So, your new year health resolution was off to a flying start (undoubtedly spurred along by the 6-day food coma preceding it), all Xmas leftovers and snacks on the Naughty Shelf had been given the (Nutri) bullet and you’ve been chia-seeding and white egg-omeletting like a maniac. But it’s the second week now… things are returning to normal, you’re back to work, back to old habits and ahem, suddenly find yourself glancing longingly at the Elegant Rabbit that has somehow made its way on to the supermarket shelves already.. Huh?!
Conspiracy theories aside, how do those smug buggers that trot past you in the morning in their active wear (‘active wear’), looking damn happy as they hold their conversation, thermo water bottle and heart rate simultaneously, manage to stick with it?
I caught up with 3 of those smug buggers in West Leederville recently – let’s call them arguably the Fittest Blokes in the ‘Hood – to get a better understanding of the secret to converting exercise-apathy vinegar into the sweet nectar from the fitness Gods. Over the next few weeks I’ll let you in on some of the insights from these very accomplished, very mad, but very motivated individuals…
Let’s start with Peter “Robbo” Robertson – effectively triathlon royalty – who finished his ITU (International Triathlon Union) career with three World Titles, two World Championship silver medals, a Commonwealth Games bronze medal, and two Olympic appearances. He is Australia’s most successful Olympic distance triathlete in history, winner of the AIS (Aus. Institute of Sport) Athlete of the Year in 2005 and in 2015 was inducted in to the ITU Hall of Fame.
These days he runs a successful coaching and mentoring business and is well on his way to becoming a ninja warrior in his spare time 😊 He also happens to be a lovely guy, committed husband and Dad to a gorgeous little boy. Robbo and I caught up to chat recently during his 14m old’s nap time…
EC: Let’s face it, it takes a special kind of glutton for punishment to achieve at the level you have -what drives you to get there, and then do it again and again?
PR: Not so much gluttonous, as passionate…You need to find something you enjoy doing, and remember the endorphin rush! That’s the strange and surprising thing about exercise, the massive high that comes with it. Starting is the hardest part of whatever you do – even at the highest level, each session can be difficult and not every session will be rewarding, it’s about setting those short-term goals and to keep re-evaluating them. Sometimes just finishing a session can be a buzz, or maybe it’s a specific milestone you achieve in that session. Be flexible and stay interested.
EC: The rest of us have all used the excuses…had to work late/ weather was no good/developed a sudden case of can’t-be-bothered-itis…so now that you’re a retired athlete but still a working Dad, how do you fit exercise into your day and stick with it?
PR: Having people to meet up with will always be a big motivator, and having something you’re working towards will keep you coming back. Mix it up to ensure you’re doing something – as long as you’re keeping active that’s the main thing. There are lots of benefits that can come from a variation in the plan, like a hike instead of a bike ride. Ensuring you’ve allocated the time amongst your other commitments will also ensure you’ve less chance of skipping a session – we have a nanny for a couple of hours a week and some grandparent assistance to ensure both our (Robbo’s wife works fulltime also) work schedules and exercise commitments are kept manageable. It’s about the long-term goal focus and structuring your commitments and priorities accordingly.
EC: As a resident of West Leederville, we’ll often see you out and about around the ‘hood – why is 6007 such a great area for the fitness minded?
PR: West Leederville is great, very central to sporting facilities like pools, parks, the beach, proximity to bike paths…Lake Monger is a big drawcard, including the public use exercise equipment. I recently participated in the True Grit event with the guys from Myrtle Ivy Café and we used the public equipment at the Lake (Monger) to do our training – it was a great experience and ties into the previous question as well – the commitment and belonging for what was a non-competitive event was great. Within the group we had differing levels of ability but were able to maximise the convenience of the area to train and pull together to complete the event successfully – there’s a lot of enjoyment that can come from seeing other peoples’ achievements!
EC: All makes a lot of sense! Ok, so as a final word, do you have any parting advice or any New Year’s resolutions of your own you’d like to share?
PR: (PR chuckles at this) Getting a bit more active myself! I’m not really training anymore for events but technically just “exercising”. I’m enjoying the Ninja Academy at the moment and would like to spend some more time there this year – good for obstacle course-based exercise and classes, focusing on a more functional type of exercise, essentially using your body well. Coming from a triathlon background, it’s a totally different style of exercising for me – we triathletes tend not to be very flexible! Only 10 mins away in Innaloo so that’s definitely on the cards.
Hear more about Peter:
*Stay in touch for more ‘thinspiration’ in Parts 2 and 3 coming soon!