Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich.
Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Tim Robards launches new diet and fitness business

WE FIRST met him on national television as he started his quest to find true love, one red rose at a time. Since then we've seen his shirtless body in magazines and on billboards promoting men's health and other fitness-related products.

But who really is Tim Robards and what has life been like for Australia's first bachelor after his rise to fame in 2013?

Tim grew up in Newcastle, New South Wales, and is the eldest of three siblings. Back then he had no desire to work in the fitness industry. In fact, he saw himself sitting in a courtroom fighting legal battles and spending his days in an office.

"The earliest memory of what I wanted to be when I was young was a lawyer,” he said.

"Maybe it was the 'you can't handle the truth' scene in a Few Good Men that sparked my interest. Now I'm dating one.”

He is referring to his partner, the 2013 Bachelor Australia winner Anna Heinrich, who was a criminal lawyer before going on the show.

Although Tim was interested in sport as a young boy and was always pretty fit and healthy, he did not know he wanted a career in the fitness industry until his mother was diagnosed with a mystery disease.

"My mum was diagnosed not long after my little brother was born, which made her bedridden and suffer from seizures. At that time in my life I was really curious about health and I think seeing my mum go through all of these health issues just got me really interested, especially in preventative health.”

In Tim's last few years of school, the interest in the health industry grew into a passion for working out and trying to maintain that perfect balanced diet.

"I was trying to get on to the school footy team so I wanted to go up a few sizes,” he said.

"I was learning how to train and eat properly, which led me to pursue personal training as soon as I graduated from high school. I actually did a physics degree in Newcastle and I did personal training on the side but at one point there I just didn't want to be in a white lab coat all my life so I moved to Sydney and did my masters in chiropractic.”

Tim worked as a chiropractor for about seven years before trying his luck at finding love on Australia's first series of The Bachelor. The then 31-year-old was approached by producers of the show.

"I kept putting it off but my mates eventually talked me into it and I just thought I would give it a go,” he said with a laugh.

"It was a once in a lifetime thing. I was lucky, though, Anna was in there and it all worked out well for me. I never thought about going on it, I saw the American version a few times but I always thought to myself, how would I go if I put myself in that situation? I was really lucky that I met Anna.”

But meeting Anna wasn't the only thing Tim gained from being on the show. After his stint on national television, he said he had a lot more confidence to try new things and broaden his business opportunities.

"I felt empowered after the show and during the Bachelor. I'd really been put out of my comfort zone and I just felt like after that experience I had a lot more confidence in myself and in trying new things,” he said.

And it's this new-found confidence, post reality TV, which led to Tim launching his own fitness app, The Tim Robards Method. The program is based on callisthenics, which are exercises involving a range of gross motor movements that are often repetitive and usually done without equipment.

The Tim Robards Method aims to bring exercise and fitness workouts outside of the gyms and into the outdoors, while following Tim's diet formula.

"Exercise is the biggest preventative for any lifestyle disease that we know so if people get that right and then the basic nutrition people can better themselves. I really try to practice what I preach and show that it's easy to live a balanced life,” he said.

Tim, 34, said he came up with TRM to provide people with a simple, affordable and convenient approach to living a healthy lifestyle.

"I've joined up with the NBN because technology and the internet have made it easier for people to start their health and fitness journeys,” he said.

"Everything I do in my life revolves around helping people so I have a real passion for trying to improve people's lives. In the clinic I can sort of only help one person at a time but at the end of the day I want to make people healthier. Exercise and nutrition can sometimes be the underlying cause of my clients' pain and unease.”

As an ambassador for men's health, this month's Movember means a lot to Tim. He said it was important for men to not only be physically healthy but mentally healthy too.

"Men generally grow up playing a lot of sport and then they start to lose interest or get busy with work or families and exercise starts to move down the priority list. That's when they start to put on a little weight, possibly develop lifestyle diabetes and might not feel as good about themselves as they did before,” he said.

"We all need good nourishing food and movement and one thing I kind of urge men to look at is the environment they're in. Are they in an office every day then go home to watch TV for the rest of the night? It's super important in today's world for men to balance out their stressful busy lives.

"Like they say on a plane, you have to fit your own mask first before anyone else's and I think men sometimes forget that.

"Usually in their 20s men are full of testosterone and it's more about how they look, but then in their 30s it becomes more about how they feel physically and mentally.

"Women definitely are more in touch with mindset and being open about body image whereas guys aren't so open about body image.

"It's not something you'd hear from a guy so I think that's something we can improve on and I'm trying to set an example of the importance of feeling good over looking good. Most of the guys I see around the gym who are ripped and posing in the mirror are the most insecure, so having the best body won't make you happy and it's not the be all and end all.

"I think one area we need to improve on is the way men's health is portrayed. When I think about what I see online for men there's a lot more stuff aimed at appearance and aesthetics, you know, how to get a six-pack and so on, rather than how to become a healthy man, not just physically but mentally too.”

Research conducted by the NBN, in which more than 1000 Aussies were surveyed, indicated that 53% would use the internet to help improve their training techniques, research nutrition and map their fitness progress. The research also found two-thirds of (62%) preferred to exercise in their living room than in the gym, with 95% admitting they trained at home because it was free and 94% because it was convenient.

Dr Betul Sekendiz, a lecturer in exercise and sport management at CQUniversity, said the rise of home fitness was not a recent phenomenon and that time-poor Aussies were still finding time in their busy schedules for gym workouts.

"The most recent report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a continued increase in use of fitness facilities and gyms over the last decade, despite a general decrease in participation in sport and physical recreation,” Dr Sekendiz said.

"Fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry that has been fast evolving in line with the technological developments such as smart fitness equipment, wearable fitness trackers and online smart device apps for personal gym or home workouts, which makes perfect sense in our fast-paced society as people are finding it more and more difficult to find the space and time to keep physically active or exercise.

"Home workouts is not a new phenomenon in the fitness industry, as baby boomers would remember. Jane Fonda and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the pioneers in the development of workout videos for personal use in the '70s. However, technology and the internet have undoubtedly made it much easier and more convenient for us to watch these kind of videos.”

Dr Sekendiz, who has worked in the exercise and sports management industry for 15 years, said there were pros and cons to conducting workouts away from the gym.

"The biggest advantage can be described as convenience, with the ease of access to information at a very low or nil cost. I also know of many people finding more motivation to exercise by watching the how-to videos,” he said.

"While convenience may be the main reason why many people prefer exercising at home, it can also be much easier to get distracted at home. That can prevent us from having an efficient workout.

"When something is too convenient and readily available it can also lose its value or desirability. How many of us have that one piece of fitness equipment at home that only got used once or twice before it got shifted under the bed to be never used again?”

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