Una Healy: I don't understand people who say they don't like tea
From The Eurovision to The Saturdays to fashion design, radio and being a mother, Irish singer and TV presenter Una Healy has had a busy time of it. She tells Liz Connor about her daily routines
UNA Healy rose to fame as one fifth of chart-topping girl band The Saturdays, but these days she's enjoying a slower pace of life as a mum-of-two.
Alongside family life with kids Aoife Belle and Tadhg John, and new beau David Breen, the Thurles, Co Tipperary-born singer and one-time judge on The Voice Of Ireland continues to work on solo material, has launched her own shoe collection and presents a weekly show on Country Hits Radio.
As a self-confessed gym addict, super-sporty Healy, who sang backing vocals for Brian Kennedy in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, says her health and fitness are a big priority for her at 37. We spoke to the star about how she stays healthy and happy.
What's your exercise routine like at the moment?
"I try to do something every day. I've really gotten really into fitness in the last year. I hate starting the day without exercise now, but I will give myself a Sunday off sometimes.
"I do a lot of road running, usually around 5K and then I do gym classes too, like Body Pump, Body Combat and Spin. There's virtual Spin at my gym which is really fun!
"I also do lots of weights and I try to keep the cardio going alongside strength and conditioning. I walk away in my mind feeling healthier and better. It's so good for the endorphins."
What motivates you to work out on days when you're not feeling 100 per cent?
"You have to keep going really. You can easily get lazy but I find the more you do it, the more you want to do it.
"I know how happy it makes me feel when I work out so I'd rather have that feeling all day.
"I never used to have so much of a sweet tooth, I was always one to say that I don't like chocolate, but now that I've been exercising so much I'll give myself a little treat like a biscuit or a chocolate bar every other day. Maybe I need the sugar a little bit more because I'm exercising."
You took part recently in an epic 30-hour 'Dance Beats' danceathon at Wembley Stadium with Tesco Extra, to raise money for charity. How did you find the dancing?
"We all learned a choreographed routine which helped, but it was just about getting out there and having fun with it. I personally love to keep fit, it's very important to me, so I was dancing for as long as I could.
"It's such a wonderful way to bring so many people together for such a great way to raise money for some worthy causes [Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK.]"
What's a typical day's food for you?
"I just eat a good, balanced diet. In the morning I love porridge because it's slow-release energy and keeps me going in the gym. I take an Actimel [probiotic drink] too which is good for your gut.
"For lunch I'll just have a nice bowl of soup, a sandwich or a salad now that it's getting hot.
"I'm a bit of a 'meat and two veg' kind of person, so I'm not on any kind of vegan or vegetarian diet. I still eat meat – but not too much of it. I'll have days where I eat vegan or veggie.
"I am lucky that I don't have a massive sweet tooth, but I love a cup of tea with a bar of chocolate in the evening when I'm watching TV."
What are your tips for coping with stress?
"Exercise is definitely a stress reliever for me – it makes you feel so good about yourself. You feel healthy, strong and like you can take things on physically and mentally.
"Having a bit of 'me time' is so important, even if it's watching your favourite TV programme or the routine of having your nails done. Making sure you give yourself little treats helps, because sometimes you can forget.
"I love a cup of tea; I find that really relaxing. I don't understand people who say they don't like tea."
Is sleep a big priority for you?
"Definitely. I never feel right if I haven't had enough sleep at night. I listen to classical music sometimes before I go to sleep because it's really calming.
"I try and get six to eight hours sleep every night. I'd love to get eight but sometimes I don't. My two kids are great with sleep now though. They're at an age where they don't get up too early and they sleep through the night."
How has life changed for you since being in The Saturdays?
"Oh gosh, life in general just changes all the time, doesn't it? Not just because I'm not in the group anymore, but because my whole life has changed a lot in the last year even.
"So much can happen in five years, and so little can happen. That's why I hate when anyone asks the question, 'Where do you see yourself in five years?' because you never have any idea. A day can change your life.
"You just have to expect that. You can only take one day at a time and you can't relive your past. You have to just keep positive as much as you can, take it as it comes and enjoy it."