Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Health

Me and my health: Johnny Davis on his lifestyle


By Staff Reporter

The 57-year-old competed for Great Britain in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics in fencing and in five World Championships. He also won medals at the Commonwealth Games. Johnny now runs sports events company the Pioneer Group and is a Centra Run Together ambassador. He lives between Lisburn and Ballynahinch with his wife Katie who is also an Olympian. They have two children, Christy (24) and Ella (21).

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

A: Yes, I train every day. This is a combination of stretching, core, weights and taking a spin class at the gym or cycling on my bike for longer rides. It's the best way for me to relax. I'm addicted to it and need to do something every day. I also coach fencing three times per week, which keeps me energised.

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

A: I had a post viral infection called Epstein Bar virus following the Seoul Olympics in 1988. This had an impact on me in the lead-up to the Games, as I suspect it was in my system by the time I went to Seoul. As a result, I had a very average and unsatisfying Games. I had to give up work for six months and wasn't able to train or compete due to the virus.

I completely reviewed my diet and that had a significant impact. I stopped eating wheat, dairy and drinking alcohol. I also ensured that I took a lot more rest and then gradually started to build up my training and was in great shape when I went back to the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. I continue to pay close attention to my diet and hydration and have to be careful to give myself enough time to recharge and refresh my batteries to minimise the risk of something similar happening again.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: Very healthy - I eat lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, white meat and grains. I avoid dairy and wheat and eat/drink a lot of soya products as I feel that soya gives me all the nutrients I need. I struggled with consuming dairy products, so soya is a great alternative and I really enjoy the soya products which are available nowadays.

Q: Any bad habits? 

A: I enjoy chocolate, but in moderation.

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

A: No. I don't drink or smoke.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I take fish oils, magnesium and glucosamine on a daily basis. The fish oils and glucosamine help to keep my joints and bones healthy while the magnesium helps with post event recovery and also has a positive impact on my mental wellbeing. 

Q: How well do you sleep? 

A: I sleep reasonably well but I have a very active mind, so I find it hard to switch off. I find music and reading helps. Music is a big backdrop to my world, so my iPod helps me to switch off at night.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: No I don't, it's going to happen and should be approached positively. I accept that I will get old and so I value every day I have left in my life. I just focus on all the great people and great opportunities in my life, rather than worrying about things I can't control. I'm very blessed with my marriage and my family so it's all about embracing the little things in life.

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

A: Exercise and life. We have each been given the amazing gift of life and should enjoy and respect it. There are many people who would love to have the wonderful opportunities and experiences I continue to have in life and I value them hugely.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I read a lot of biographies and I am a big reggae fan. Music is a key component of my life. A recent book I have read is called The Fight by Norman Mailer. It's about the Rumble in the Jungle when Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in Zaire.

I am blessed to have a wonderful wife and family and spending time with them helps me re-energise and relax.

My favourite way to unwind with my family is holidaying, walking, talking over dinner with them. Just spending time with them helps to fill up my soul.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph