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Me and my health: Edel Scanlon discusses her lifestyle


By Helen Carson

The 38-year-old actor, personal trainer and fitness and health instructor at the James Huish Academy of Theatre Arts lives outside Belfast with her fiance Hugh and stepsons, Dylan (15) and Jake (12). She has appeared in The Fall and Game of Thrones and is currently filming a new movie in Belfast.

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

A: Being a personal trainer and coaching the kids at the academy means I exercise regularly. I work out with my clients, so they can follow me, achieve the best techniques and feel supported. I set myself fitness goals too and always try to fit in three HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions and run 20km a week, minimum.

Q: What's the worst illness you've had?

A: When I was 13 I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which was quite a shock. The day the doctor told us, my parents and I were faced with learning about a condition we knew very little about and never associated it with somebody of my age. It was a very worrying time but my mum was amazing in her efforts and understanding of the disease. Now, I'm lucky to not only be free from arthritis but I can run and exercise regularly, which means so much to me.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I have a good nutritious breakfast daily, and at home we all love overnight oats made with protein, almond milk and blueberries. I also love granola with yoghurt and fruit, which I have for breakfast or a midday snack. Between lunch and dinner I snack on healthy fruits and veg so I don't become over hungry and eat the wrong foods. For lunch, I adore poached eggs and sourdough bread with smashed avocado, spinach leaves and sprinkled with sesame seeds and balsamic vinegar. Dinner is always chicken, prawn or salmon-based with veggies and mostly either rice or noodles. I prep my meals whenever I can and do the same for the kids' lunches and my fiance as much as possible. I try to cook every meal from fresh ingredients and avoid as many processed foods and sauces as possible. It's a lot of work but the rewards are worth it.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Coffee and chocolate. I'm currently trying not to have either after 8pm.

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

A: I quit smoking 10 years ago which was one of the best decisions I've ever made. At the weekend, I have a few glasses of wine and I'm partial to the odd cocktail but it's about everything in moderation.

Edel on her first 5k run with celebrity personal trainer Jessie Pavelka

Q: Do you take health supplements?

A: An iron supplement, a probiotic and folic acid.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Socialising with friends and doing the Parkrun with the family at the weekend are my favourite things to do. Time out is important so I'm hoping to take the kids from the JH Academy bouldering; I'm sure they'll enjoy getting outside and trying something different - they can then bring their new found vitality back to class.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Not enough - I need to discipline myself to relax in the evening and get to bed earlier.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: Yes, about the natural decrease in fitness abilities and the reduction in bone density, sadly all part of the ageing process, along with the dreaded reduction in collagen. Having said that, I'm just getting on with it and trying to take care of myself the best I can.

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

A: Water, it's the most important choice for anyone who wants to be healthy. I am always going on about the importance of drinking water and making it a part of your daily life. I love teaching people about the importance of fitness and nutrition.

  • For further information visit or to find out more about Edel follow her on facebook @edelscanlonPT

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