Life

Kerri Quinn: I was a size 12 and my sister was a size six, so she used to do her nut when I stretched something on her

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Belfast theatre and television actress Kerri Quinn, most recently seen on TV screens with Christopher Eccelston in BBC drama Come Home

North Belfast actress Kerri Quinn Picture: Ann McManus

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

My morning routine consists of hitting the snooze button several times... When I do waken up, I will have a quick wee browse on Facebook and Twitter. Once my daughter, Libby, has decided what she wants for breakfast, I will get that organised for her and then get her ready for school. After I drop her off, I work out for an hour at HIIT Locker in Belfast.

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

Breakfast? I'm not a big eater in the morning, so my breakfast consists of coffee.

Lunch? Lunch will be something light like a salad.

Evening meal? I always have a good dinner in the evening; I love spicy food, so my main meal of the day might be a curry of some sort, or fajitas, which are right up my street.

3. Is nutrition important to you?

Yes – if I don't look after myself, my skin suffers and my energy levels drop. I'm 35 and I need to keep on top of things – not getting any younger, as they say. Staying in shape is important to me, especially in my line of work, so nutrition has to be important.

4. Best meal ever?

The best meal I ever had was in Ox restaurant in Belfast city centre. It was the taster menu and I have to say it was superb; food and service at its very best.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Wine and cheese. I love a nibble while in my jammies...

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

Yes, I went on a diet many years ago because I needed to. I had started singing in a girl group and I didn't feel good in my skin. I cut out a lot of junk and walked a lot. The result was I dropped from a size 12 to a size eight and I've maintained a size six-eight ever since.

7. Do you take health supplements?

I take vitamins and also milk thistle.

8. How do you relax?

I like to relax with either friends or family, usually watching a movie and eating a pizza. My daughter is always a part of my 'down' time. She loves her cuddles – and, for me, there is no better way to relax than spending time with her.

9. Teetotal or tipple?

Tipple – I drink rum if I'm out for the night and red wine with meals and nights in.

10. Stairs or lift?

The stairs, wherever and whenever possible.

11. Do you have a daily exercise regime?

Yes, I work out every morning and I do circuit training, weights and boxing. I train four times a week in a place called HIIT Locker. I've also taken up boxing on a Tuesday evening in Union Street which I've found extremely difficult, but I feel amazing afterwards – although, I couldn't even take my underwear off after my first session.

12. Best tip for everyday fitness?

I would say, drink lots of water. In the past, I've become very weak and light-headed during morning workouts because I can't eat in the morning, so plenty of water keeps me hydrated and keeps me going.

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

I'd say I'm a seven, on a good day, an eight. Some days I shock myself how much I can lift as I'm not a big girl. Generally, I'd say I'm as fit as I've ever been. I feel strong and I'm happy with my shape.

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

I've an open mind when it comes to therapy. Everyone is different. I know people who received acupuncture to help them conceive and the results were unreal, so I do believe alternative therapies can work. I've never needed it, myself, but that's not to say I wouldn't in the future.

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

Sports day was fun for me; I was competitive as a kid. I was always picked for the team but, truth be told, I was more interested in role playing in the corner or making up songs. I definitely should have suggested being a cheerleader for the sports-day events.

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

I didn't have an epiphany as such, but the time I felt out of shape and went on a diet was a sort of epiphany – not fitting into clothes you want to wear is soul-destroying. I was a size 12 and my sister was a size six, so she used to do her nut when I stretched something on her. Looking back, I can't blame her, but at the time I thought she was a drama queen.

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

Get fit for yourself and only yourself – and don't do it because you think it's the perfect image that today's society expects.

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

Lots of people inspire me for different reasons. I love seeing all the runners on a Saturday and Sunday morning in the area near where I live and I also gain inspiration from the people who attend my fitness class.

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

During the week, I'll normally get to bed around 8.30pm or nine o'clock. At the weekends, bedtime is late because I sing in The Cabaret Supper Club so I'd say it might be 2am on those evenings.

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

Yes, I do because I'm a mum. I want to be the best I can be for her – it's all about Libby. She is my world.

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