Lesser Spotted Joe Mahon: I balance my six cups of coffee a day with half a dozen oranges

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Joe Mahon, presenter of UTV's Lesser Spotted Journeys

Joe Mahon, presenter of UTV's Lesser Spotted Journeys

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

Unless I'm filming and have to get up at the crack of dawn, I usually wake at about 7.30am, do about 20 press-ups – and then get out of bed...

I stand on the bathroom scales for five seconds of incredulity, then I shower and shave while listening to the news. That takes about 10 minutes. Dressing takes longer because I can never decide which blue shirt, navy jumper and jeans to wear.

I will then head down to the kitchen and wash up last night's dishes, if there are any – usually there are. I always make my wife, Phil, a cup of tea and take it up to her; she takes this for granted now, so no real Brownie points there. I listen to the rest of the news and read some of yesterday's paper while eating, just to prove to myself that I can multi-task.

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

Breakfast? Two soft-boiled eggs with one round of toast – half to eat with the eggs and other half to be smothered in marmalade.

Lunch? If I'm in the office, which I am for about two thirds of my working life, lunch is usually a sandwich or a wrap, occasionally soup. I drink too much coffee every day (about six cups) so I'm trying to cut down.

Evening meal? Dinner is provided by Phil at 7pm or thereabouts and is normally delicious, even though she's a vegetarian – sorry, that should be 'always' delicious. It could be anything from pasta, curry or stew, to liver and bacon, fish or a pie –usually home-cooked and often with a salad unless we're both rushed when then it might be a Chinese carry-out, fish supper or a pizza. My youngest son, Brendan, who still lives at home, is training to be a chef and occasionally makes us some exotic and wonderful concoction.

3. Is nutrition important to you?

I do try to balance things out between protein, fats and carbohydrates. I eat about half a dozen oranges each day, mainly because I like them, but I'm also pretty sure the vitamin C helps to keep colds away.

4. Best meal ever?

My best meal ever is going to be my next Christmas Day dinner. I'm allowed to cook part of the Christmas dinner and I fancy myself as a bit of a wizard in the kitchen on such occasions. The rest of the family indulges me in this delusion – because it's Christmas.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I'm currently going through a phase which involves the eating of vanilla ice-cream if I'm sitting in at night, nearly always followed by a bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes before bedtime. I am receiving counselling for this (Phil) so I expect the phase will only last another five years or so.

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

If I think I really need to lose weight, I simply cut out bread and potatoes (and the butter) and cut out any sugary stuff. I can usually lose half a stone fairly easily, within a month or so.

7. Do you take health supplements?

I take a daily dose of vitamin C, along with one of those drinks that are supposed to give you a mix of essential minerals and vitamins.

8. How do you relax?

Messing about in the garden, playing with my grandchildren, reading or watching TV are the things I find relaxing at home. I also meet up with some long-standing friends at least once a week and we enjoy a few 'jars' together. I'm not very good at doing nothing, but I'm very fortunate in that I enjoy my work immensely.

9. Teetotal or tipple?

I used to drink much more when I was younger. Now, it's no more than a few beers per week and maybe a glass of wine with a meal.

10. Stairs or lift?

I run up and down stairs many times each day, not as a conscious exercise, but simply because I haven't learnt to transfer telephone calls to another handset.

11. Do you have a daily exercise regime?

When I'm not out filming, I spend many hours each day at a computer or in the editing room, so I get up regularly and go walkabout and annoy other people. I'm a member of a local gym and, up until recently, I would try to go three times a week to do a fairly light workout – rowing machine, some weights and a dozen lengths of the swimming pool – but I've been so busy this year that I've rarely had the time. I know this is bad. It's only an excuse. I really must do better.

12. Best tip for everyday fitness?

I'm not the best person to be asking... do something that involves you moving your arms and legs. I find gardening is good – not the fancy stuff, just digging and lifting and weeding and cutting and taking stuff to the recycling dump. If all else fails, go for a walk.

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

I think I'm about a seven.

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

I'm sure there are many good practices, but I haven't the time to explore them.

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

I was a reasonable athlete at school. I was, for a spell, captain of the cross-country B team. That sounds good until you realise that everybody in the A team was a better runner.

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


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

Hmm…don't sweat the small stuff – and it's all small stuff.

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

I look no further than my own children who have, in their various ways, shown dedication, guts and determination to achieve their aims. I think they take after their mother.

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

I find I need less sleep as I get older, in spite of advice to the contrary, so I normally get to bed about midnight. I read for about 10 minutes before nodding off.

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

I have no option but to accept death as a fact of life. I think that's healthy enough. Thank you for reminding me.

:: The last in the current series of UTV's Lesser Spotted Journeys will be broadcast on Wednesday December 13.

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