Life

20 Questions on Health & Fitness: Singer and theatre director Peter Corry

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Northern Ireland singer and theatre director, Peter Corry

Peter Corry, Northern Ireland singer and theatre director

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

I need a strong cup of coffee before I can function and once that's in my system, I'm fine. Usually, I switch on the radio to see what's happening in the world and then I jump in the shower. Once breakfast is done, I will check my phone for emails, messages and all the rest.

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

Breakfast is a varied thing: some mornings nothing, some mornings toast and cereal – and, if I'm feeling sorry for myself, a fry. When I'm away from home or out for breakfast, I try to go for something that I can't make myself, like Eggs Florentine. If I'm on tour, that's not always possible, but thankfully I'm not a fussy eater, so I can always find something to eat.

Lunch? Could be anything, really, but if I'm at home on Saturdays, I'll call round to my parents' for lunch, for what I call my 'comfort food' – the meals I grew up with.

Dinner? Food-wise, I'm not a creature of habit, apart from the fact that dinner is usually eaten late in the evening. If I'm working on a show, whether in the office or in rehearsal, I tend to work late, so food is my way to relax. I enjoy cooking and a year or so ago, I cut out meat for a while, not to become a vegetarian or anything, but I just felt I was relying on meat too much. I started using more seasoning and herbs, as well as vegetables, and I eat more fish and shellfish now, so a typical dinner would involve any mix of the above.

3. Is nutrition important to you?

Not really, as long as I'm sensible and eat in moderation, I feel I'm doing OK.

4. Best meal ever?

I love eating out, but I can't remember one that stands out above all others. However, if you asked me what I'd like as my perfect three-course meal, I'd go for burrata cheese which is absolutely gorgeous, lobster and scallops in garlic (with any vegetable) as my main and panna cotta for desert. Apart from panna cotta, I don't usually like desserts in restaurants, as I'm more of a tapioca or custard type of guy.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Yes, frozen Milka chocolate with a cup of tea

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

Years ago, I went on what was my own idea of a diet, which probably wasn't the right way to do it, but it worked for me. I had a banana for breakfast, didn't eat all day, or until I could go no longer without food, then I'd have a proper meal. As I said, it worked, but I'm guessing it shouldn't be tried at home.

7. Do you take health supplements?

No.

8. How do you relax?

With food, wine and a good laugh.

9. Teetotal or tipple?

Just answered that...

10. Stairs or lift?

The lift.

11. Do you have a daily exercise regime?

I took up tennis a few years ago and was really enjoying it, but about six months ago, I developed tennis elbow and it hasn't gone away. I have started stretching in the morning because if I'm working hard, or under pressure, it tends to come out in the way of lower back pain and stretching helps ease that.

12. Best tip for everyday fitness?

Stretch.

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 a good solid seven. Obviously, I'd like to be closer to 10, but it's not always easy to find the time or inclination to exercise.

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

I haven't tried it, but I would if I felt it might help with an illness.

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

I loved hockey and football and was OK at both, although I was no star at either. Rugby was a game I tried to avoid at all costs; I always seemed to end up at the bottom of a mound of bodies which looked more like something out of a battle scene from Game of Thrones. In primary school, I had a teacher who scared the life out of me – she also happened to be the teacher who took the swimming class at Templemore Baths (which were quite Dickensian themselves). Add that to the fact that one of the first films I ever saw in the cinema was Jaws and it's no surprise that I wasn't a keen swimmer.

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

I'm still waiting for that one.

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

Stretch and laugh.

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

If you asked me to pick an individual, I'd say Dame Mary Peters. Her achievements on the track speak for themselves but the energy and obvious joy of life she has is infectious. I think a positive attitude and enjoyment goes a long way to keeping us fit. I work a lot with young people in my role as artistic director of the Belfast School of Performing Arts and the students keep my attitude fresh. Being around young people is a great way to stay positive, fit and on your toes.

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

No fixed time, really – it depends if I'm working late or not.

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

Now, there's a cheery thought... Well, put it like this, I'm not looking forward to it, but, like everyone else, there's no avoiding it. I suppose I realise more and more that the important thing is to live life the best you can, enjoy yourself and hopefully find happiness along the way.

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