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My Healthy Life: Aisling Coppinger

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The founder of Dublin cycling Mecca Wheelworx, Aisling Coppinger, on how to kickstart the new year with a healthy routine.

ARE YOU HAPPIEST IN THE MORNING, AFTERNOON OR EVENING? I’m a morning person! I’m most productive then. I like to get training done early and have some time to figure out the day, before work.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD? I was a sickly child, and my parents used to hide my medication in white food – mashed potato, vanilla ice cream, creamed rice, etc. So for years, I wouldn’t eat white food because I always suspected something was up with it!

WHEN DID YOU EMBRACE EXERCISE IN YOUR LIFE? I took up running in my thirties. It changed everything – my outlook, my perspective on what’s possible, my attitude to people and life.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO WORKOUT? Default workout is always: Just run. Don’t overthink it. One foot in front of the other.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST EXERCISE FOR YOUR WHOLE BODY? For me, it’s running. It requires no thinking. Just simple clothing, a pair of comfortable runners, and you’re good to go.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TRICKS TO HELP YOUR MUSCLES RECOVER? Warm baths help with the really sore days, and eating cleanly will help your system from the inside out.

NAME THREE THINGS IN YOUR GYM BAG? The largest items are pull buoy and fins for swimming, but I’ll go nowhere without a bottle of good conditioner!

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO HEALTHY RECIPE? Egg salad with tonnes of olives and chorizo. Simple and fast.

GREATEST INDULGENCE? Lashings of really good ice cream!

WHEN DINING OUT, HOW DO YOU MAKE HEALTHIER CHOICES? I generally eat what I want when I go out, but if I’m training a lot the next day, it usually affects my choices in a good way.

WHAT DO YOU EAT DURING A TYPICAL DAY? I rarely eat breakfast, or at least not until after I train. Scrambled eggs and bacon after swimming is a must. Lunch is usually chicken or tuna salad, and dinner can be any kind of meat with tonnes of vegetables. I keep dinner simple, but generally, it’ll be fish or pork with lots of colourful vegetables.

DO YOU TAKE ANY VITAMINS OR SUPPLEMENTS? Never. I try to get all I need from food.

ICYMI: My Healthy Life: Indy Power

YOUR TOP TIP ON HOW TO BE NATURALLY HEALTHY AND HAPPY? Find something you like doing, whether it’s walking, running, cycling, and find people to do it with. Join a club or a group and try to make it a regular habit. Once it becomes a habit and there are set times for whatever activity it is, it’ll be a lot easier to do it on days you don’t really want to. Set goals, set a personal best target, and move towards it. Get the whole family involved. Look at the long-term effects of being healthy.

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR MOST INFLUENTIAL TEACHER IN LEADING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE? John Belton of No 17 Personal Training; the team in there have always been a huge influence – very committed, and they know their stuff!

ADVICE FOR STAYING HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELLING? I carry my own food when going on long journeys – big Tupperware dishes of salad with lots of meat, eggs and cheese. I try and stay in apartments where I can prepare my own dishes, especially if I’m racing. I won’t risk anything experimental before a big event!

ANYTHING NEW YOU PLAN TO INCORPORATE IN 2017? I’m going to try to do a lot more events for fun, with less pressure. Just for the pure joy of it.

CORE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE STARTING ON A HEALTHY REGIME? Start with a realistic goal that is small, and just start. Something is better than nothing. Find something you can fit into your life, and make it part of a routine. Plan your meals well in advance and you are less likely to fail.

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