Life

20 Questions: Superbike champ and Sports Personality of the Year contender Jonathan Rea

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Three-times World Superbike Champion, Jonathan Rea

Motorcycle racer Jonathan Rea – racing is physically challenging, so you need to be extremely fit
Gail Bell

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

I usually get up with the kids at around 7.30am most days. I'm really lucky as my wife, Tatia, does most of the family chores, but I love cooking. I tend to make breakfast for us all which normally consists of eggs of some sort, sometimes with avocado and toast.

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

Breakfast? I love eggs on toast and would have this after I've had some yoghurt with berries.

Lunch? If I'm not on the road I tend to try and eat as healthy as possible, so lunch is usually a salad with a sandwich or wrap. If I am travelling, it's normally a case of whatever I can get my hands on... which is reasonably nutritious.

Evening meal? I'm a typical 'meat and two veg' man. You can't beat a nice piece of meat with a plate of vegetables and a few spuds.

3. Is nutrition important to you?

A balanced diet is very important to me, but the older I get, I've learned not to hammer myself about diets. I've done quite a few in my time, but I find now that it's more about enjoying what you are eating. With that in mind, I'd say, if you want to have a burger, have a burger, or if you want an ice cream, have the ice cream. My opinion is, if it's all done in moderation, I don’t see why not.

4. Best meal ever?

You can't beat good old steak and chips.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Yes, I do – and it's always those little Lindt Lindor chocolate balls... I could eat one now just thinking about them.

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

Yes, I have been on diets and they don't really work for me, mainly because I love my food so much. I've had nutritionists and personal trainers work with me and they say what I can and can't eat and it mentally damages me – more than physically helping me perform.

7. Do you take health supplements?

Yes – I usually take supplements like fish oil capsules and Vitamin D tablets; it just depends what time of the year it is. I'm monitored very closely by my doctors so they understand what my blood is doing and make sure I get the vitamins I need throughout the season.

8. How do you relax?

Once we get the kids to bed and settled there is nothing better than relaxing with a glass of wine alongside Tatia and watching a TV series or box set, when we get the chance. It's good to just chill sometimes and switch off, although it can be difficult. My phone never stops.

9. Teetotal or tipple?

The odd tipple does no harm...

10. Stairs or lift?

That depends on how many stairs – and how quickly I need to get to where I' going!

11. Do you have a daily exercise regime?

Yes, although this very much varies, depending on what part of the season we are in, but normally it consists of gym work and cycling. Like most sports, we have to be very disciplined when it comes to exercise and racing itself is physically challenging, so you need to be extremely fit, especially when negotiating bends on the track, lap after lap.

12. Best tip for everyday fitness?

Find an actual exercise or sport that you really enjoy, then it won't feel like you are working out.

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

I would say I am about a nine, but I always strive for a 10. Travelling, different scheduling and previous injuries can sometimes prevent perfection.

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

I don't currently practise any alternative therapy, but I do try and get into a certain frame of mind before a race and really focus my concentration mentally on the job in hand.

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

I didn't really enjoy school sports because I'm a motorcyclist, but I did do some rugby which I quite liked.

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

No, but I broke my femur bone in my leg 13 years ago and it changed my determination to succeed, as the doctors told me I'd never race again.

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

Drink plenty of water and get a lot of sleep.

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

I try to carve my own way, to be honest, because you shouldn't measure yourself against others.

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

I go to bed at around 10pm most evenings. I like to aim for nine-and-a-half or 10 hours sleep

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

Yes, I feel that the buck stops with us. What we put inside our bodies will either help us or damage us. If we try to eat relatively good nutritious food and reflect this in our lifestyles by being as active as we can, then we should live a long and healthy life.

:: Jonathan Rea, from Ballyclare, Co Antrim, is a contender in this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year competition. The winner will be announced at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, on Sunday December 17.

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