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Me and my health: BBC's Barra Best on his lifestyle

By Helen Carson

The 33-year-old BBC weather presenter lives in north Belfast. He will be taking part in the Belfast Sainsbury's Sport Relief Games on Sunday, March 20, at the Event Village, Custom House Square, from 9am to 1pm.

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

A: I did go the gym quite regularly but my filming schedule for shows such as Walk the Line and others involved 12-hour working days and left me with no time to fit in a work-out. However, I have been getting back into hillwalking and running again, especially now that the weather is improving. My favourite spots are the Cavehill and Divis in Belfast, and I do the odd park run, too.

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

A: I picked up a bad injury last year at the gym when I hurt my neck doing shoulder presses. I pulled a muscle and the pain lasted for days. I was in agony and it became so bad that I wasn't able to sleep at night. In the end I had to have physiotherapy for three months to treat the strain. Eventually it improved, but then I went back to the gym and hurt myself all over again which meant more months of physio. That is another reason why I haven't gone back to the gym.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: It is hard for me to have a healthy diet as I tend to graze all day rather than having a proper meal. I do try to make sure that I get my five pieces of fresh fruit and veg a day but I do admit that when I go out to eat I can't resist tucking into steak and chips.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I do like my coffee. When you have 5am starts like I do, it's hard to imagine being bright and breezy at that time of the morning without caffeine. I don't think I would be able to function without my filter coffee - milk and no sugar. Funnily enough I don't drink coffee at home at all.

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

A: I don't smoke but I do like a drink socially about one or two nights a week or on a special occasion. My tipple is craft beer and myself and my dad Aidan belong to a beer club so we get to sample all sorts. They can be strong, though, so I tend to drink the ones with the least alcohol.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: Occasionally I will take Berocca or Vitamin B drinks.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I love to travel - that is my big passion in life. I've been to North America already this year and will be going on a 20-day trip to South America later this year, taking in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. I am forever torturing people to come away with me somewhere in the world. I'll also be going to the Irish Redheads Convention in Cork again in August - it was such good craic last time round.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I sleep very well ... too well sometimes. When I am working shifts though I have to get up at 5am, but I'm a night owl so I don't go to bed until midnight. Despite this I still get four hours sleep.

When I finish work after an early start I am straight home and in bed by 1pm - I have never had any problem sleeping.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: No, not particularly, though I did when I was younger. Now, when I look at my mum, Cathy, who often joins my friends and I when we are heading out for a few drinks and was in New York with me recently, I can see that age is not really a barrier to enjoying life and doing things. Perhaps if you ask me again when I'm 50 I may have a different answer.

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

A: Being outdoors - whether that is to do some hillwalking in Belfast or the Glens of Antrim. I recently visited The Gobbins in Co Antrim for the first time and it was amazing - you get to see things you've never seen before and you don't have to pay. It is great to be out in the fresh air and get some exercise - mind you I probably had a cream bun and a latte afterwards, therefore undoing all my good work, but at least I was active.

  • Belfast Sainsbury's Sport Relief Games will take place on Sunday, March 20 at Event Village, Custom House Square from 9am-1pm. You can choose to walk or run the Mile, Cycle or Swim. For more details and to sign up visit

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