Balancing the Grind with Travis Boak, AFL Player & STRONG Pilates Ambassador

Travis Boak is an illustrious AFL player for the Port Adelaide Football Club. With over 300 games under his belt, Travis’ leadership, tenacity, and exceptional skills continue to inspire both his teammates and fans alike – particularly his life perspective of being a “human being first and an athlete second.”

In line with International Men’s Health Week, Travis was announced as an ambassador of Australian-founded fitness franchise, STRONG Pilates, co-founded by Michael Ramsey and Mark Armstrong. Through STRONG, he will share his general wellbeing tips on what makes him strong in life to support others in creating a balanced lifestyle.

Can you share with us your professional journey in a nutshell?

I left home at 18 and moved interstate to Adelaide, not knowing much about the city. I grew up pretty quickly, making my debut and playing in a Grand Final in my first year to then playing in no finals for the next six years. I became captain of Port Adelaide in 2013 for six years, then played my best footy post captaincy in 2019 until now. It’s been a journey of ups and downs, with tough times and a lot of lessons, but also a lot of fun and hard work. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me would be to wake up around 7am, jump in the pool for a quick cold plunge, have oats for breaky and then head to the club for a meeting, followed by training prep to get the body right for training. This includes a couple of hours on the track, then some lunch before a gym session and education/craft to round out the day before coming home for dinner. I’d usually head to bed around 9:30, but before that take an ice bath and sauna or salt bath to relax.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

I think the simplest way to maintain work-life balance is to really understand who you are as a person before what you do, that way you can enjoy what you do just as it is and not tie your worth to it. That way you can balance your life out and understand that the moment you leave work you can switch off as it’s not who you are. 

Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

First and foremost, I was able to detach my worth from who I am, which enabled me to do the things I enjoyed outside of footy because I wasn’t so worn out from the stress of showing up all the time. Acceptance of all things you can’t control is crucial in this as well. 

Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or materials that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

Anything by Brené Brown has been so amazing for me. I have learnt so much from her work. Daring Greatly is my favourite. 

Do you have any words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share?

Do you! We probably hear this a lot but what does it actually mean? A lot of us don’t know because we don’t really know who we are, so we start to become these ‘human doings’ and tie our worth to what we do. 

Really delve into who you are, how do you want to show up? What do you like to do? 

The human being always comes first, the athlete (doing) second. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.