Member Profile – Tim Olsen – Gallery Owner of Olsen Irwin

Art dealer and gallery owner Tim Olsen is one of Australia’s most recognised and respected art identities. He’s also a long-time Elixr member who has lost a staggering 47kg. Here he shares some insights from his health and wellness journey.

What does a typical day in the life of Tim Olsen look like?
In summer, I run two laps of Bondi in the soft sand, followed by an ocean swim from north Bondi to Icebergs and back, and finish with a 20-minute meditation on the beach. I do this three mornings a week. Then day to day tasks at the gallery vary. They could include hanging an exhibition, visiting an artist’s studio, or greeting an art collector and showing them an exhibition or the stock room. In the evenings I could be attending other art exhibits or board meetings, being on the committees of both the University of New South Wales and the College of Art and Design. My days often require me to visit both private and corporate collections to either value existing work or curate or provide advice for purchasing new work.

What do you love most about your work?
Dealing with beautiful objects and educating people at the same time. While most people see art as decoration, I see the pursuit of art as also being an educational and spiritual endeavor. I also enjoy meeting people from all walks of life.

How did you discover Elixr?
I used to be a member of HealthLands and Richard Chew was someone I felt had a very holistic approach to health and exercise. His staff were also knowledgeable on many levels beyond exercise. So when he created Elixr, with its zen environment and new pool, I found a gym that felt more like a temple than a place to sweat it out.

Which class do you enjoy most and why?
I enjoy the Pilates reformer class immensely because it develops flexibility and core strength, and builds lean muscle which suits my body type. I enjoy Rachel’s class in particular, as she is able to address the room as a group but also provides a sense of individual attention as if she cares about every person in the room.

You lost an incredible 47kg – can you tell us a bit about this journey?
While I was fit and a good athlete when I was younger, by 40 I was a walking time bomb and had lost my self-respect and self-esteem.

My work included much lunching, dining, drinks and gallery openings, and I essentially became a slave to celebration. My body type put me at risk for issues related to insulin or potential diabetes, and the state of my health put an incredible strain on all my organs, particularly my heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys. I also suffered from depression.

One morning I woke up and looked at my beautiful young son and thought to myself that he deserved better. I realised I was letting him down by not being able to be active and present with him, and from that day, his happiness became my driving motivation.

I also came to realise that you can’t think your way into a new life; you can only live yourself into a new way of thinking. I started to become a more positive person that no longer felt sorry for himself. My physical and mental attitude turned me into a person that now embraced life fully.

It took much work (that now seems like an odyssey of learning how to love and respect myself again) that in turn blessed all the people in my life as well. My son finally had a good mentor. Being a great dad is the best. My love for life now permeates everything, from work to family and more.

Do you have any advice to share with other members?
Try and do something every day: find a class or exercise you enjoy and make it part of your weekly routine. Connect with fellow members for motivation. As they say, ‘Fitness is a marathon not a sprint’ and ‘You can’t out-train a bad diet’. There were times when I felt like I was treading water and it was all to do with my diet – I may have been doing the physical work but not following through with a healthy, balanced diet, which impeded my efforts.

What is your favourite way to boost your mood?
Starting the day with exercise gets your dopamine and exhilaration hormones going. Meditation helps you to centre and find some inner peace in the chaos of a technology-obsessed and stressed world. All the wisdom we need to be happy is inside us, if we allow ourselves to stop and get rid of unnecessary, negative thoughts. Daily gratitude and forgiveness are the icing on the cake.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
Anyone who lives a life where they are more interested in what they can give, rather than what they can take. People who can still be kind to you, even when they want nothing from you.

What’s the greatest lesson life has taught you?
To listen more and be present. To live in the moment and not be obsessed with how you expect life to be.