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Me and my health: Jim 'The King' Brown - The hip-swivelling I do on stage as Elvis gives me sore joints

 

By Helen Carson

The 49-year-old, one of Northern Ireland's best known Elvis impersonators, lives in Newtownabbey with his wife, Anne-Marie. They have five grown-up children, Denise, James, Patrick, Megan and Robert and four grandchildren.

Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

I try to get to the gym three times a week where I do cardio, weight lifting and core exercises - but because of my schedule I don't always get there that often. I lift light weights because I don't want to bulk up - it's more about keeping myself lean as I'm nearly 50. I am also very active on stage doing all those Elvis moves. Myself and my drummer wore calorie counters one night and each of us burned up 1,200 calories a night on stage. I lost weight after four nights of shows.

What's the worst illness you've had?

Shingles, when I was 13. My mother thought I was dying because I didn't eat anything for two weeks. I was in pain and felt nauseous with it and had a rash on my head and neck and couldn't keep food down. I thought I was dying, too. I literally couldn't do anything.

How healthy is your diet?

Breakfast is usually a bowl of porridge with a glass of fruit juice or I will have poached eggs with Veda which I love. Some mornings, though, I will have a croissant with ham and cheese. Occasionally I have a fry. Because I usually meet my wife for lunch we always end up in KFC, but I will have a wrap with chicken to keep it as healthy as I can. Many years ago I went to a clinic to be tested for allergies - it was recommended by comedian Gene Fitzpatrick. Since then I haven't eaten potatoes or chips and have a salad with my main meal. Of course, I do like to have a Chinese takeaway at the weekend.

Any bad habits?

Because I have a sweet tooth I will always look at the dessert menu when we go out for a meal. My favourite is banoffee pie with ice cream - I like to see which restaurant has the best. I only drink coffee occasionally as I like to really enjoy it when I do.

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

I will have a bottle of red wine when out for a meal with friends or the odd pint of Carlsberg, but don't drink a lot now. When I signed a record deal aged 30 I just stopped drinking. I saw it as an opportunity to have something for myself and my family. Previously I would have been the last man standing on a night out and loved to mix cigarettes and alcohol.

Do you take health supplements?

Berocca when I need an energy boost before I go on stage.

How do you take time out?

Going away for trips or short breaks with friends. I was in Dublin at the weekend with friends because I wasn't working. It's always spur of the moment when we all go away and we have been to places like Rome and Amsterdam. Because it's spontaneous it's all the more fun.

How well do you sleep?

Sometimes not well, and I will wake up at 4am and end up only getting a few hours sleep not having gone to bed until midnight.

Do you worry about getting old?

I think everyone does to a certain extent. No one wants to lose their hair and their teeth. I want to maintain my health, especially being in the entertainment industry. I am portraying one of the best-looking men ever so it's important to look good on stage. I want to hang on to youth for as long as I can.

What is you go-to product or habit which keeps you feeling healthy?

Because of the all the hip-swivelling I do on stage some of my joints get sore. But I've found a cannabis-based oil in a chemist here which really eases the pain. It is THC free, meaning that it is non-psychoactive so will not get you high.

Jim 'The King' Brown will be at The Mill, Newtownabbey on Friday. Tickets, £17.50, tel: 028 9034 0202 or visit theatreatthemill.com

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