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Me and my health: Gavin Carroll discusses his lifestyle

By Helen Carson

The 41-year-old, who lives in Belfast, is general manager of The Merchant Hotel in the city.

Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so what? 

A: During the summer months I prefer to get outdoors and go for walks with groups of friends to places like Strangford, The Mournes and Donegal. When the winter months come in - usually about October or November - I don't like going straight home after work, so I'll hit the hotel's gym, where I do cardio and weight lifting about three times a week. I will also work out with the personal trainers, too, who have so much advice on nutrition.

Q: What's been the worst illness you have had?

A: Fortunately I've never had any serious illnesses ... touch wood it stays that way.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: Outside work it's pretty good, especially in the summer months, as I grow my own vegetables and fruit in my garden, so there's no shortage of fresh stuff. My job means that eating healthy all of the time is difficult as I have to attend wine and menu tastings which may sound like heaven, but when you're sampling your 10th macaroon or tasting your 150th wine - it's not so nice.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I have recently switched to decaffeinated coffee as I was drinking so much at meetings, and it was affecting me later in the day, when I would suffer from a buzzing. Now I have a coffee in the morning then drink decaf for the rest of the day.

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke?

A: I have never smoked, but I do drink both red and white wine occasionally, and Prosecco any day. It's about moderation, although, I probably drink more than I should. Nowadays, it isn't that much, as I get hungover which I didn't get when I was younger. When I'm out socially, I will drink water in between the rounds.

Q: Do you take any supplements?

A: I take Omega 369 everyday, glucosamine and chondroitin which is supposed to be good for your joints. My father suffered with arthritis, that's why I take it. If it keeps something at bay then I think it's worth it.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: In the garden. I spend a lot of time in my garden after work, where I grow potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, peas and fruit such as strawberries, blackberries and rhubarb. It is the perfect place to shirk off the day's pressures - the instant I go out into the garden I immediately feel relaxed, I can completely switch off.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Very well, I have always been very lucky that way. I could count on one hand the number of times I couldn't sleep. I go to bed when I'm tired, not before. I sleep particularly well after a gym session, as it is a good way to release any energy, then you are ready for bed.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: No, as there is nothing you can do about it. When I turned 40 it felt like a big landmark and I knew I had to start looking after myself more. How I look after myself now will reflect on my health when I'm older.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: The garden without a doubt. It's good for my health, not just the physical work but the time spent pottering around in the garden is good for my mentality as well. Whether I am outside weeding, deadheading flowers or planting seeds for a new crop of fruit or veg, it is that work in the garden which brings balance into my life, especially after a long day at work. Even just being outdoors and being able to enjoy the long evenings.

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