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Cinemagic chief answers 20 questions on health and fitness

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Joan Burney Keatings, CEO of Northern Ireland children and young people's cinema festival Cinemagic

Cinemagic's Joan Burney Keatings is starting production on a feature film – called Grace and Goliath – "so there isn't much time to relax at the moment"
Gail Bell

1. Up and at it what is your morning routine?

Morning times in our house are busy, trying to get our two little girls out for school. Sadly, I do admit the first thing I always check is my phone, to see what emails have come in over night. We are usually all up and having breakfast by 8am and then it is a matter of packing lunches, checking school bags for each of the kids' activities, meetings for the day and trying to get everyone into the car and off to school.

2. What might you eat in a typical working day for...

Breakfast? My breakfast is usually yoghurt and fruit or cereal – to be honest, it is usually the first thing at hand. I do try and take multivitamins every day and I try to avoid coffee.

Lunch? Lunch is usually at my desk in the office and is normally a salad or a sandwich and usually about five cups of tea. I drink far too much tea.

Evening meal? Dinner varies every evening, as dinners tend to fit around my work schedule and the children's activities. We usually try to eat chicken and fish at least once a week, while Sunday is our best day for a family roast and proper quality time together.

3. Is nutrition important to you?

I do try to make sure I eat fruit and vegetables and that the family have a balanced diet. Again, not every day is the same, but I do try to be organised to ensure the family have a balanced diet.

4. Best meal ever?

My favourite is always my mum's chicken roast dinner and my husband Jonny is also a great cook. I was away with work over Valentine's night this year, so at the weekend Jonny cooked a fabulous five-course meal with lots of different fishes and sauces which was beautiful.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I have a sweet tooth, so my mum's homemade apple crumble and banoffee pie are always a weakness. If it is a Saturday night spent watching TV, my guilty pleasure is a cheese board with lots of tasty chutney.

6. Have you ever been on a diet? If so, how did it go?

Ha, ha, yes, but I have very little willpower so they don’t tend to last too long. I really think I need to be in the right frame of mind and not super-busy to try and diet, so it's about trying to find the right time so I can be focused.

7. Do you take health supplements?

Yes, multivitamins, but I also go for reflexology once a month to an incredible lady called Sandra Daly and I really feel this also helps with energy and relaxation.

8. How do you relax?

To relax, I love big coastal walks and, as mentioned, a massage once a month. We are about to start filming a feature film so there isn't much time to relax at the moment.

9. Teetotal or tipple?

Tipple – I take a glass of wine with dinner.

10. Stairs or lift?

To be honest, probably the lift but I do try and consciously think to take the stairs – it depends where I am and how big a rush I am I in.

11. Do you have a daily exercise regime?

It was hard to get motivated to go to boot camps on dark winter mornings but now I aim to train and do more exercise. Cinemagic is always very busy, with so many different film projects, educational and outreach events, so I am always 'on the go' anyway. We are producing our second feature film this month, so running about on set will count as exercise.

12. Best tip for everyday fitness?

Be in the best possible frame of mind, not stressed, and find a gym or personal trainer you enjoy going to, at times that work in with your personal and family schedule. I guess the secret is being disciplined and sticking to it.

13. On a scale of one to 10, how fit do you think you are; how fit would you like to be?

To be honest, I would say only about a six at the moment, but I hope to be about an eight by the end of summer. At least that's the plan...

14. Have you tried, or would you try, alternative therapy?

Yes, I would definitely try alternative therapy – I find massage therapy helps, and reflexology, as I mentioned.

15. Were school sports happy times, or do you have a memory you would rather forget?

I loved hockey, tennis and sports days, but I was never too good at cross country.

16. Did you ever have a health epiphany which made you change your lifestyle?

Five years ago I did get fit, I stopped drinking alcohol for two years and was really conscious to sleep more and eat really well. I felt the best I have ever felt and I had so much energy. I plan to do that again.

17. Best health advice you were ever given and would pass on to others?

I really think lots of sleep and water are the most important things to help you function on a daily basis. I am very keen to ensure our children have a sensible attitude to food and balance overall, as opposed to diets.

18. Who would you try to emulate in terms of fitness / attitude to life?

In terms of attitude to life, I have always had a very positive, a can-do attitude and this definitely comes from my parents and has helped me with so many situations in my career. Our two little girls have the same 'get up and go' and it is funny watching them, knowing where it comes from.

19. What time do you get to bed normally and do you think you get enough sleep?

I'm normally sleeping by 11pm and awake by 7.30pm.

20. Would you say you have a healthy attitude towards your own


I have very strong faith, so I don’t have a fear of dying. It’s the thought of one day saying goodbye to the people I love that makes me sad, but not of dying.

:: For more on Cinemagic see cinemagic.org.uk


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