Former all-Ireland boxing champ Carla Wright: Thursday was my favourite day

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Carla Wright, personal trainer at Olympia Leisure Centre in Belfast, ex-all-Ireland boxing champ and weightlifting record breaker

Carla Wright, former Irish boxing champ
Gail Bell

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

My morning routine is getting up some time between 5am and 7:30am, having a black coffee and then walking my three mad dogs (sometimes, I think they walk me). When I get back to the house, I will make some breakfast before starting work between 7am and 10am with clients.

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

Breakfast? I try to eat at least four meals a day in order to be consistent and avoid getting too hungry as hunger can lead to to unhealthy choices, so breakfast for me will usually be a combination of protein and good fats to start the day off. That means either bacon and avocado or a three-egg omelette.

Lunch? My go-to lunch option is salmon and vegetables.

Dinner? For dinner, I prefer either a good steak with sweet potatoes, or a prawn curry and rice. I always include a good portion of vegetables with either choice.

3 Is nutrition important to you?

Yes, I am definitely a foodie and believe nutrition is very important. To stay in good shape and be healthy, a good, balanced diet consisting of protein, fats and carbs, is vital, as well as cultivating a habit of eating a variety of foods. I believe in healthy snacks, too, and I tend to snack on things like a protein shake, nuts or rice cakes during the day. Also, from experience as a personal trainer, I find that one of the major things people forget about is water. You should aim to drink between two and three litres each day.

4 Best meal ever?

My best meal ever would be 'surf n' turf as I just adore the steak and prawns combo.

5 Do you have a guilty pleasure?

That would definitely be pizza after a long day in the gym. It is the only thing that motivates me to complete a good leg workout.

6 Have you ever been on a diet and if so, how did it go?

Yes, I've been on a diet – when I was in training as a boxer, I had to maintain a certain weight, so dieting was essential. The only diet I have tried is carb cycling to cut weight for boxing and it most definitely works. For that reason, I loved Thursdays which were my high carb day.

7 Do you take health supplements?

Yes, I take vitamin D3 and a multivitamin every morning.

8 How do you relax?

By spending time with my crazy dogs or going out for a lovely dinner with my wife.

9 Teetotal or tipple?

I do like to have a small tipple, on occasion. Red wine is my favourite one, or a sneaky Scotch once in a blue moon.

10 Stairs or lift?

I always take the stairs but the only reason for that is because I am afraid of lifts...

11 Do you have a daily exercise regime?

Yes – as a personal trainer, it’s important that I exercise daily for my clients. It’s also something I love to do and I could never imagine not training regularly. I try to train at least four times a week and I aim for a good mix of workouts that are based on weight training and also on cardio. A good cardio session for me would be boxing or mixed martial arts.

12 Best tip for everyday fitness?

Create a good habit and get into a proper routine – that means you are more likely to keep going. Whether it's going to the gym on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday or even walking the dogs every day at a certain time, it's a discipline. Just do something that you enjoy and do it nearly every day.

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

I am probably at a seven right now and am just getting back into a good routine after Christmas. I’m putting together a new plan and I should be back up to a 10 in no time.

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

This year I am going to introduce hot yoga. I would normally have a sauna and steam daily to help me recover, but I’m going it mix it up a bit this year and challenge my body a bit more.

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

I loved sports in school; it was the only subject I liked. I packed my PE kit every single day.

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

I have always been interested in sports from my school days, so I was always health-conscious and aware of its importance. In recent years, I have grown to understand the benefits of nutrition more and how central that is to health and fitness – and how you can create a healthy lifestyle through food.

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

I think it is being accountable... everyone should be accountable for their own goals.

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

I have a long list of You Tubers who I watch regularly and who inspire me every day and help motivate me.

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

I always aim to go to bed around 11pm and try and have around six hours sleep, minimum.

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

Yes, I think I do. I believe it’s important for everyone to look after their physical and mental wellbeing through food and physical activity. If you find something you enjoy, you will establish a routine quickly and develop a healthy attitude to living your best.

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