Life

Health Q&A: I saw myself on TV once and went on an immediate diet

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Belfast actor Michael Condron

Belfast actor, Michael Condron, who is currently appearing in new BBC comedy Soft Border Patrol

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

I'm a really poor morning person – in a grumpy way, which isn't good. Generally, I get up in bad form, shower in bad form, get the bus in bad form.... but then I'm a delight the rest of the day.

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

Breakfast? I'm not a good breakfast person; I'm rather a lazy one, in fact. So, in my grumpy form, I'll smash some convenience food for breakfast – any sort of cereal will do.

Lunch? Lunch is a more pleasant affair, so that will be any yellow-stickered item from a high street store.

Dinner? Probably a Wagon Wheel.

3. Is nutrition important to you?

See above.

4. Best meal ever?

My best memory of a best meal has to be munching on a steak on top of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. It was unreal food with an unreal view.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Something generally only becomes a guilty pleasure with me if I'm trying to quit it. I would say any form of cheese. I love cheese.

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

I saw myself on television once and went on an immediate diet. I lost two stone, so seeing yourself on TV is a great diet plan. It wasn't the camera adding two stone either. I blame the cheese and Wagon Wheels.

7. Do you take health supplements?

Someone told me nectar was the elixir of life, so I supplement that by drinking beer. It's tough, but someone has to do it. My body is a temple.

8. How do you relax?

I'm pretty much a sports nut, so anything to do with sport makes me relax, although I watch more than I play these days. From time-to-time, though, a good booting match in five-a-side football crops up and that's always fun. I also have my pilot's licence, so anything to do with aviation always interests me and I love climbing into the cockpit and taking to the air.

9. Teetotal or tipple?

Definitely tipple – I'm writing this at the airport on my way home from a holiday in Lanzarote with my girlfriend, Lucy, and we have been on a sort of on a non-stop tipple since we got here.

10. Stairs or lift?

Due to the previous answer, it has to be the lift – at least, when we were on holiday, when stairs became impossible and even dangerous. I will say, though, that the majority of the time I'll take the stairs. Every little helps.

11. Do you have a daily exercise regime?

I walk every day for at least an hour. A lot of the time, my days are free, so I walk into town, have a coffee and then walk back. It's exercise with a nice coffee in the middle.

12. Best tip for everyday fitness?

It's a standard one, but just do some exercise, even if it's just for a short time. I read once that Bear Grylls said everyone should commit themselves to just starting and allowing themselves the option to quit after five minutes – most of the time, he finds people will continue on, so my tip is: try for at least five minutes and see what happens after that.

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

At the minute, after a holiday, I've gone down to a three. During our time away, we did cycle eight miles one day and played tennis the next – then had seven beers.

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

I'm all for alternative therapy, to be honest. Sometimes, just getting your head away from the everyday worries is worth it. I don't attend classes or anything, though it's crossed my mind to do so. I suppose I should try five minutes at least...

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

I loved school sports and I ran the 100m for Annadale Striders as a kid, as well as playing football every Saturday. A school report once read: "If Michael tried as hard at his academic work as he does at rounders, he'd be a genius."

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

Seeing myself on TV that time and believing it was the camera adding a few extra pounds – I was just out of shape. That was like an epiphany which made me want to change.

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

Give it five minutes, as Bear Grylls says. I regularly do six minutes of exercise now.

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

I watched the actor Hugh Jackman talking about finishing his time on the film Wolverine, and his delight at being able to pig out after working so hard to keep fit – which he had to do for the part. That sort of dedication inspires me as an actor and his attitude definitely made a big impact on me.

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

On week nights, I'll say around 11pm and, yes, I get enough sleep. If you're talking weekends, though, that's a whole different story and I couldn't tell ya. Time means nothing then.

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

I try to enjoy every moment, as you never know what's around the corner. On that note, I'm away for a glass of beer before my flight home.

:: Michael is currently appearing in new BBC comedy Soft Border Patrol, which airs on BBC1 NI Fridays, 10.35pm, and is available on the BBC iPlayer.

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