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'I don't worry about getting old and live my life day-to-day'

Claire Murdock

By Helen Carson

The 26-year-old body builder, who also works for Ulster Ceramics in Swatragh, will take part in the British Championships (National Association of Body Builders and Physical Culture Association) on Saturday. She lives in Ahoghill

Do you take regular exercise - and if so what?

I train two nights a week and every Sunday for two hours at a time. Each night I work on different muscle groups such as shoulders and triceps, chest and biceps. Most of the time is spent lifting weights with some stretching.

I work on cardio in the morning and before I go to bed at night, which would be the equivalent of a 25-minute run outdoors as I don't like the treadmill. My partner Paul Stewart (Mr Universe 2015) and I also take our dogs - Tia, a Doberman, and Kai, a Rhodesian Ridgeback - out for two-hour walks.

What's the worst illness you've had?

About six years ago before I started body building I began to take seizures. I had eight over a two-year period and a doctor said I had epilepsy and prescribed medication for me and said I couldn't drive. I refused to accept the diagnosis and did my own research when I discovered the energy drinks I was taking could be a trigger. I stopped drinking them and haven't had a seizure since. It was the best thing I've ever done for my health.

How healthy is your diet?

Breakfast is always cereal such as All Bran or Special K with almond soya yogurt and fresh fruit - strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Lunch is usually steak, a burger or chicken with egg and rice or potato, a meaty sandwich or sometimes a burger and fruit.

For dinner I have a large portion of steak, chicken, burger or sometimes fish with vegetables and mashed potatoes, wedges or pasta. For a diet week I will gradually reduce carbs and cut some things out completely. The carb portion size gets less over weeks with more protein.

This week I'm down to zero carbs for five days pre-show so I'm living on steak, chicken, boiled egg whites, some green veg and drinking four litres of water a day.

Any bad habits?

I do drink a lot of coffee but caffeine doesn't seem to affect me too much. As I have a few more days to go before the competition final I'm not allowed any cheat meals at the minute, but when I can it's usually a pizza or a Chinese takeaway.

Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?

I used to smoke but stopped a year ago when I met Paul who is a non-smoker. I started when I was at school although it would rarely be more than 10 cigarettes a day. I rarely drink alcohol, maybe about two to three times a year, maybe at Christmas or at a party. I like something sweet so maybe a fruit flavoured cider or a cocktail... I'm nearly always the designated driver.

How do you take time out?

Paul and I enjoy going to the cinema regularly usually to see an action film... anything with Vin Diesel in it.

Do you take any health supplements?

I take supplements for my joints such as glucosamine and cod liver oil as well as protein powders and amino acid powders to help my recovery after a long training session.

How well do you sleep?

Usually quite well... I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I'm working full-time at the minute as I am trying to set up my own pottery business.

I did a degree in ceramics and make decorative pots in my spare time when I'm not training and body building.

Do you worry about getting old?

No, I don't. I try not to think about it and live my life day-to-day.

What it your go-to product or habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

Eating fruit. I love all kinds...strawberries, raspberries, mango, pineapple.

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