people, sticking to an effective routine at home is still more prevalent than ever. Always wanting to offer as much insight and inspiration as possible, DMARGE has been reaching out to various high-profile fitness professionals to find out what they do to keep themselves motivated and healthy at home.

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We recently spoke with Medibank Live Better at Home program ambassador, chiropractor and founder of The Robards Method, Tim Robards, to find out what he gets up to at home and how he’s surviving the lockdown.

Tim starts by telling us that he’s found the extra time afforded to him to be invaluable, saying “I’ve really been embracing the opportunity to try to mix up exercises and my routine. In particular, I’ve been focusing a lot on improving my mobility and strength through length-type training.”

“I’ve also been working on knee strengthening at home, as well as yoga, weights in the garage, running and outdoor workouts wherever I can.”

He adds that he enjoys following specific routines: “at home I’ve been working through some power yoga and gentle mobility routines, which I access through the free Medibank Live Better at Home program. The mobility routines are ones I’ve created after years of refinement and I’ve found to be the most effective exercises in my chiro clinic.”

“To enhance my at-home routine, I’ve also invested in a set of adjustable dumbbells. These have been a godsend and a great addition to my at-home setup while the gyms are closed. I love that Anna and I can workout together, indoors and outdoors. I can be lifting 40kg dumbbells while she can be lifting 10s, 20s, or 30s. It’s great!”

Tim’s Top Tips For Working Out At Home

  1. Keep your workouts simple – It can be difficult to stay motivated when there are too many obstacles between you and exercise (such as space or a setup that requires time and effort). Establish a routine that works for you, make it easy to follow.
  2. Switch up different styles of training – Exercise can feel hard during those first few weeks if you’re new to working out or have had time off, but it makes it extra difficult if the program isn’t enjoyable. It’s important to explore different styles of training. In Medibank’s Live Better at Home program, I follow a range of at-home workouts, mobility guides, yoga, mindfulness and cooking demos.
  3. Set yourself up for success through planning – Preparing the night before is a great habit to get into. I suggest putting your workout clothes at the end of the bed before you go to sleep, so that you’re reminded the next morning.
  4. Alter your mindset to see opportunity – Even though it can be difficult, try to look at the current situation as an opportunity for your workout routine, rather than an obstacle. I recommend trying to view this time at home as a chance to explore new workouts, give some areas of your body a rest, or challenge other parts that may have been neglected.

Check Out Tim Robards’ Essential Shoulder Warm Up In The Video Below

So that’s how Tim takes care of his physical health, what about his mental health? As we’ve previously heard from Agoga founder John Field, many people are seeing keeping fit as a means to look after their mental health, with many choosing to partake of personal training services “for that mental engament too. You’ve got somewhere to go that’s not your backyard or balcony or loungeroom.”

“You actually get the opportunity to walk to a destination to speak to someone else.

Tim says, “At the moment there’s so much uncertainty and fear consuming us. We’re used to encountering these feelings in everyday life, but right now they can seem set on overdrive.”

“When things go wrong, I like to look for the opportunity in a challenge. I try to ask myself, am I being resistant to change, or can I adapt to these surroundings?”

“With this mindset I try to live in a world of translation, rather than loss or gain.”

“In the same way you work on your physical fitness, good habits are essential for positive mental wellbeing. Just making a little time for yourself daily is probably the simplest action you can take. Whether that’s a workout, some meditation, cooking, reading or just listening to music.”

One of the avenues Tim likes to pursue to keep on top of his mental health is meditation. We’ve regaled on several occasions the benefits meditation can bring, not only to help you relax, but to help you cope better with stress. DMARGE has previously spoken with meditation teacher Luke McLeod on the subject of meditation and resilience, with him saying,

“Resilience isn’t about being tough or having thick skin. It’s more about having a level of self-awareness of not letting stressful moments/experiences ‘get to you.”

“Most stressed people don’t take the time needed to do self-inquisitive exercises to realise how stressed they are, they’re ‘too busy’, to do that. Which is so ironic, because that is exactly why they are so stressed.”

Tim also sees meditation as important practice to incorporate into your everyday life, “[it] can come in many different forms. For some, simply going for a walk outside and quietening your mind can be a form of meditation.”

“For others, it’s listening to a guided meditation, or relaxing in the bath with cucumber over your eyes. Being able to quieten your mind is a healthy practice for your whole body, as the mind has such an effect on our functioning.

“With so many stressors out there, especially at the moment, it can be easy for our thoughts to manifest into bigger issues within our bodies, and it may inhibit our ability to perform at our best.”

“Whether that’s being the best father we can be, the best partner, or the best boss or coworker – meditation can be a helpful tool in controlling our mental clarity and keeping us functioning at our peak.”

“For myself, I like to have fresh air or position myself near a window to hear those subtle sounds of the outdoors. This setup works better for me rather than a dark room with zero sound.”

“When meditating, I don’t mind acknowledging the varying sounds coming from outside, but I choose to not give too much energy to them. Tying meditation into another daily ritual can also really help, like meditating when making your morning coffee or just after your brush your teeth, for example.”

Tim’s Top Tips For Meditating

  1. Shift your focus – Many people focus their attention on having zero thoughts whilst meditating, which can be difficult. I would focus on quietening the mind, having awareness of the thoughts coming through and observing them in a non-judgemental way.
  2. Try transcend meditation – I would recommend transcend mediation as a great style for everyone. It involves repeating a word or mantra slowly in your mind to help guide your thoughts. This practice helps to steer yourself back to meditative thinking.
  3. Start small – Be honest with what goals are realistic to you, whether that be a one-minute meditation, or 20-minute meditation. Meditation is most effective when practised consistently, so set expectations that work best for you. Even a 5-minute meditation can be really beneficial and make a positive difference to your health.

Even if you just take a few of these tips and tidbits of advice onboard, make sure to practice them regularly. It’s no easy task starting up a new habit, but once you get into the swing of things, you’ll soon start to see change.

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