Me and my health: Colin Ross discusses his lifestyle
The 34-year-old champion mountain biker is the only person from Northern Ireland in the sport to win the Irish Downhill, Ulster Enduro and Vitus Enduro championships. He lives in Lisburn with wife Fiona, daughter, Sophie (6) and sons Caleb (4) and Luca (1).
Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so what?
A: My personal and professional life is centred on exercise. I am out on my mountain bike, training at least four days a week. In addition to that, I do circuit training, cross training, and cross country running for conditioning. I also run a mountain biking coaching company under my Roscolines brand, so I'm out on the bike training other people most days. I also run circuit classes a few nights a week, too.
Q: What was your worst illness?
A: Mountain biking is an extreme sport, so I've had a good few crashes over the years. I have broken my wrist, arm, hand, fingers, and foot, dislocated both shoulders and fractured my kneecap. However, the biggest illness challenge I face is the same as most parents. We have three children under seven years old, so they bring home every illness going from school and creche and last year I was out of training for six weeks on three consecutive doses of antibiotics. Like most people who train a lot, I put my body through so much that my immune system can be weakened and a regular cold or virus can floor me.
Q: How healthy is your diet?
A: Very healthy and pretty strict overall. I'm on a gluten-free diet at the moment, so I start the day with gluten-free fibre flakes which I mix with Acti-Snack Fruit, Nut and Seed - my own extra healthy version of Fruit and Fibre. For lunch it is usually something substantial as I could be out training all day, so I will eat a baked potato with tuna, pasta and tuna, or an omelette. Dinner is usually fish or chicken with lots of fresh, colourful vegetables on the plate; I don't eat red meat. At supper time, I always mix fresh berries in with natural yoghurt. When I am out on a trail, I will eat an Acti-Snack bar, usually Fruit, Nut, and Soya, as they are compact and you can easily take a bite as you go - which is important as when you are doing an endurance race as you need to keep your energy up throughout the competition.
Q: Any bad habits?
A: I love a Big Mac meal as a treat. I also love biscuits. However, I am generally very disciplined. I have to be, particularly now that I am a bit older, as I need to keep an eye on my race weight for competitions.
Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?
A: I have never drank or smoked.
Q: Do you take health supplements?
A: I take a black elderberry supplement to strengthen my immune system.
Q: How do you take time out?
A: I love music and I play the guitar to relax. I also just love hanging out with my family, doing regular family things. For example, we will take the kids away for a few days at Halloween and I will be leaving the bike at home.
Q: How well do you sleep?
A: I am not a naturally good sleeper but I work hard at it. When I am training well and eating well, then I sleep really well. However, if I break my routine or eat the wrong foods then my sleep suffers which greatly impacts on my race performance. You need sleep to perform at your best so I focus on having my daytime routine in place so I get a solid nine hours.
Q: Do you worry about getting old?
A: I don't like getting old as it means, at 34 years old, that I am coming to the end of my career. I love the sport as much as ever and I don't want it taken away from me before I am ready to give it up. Having said that, I have had my best wins since turning 30 so it is as much about your head-space and determination as your age - but I do find the recovery takes much longer than it used to.
Q: What is your go-to product or habit that keeps you feeling healthy?
A: Routine keeps me feeling my best. I do the same amount of exercise, eat the same healthy foods and stick to the same sleep pattern then I feel at my best and that allows me to focus on achieving what I want to achieve - in mountain biking and in general life. It may not sound very exciting but I get enough excitement on fast downhill mountain bike trails to more than make up for it.
- Colin Ross, Acti-Snack ambassador and Northern Irish biker, has brought mountain-biking up a gear by winning numerous titles in different disciplines in recent weeks. The Co Down man and king of the mountain, made a flying visit to the Acti-Snack team to celebrate winning the Irish Downhill Championship, Ulster Enduro Championship and Vitus Enduro Championship, something that no Northern Irish biker has achieved before