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Me and my health: Former boxer Paddy Barnes on his lifestyle


Boxing clever: Paddy Barne

Boxing clever: Paddy Barne

With his wife Mairi

With his wife Mairi

Boxing clever: Paddy Barne

The 33-year-old former boxer and two-time Olympic bronze medallist, from north Belfast, has launched a new podcast, Paddycast, on which he will be interviewing sportspeople. He retired from boxing in November and is now a club development officer with Ulster Boxing. He is married to Mairi (32) and has two daughters, Eireann (5) and Fianna (3)

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

After my last fight, I haven't really been training much. Every Wednesday I have a circuit going and I try and run as much as I can, 5k or 10k - I love running. I live basically in Glengormley but my Ma and Da live in Cliftonville, so I run down there once a week and that's 9k. With lockdown, it's harder working from home because I'm juggling work and kids. It's hard to keep motivated as well, but the kids are missing their friends and school so their wellbeing is more important than mine at the moment. Mairi and I both work from home as well and it's hard to do both at the same time. Mairi is doing more homeschooling than me. It's a nightmare with phonics - I've always been away at training camps and it's hard to get to grips with it.

I bought a bike from one of my mates there so I'm cycling as well, but I'm really not a cyclist. I'm cycling on the footpath, then I'm on the road - I don't know whether I'm allowed on the road because it's a mountain bike.

What is the worst illness you've had?

Probably my worst ever illness was food poisoning - I got it from a restaurant in Belfast. It's like the flu times 10. I've had food poisoning four times in my life. I remember having food poisoning when I was about eight and I thought I was going to die. I would definitely class myself as a serious hypochondriac!

How healthy is your diet?

It's not healthy one bit. For my breakfast I would have a Cadbury's Caramel and an Egg McMuffin on the way to work - I have to have it - and everybody at work just looks at me. At lunch I try to have soup and a salad, but the salad would be full of sauces so it wouldn't be that healthy either. My wife would cook dinner for me and that is generally healthy, so at least I get some healthy food in the day. I did boxing for 20-odd years and I was watching my weight - I'm only recently retired and I'm in that wee time window where I feel I can eat what I want.

Any bad habits?

I don't think so. Definitely not. I'd be lying if I said I had bad habits - I don't think I do.

Do you drink and smoke/ if so how much?

I don't smoke, but I do drink. As soon as I heard about the lockdown I was straight down to the off licence to buy two cases of Harp to make sure I was stocked up. (I didn't really care about the food!) I've never smoked - no one in my family smoked except my Ma.

Do you take any supplements?

I take calcium tablets because I'm on the osteoporosis scale. My nutritionist got my bloods and bone density tested. The bone density goes from normal to osteoporosis and I'm on the verge - I think they call it osteopenia. I don't take multivitamins - and never have - because being part of a sport that is subject to doping tests, if you take multivitamins, even from Tesco, you are at risk. Plus I think you get all the nutrients and everything you need through just eating proper food.

How do you take time out?

I go out with friends drinking in Belfast, enjoying myself and having a good time - probably in Kelly's Cellars or the Cathedral Quarter. With my family, we're normally out basically every weekend. I take the kids to the swimmers or Cave Hill or the cinema. There's never a weekend where we are in the house, we're always at the park or the cinema. I always make sure they're occupied and enjoying themselves.


With his wife Mairi

With his wife Mairi

With his wife Mairi

How well do you sleep?

I sleep brilliantly. I would go to bed at 11pm and as soon as I close my eyes I can hear my wife shouting at me for snoring. The three-year-old sometimes comes in at 5am and she slaps me and goes, "Daddy, stop snoring!" But it's not my fault!

Do you worry about getting old?

No. I try to live in the moment. I never worry about the future, or about anything, never mind about getting old. Sometimes I wish the kids were older during the terrible twos and threes - it's the worst in the world.

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

Every morning I get up and I have a probiotic drink - Actimel. I remember in camp they were telling me to have it for my gut, so first thing I open the fridge and get that down my neck. That's my healthy deed done for the day.

Paddy's new YouTube podcast, Paddycast, features interviews with Carl Frampton, Joe Gormley and Darren Till and he will be interviewing golfer Shane Lowry this Saturday. For links, follow him on Instagram at @Paddy_bronze or on Twitter at @paddyb_ireland

Belfast Telegraph