AFL star Jimmy Bartel talks footy, fashion and fitness

Jimmy Bartel

He’s a Brownlow Medallist, was voted the sexiest man in AFL and credits Pilates with keeping him in shape during the off season. Yes, we’re talking about Jimmy Bartel. We caught up with the inspiring and down to earth Geelong Cats star to chat about everything from training to almond milk and his collaboration with Brando Shoes.

You’ve just fronted a campaign for Brando Shoes alongside Adam Goodes and Beau Ryan called the Brando Collective. How did that come about? And do you have a large shoe collection yourself?

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I’ve done things in the past with Adam Goodes and Beau Ryan and the theme of the Brando Collective was all about sportsmen who lead a healthy lifestyle, but want to dress well too. I actually do have quite a few pairs of shoes for a guy. Obviously, I’ve got a lot of runners and football boots, they start add up and quite a few casual and dress shoes too.

Your wife Nadia, creator of Chronicles of Nadia, is obviously very stylish. So how much influence does she have on your wardrobe? Or do you prefer to choose your own clothes?

I think I’m okay, but like every guy you think you’re okay until you’re standing in front of your missus and she checks out your outfit! But seriously I’d be mad not to seek her advice. She knows a lot more than I do about what looks good. I tend to keep my style pretty basic and I think she wants me to be a bit more out there. She’s a great help when it comes to clothes, maybe just to save her from embarrassment, but she wouldn’t let me leave the house looking silly.

So you said you like to keep things simple. How would you describe your style in general?

Understated is probably the right word for it. Just really good jeans, basic tees and nice shoes.

What about active wear?

I am sponsored by adidas so I’m pretty fortunate that they have some really good gear. I tend to wear a lot of the adidas Originals stuff.

Any healthy food secrets you can share?

I have been converted to almond milk. I was finding I’d get pretty bloated with the amount of milk I was having. So I don’t feel bloated on almond milk.

Do you cook? If so what do you make?

Yes, I do the cooking in the house, which might surprising. It’s all pretty simple, like chicken with salad and veggies. Nothing MasterChef style!

Can you give us a little insight into what sort of training you do off-season?

In my off-season I do a bit of Pilates to take pressure of joints and things like that. During the season and pre-seasons we’re lifting a lot of heavy weights and we’re in footy boots running over 10km a session so it can pretty demanding on your muscles and joints. Pilates for me, gives me a workout and stretch without hitting the gym and putting on a lot of weight. For AFL footballers we’ve got to be big enough but not too heavy so it’s good for that balance. I also like going to the beach for a run then jumping into the surf for a swim. We’ve got some pretty good beaches around Geelong. Being at the beach is also calming and relaxing.

What sort of Pilates do you do?

I do it in a Pilates reformer at KX Pilates. I’m probably about the only guy in a class of 10 women and I’m the one shaking on the reformer! Probably because I’m a lot heavy than them but it’s pretty funny. I find it quite physical and demanding because it’s something I’m not used to.

How do you beat stress?

I think the way I beat stress is to be prepared. When I was playing underage footy my coach told me when you do all that hard work during week the weekend should just be fun. That’s how I approach football. I put in all my hard work in the week. I tick off what I need to improve and arrive game day knowing I couldn’t have done any better. So I go out and enjoy it. I apply that philosophy to things outside of football as well. Be prepared and nothing will blindside you.

Do you have a life motto or saying that resonates with you?

There was a funny one Tom Harley, who was our captain, and I used to say which was “bite off more than you can chew and chew like crazy”. We used to laugh about it but when you really think about it it’s about taking on something you think would be unrealistic and attacking it. If you settle for less, that’s all you’re going to get.

What about grooming products? If we were to look in your bathroom cabinet what would be find?

You would find a L’Oréal moisturiser. I’m always outside and the wind can get quite harsh in Geelong so you get battered a bit. Also, good deodorant and a some hair wax that doesn’t make your hair look crusty. I pretty lucky playing football I don’t have to be clean shaven everyday. I have a good set of clippers and run that over the beard about once a week.

You were voted the sexiest man in AFL. How does the whole sex symbol tag sit with you?

It’s pretty embarrassing and weird. I didn’t know what to say when they told me, I thought it was a joke. I think a few people need their eyes checked to be honest.

Name three things you can’t live without.

Good company, including my partner Nadia and good friends. My dog, Nahla. I love my dog she’s a bullmastiff cross and a bit of a monster. And good ice coffee.

Connect with Jimmy on Instagram @jrb03