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Me & my health: Radio Ulster presenter Vinny Hurrell

By Helen Carson

Published 26/01/2016

Furry friends: Vinny Hurrell with his dogs Teenie and Thor
Furry friends: Vinny Hurrell with his dogs Teenie and Thor

The 33-year-old Radio Ulster presenter lives in north Belfast. He hosts his own topical late-night show, which covers real-life problems.

Do you take regular exercise - and if so, what?

I go to the gym four to five times a week, as well as a personal trainer once or twice a week. I mostly do weight training and when I see the personal trainer it's also to do weights, but it's more intense. When it's just me in the gym, I think I'm easier on myself, a personal trainer definitely spurs me on. I joined the gym, which is just opposite the BBC in Ormeau Avenue, a month after I started working on the Nolan Show and have been going there for several years now. I bring my gym kit with me every day in case I get the chance to go.

What's been the worst illness you have had?

I broke my ankle when I was at school, aged 15, and it was pretty tough trying to get around the corridors on crutches with school bags. Apart from that, I've been very lucky with my health.

How healthy is your diet?

Currently, I am trying out a bulking diet which is rich in carbs and protein. Previously I had been a clean eater, which meant lots of fruit and vegetables, then I saw myself on a show which had been taped and I looked like a little boy, I was so skinny. Now, the food I eat will build muscle as a result of my diet and the amount of training I'm doing.

Any bad habits?

I drink a lot of coffee - up to six cups a day and a couple of cups of tea at night. I am an Americano or filter coffee man - I like my coffee quite plain - and tend to opt for decaff tea at night. We weren't allowed sugar in tea or on cornflakes when I was growing up, so I don't take it. If someone put sugar in coffee I literally wouldn't be able to drink it. I never skip breakfast and always start the day with porridge or boiled eggs. Another bad habit of mine, though, is that I am constantly snacking on nuts throughout the day.

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

I like to drink Jack Daniels or bourbon whisky, but only at the weekend. Usually I have a drink at home and only really go out for events or special occasions like birthdays - going to the cinema is a big night out for me. I can't bear hangovers anymore; when I was younger I could get over them in half a day, now it's days.

Do you take any supplements?

Unsweetened protein shakes are part of my routine in the morning after training. I did try the pre-workout protein drinks once, but they tend to contain a lot of caffeine which ended up making me feel jittery. Occasionally I will have a protein bar, but they can be very expensive. I eat a lot of peanut butter, because it is great at getting protein into your diet.

How do you take time out?

There is a sauna and steam room at the gym, so either are great to just sit in and relax. The heat also helps muscles, so that they are not quite so stiff after training. Travelling is a great love of mine and last year I spent a few weeks in Thailand and Cambodia. There are so many great places in the world which you can travel to direct from Dublin now. I'm heading off again in a few months for a family get-together in Lanzarote.

How well do you sleep?

Although I have no problems in getting off to sleep, I do tend to wake up quite a lot in the early hours of the morning. Very often I will wake up because I am worrying about something to do with the show. I also sleepwalk and have woken up in the back yard at 3am, and on another occasion I tried to get into my wardrobe. As I have two dogs: a pug, Thor and toy poodle, Teenie, I usually let them outside very early in the morning to go to the loo, so I think that's how I ended up in the back yard. For the programme once, my sleep was recorded for a week so there was a lot of talking, whispering and snoring going on - not all on the one night. That was also the time we heard me trying to get into the wardrobe.

Do you worry about getting old?

I really struggled with turning 30, so I suppose I do worry about it. And I know I'll be the same about becoming 40. I am becoming more aware now of my own mortality and although we are all supposed to be living longer, there have been several deaths, not just high profile people like David Bowie, but in my own family, too. That's why I am thinking about it. It's such a cliche, but I am now making plans to do the things I want to, rather than just think about it. None of us knows what is around the corner.

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

When I finish my work-out at the gym, whether I've worked as hard as I should have or not, I know that I have made an effort to be healthy.

The Vinny Hurrell Show is on BBC Radio Ulster on Monday nights from 10.10pm

Belfast Telegraph

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