Me and my health: Lisa Barwise - 'At 41, my body is in best condition it has ever been'
The 41-year-old, who has recently opened a ladies-only training studio in Belfast, Lisa Barwise's Warrior Goddess Kettlebell Training, lives in south Belfast with her 11-year-old son, Josh.
Do you take regular exercise - and if so, what?
I work-out up to six days a week. I also teach 10 kettlebell classes a week but only take part in three-quarters of those classes from the front of the room which are the 45-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) work-outs. These are a mixture of kettlebells, bodyweight and martial arts style cardio fitness. The others I just coach. I also lift (weights) in the gym three to four times a week. Body building style lifting of squats, deadlifts, bench pressing, shoulders and more. The other days I will rest, do yoga and some weeks I do a private kettlebell, kickboxing or Pilates session.
What's the worst illness you've had?
I suffered from severe vertigo for over six months about five years ago which resulted in debilitating symptoms such as head spins, nausea, joint pains and chronic fatigue. I was told that it was probably the longer-term effects of having Epstein-Barr Virus (which can lead to glandular fever) at some point earlier. I wasn't able to look up or down for fear of head spins which meant I found it difficult to move for an hour afterwards. I also couldn't sleep unless I was sitting down and couldn't lie on one side or turn my head. The vertigo was a by-product of my wheat allergy and candida, in addition to teeth grinding from stress. I was able to manage this by working with a series of health and wellness experts as well as giving up gluten, dairy and refined sugar.
How healthy is your diet?
I'm a gluten-free vegetarian, which means I don't eat meat, fish or dairy products or anything with gluten in it. I only eat eggs once or twice a week and some goat's cheese occasionally. Mostly I get my nutrition from plant-based foods and take high quality supplements. I also eat a lot of vegetables and healthy grains and love green smoothies. That said, as a self-confessed chocoholic I still enjoy dark chocolate and drink up to three cups of tea every day.
Any bad habits?
My downfall is carbs. I don't eat white bread but I do love porridge and rice. I love nothing more than chips and mayo. Sometimes comfort food is OK, as long as I can make it work into my weekly carb cycle and macros. When you work-out regularly and lift heavy weights you can enjoy a lot of calories. That's the best part.
Do you drink and/or smoke - if so how much?
I don't smoke and only drink once a month. I enjoy a beer or gin with pizza when out with friends or family. Drinking alcohol is not conducive to my job. It just zaps your energy and makes it really difficult not to eat all the carbs when you are recovering the day after.
Do you take health supplements?
I take dried raw fruit and vegetable powders in capsule form (called Juice Plus), vitamin D (with K and Sea Iodine), probiotics, vegan omegas and branch chain amino acids which I put in my protein shakes.
How do you take time out?
Watching movies at home or in the cinema. I'm a massive Superhero fan; Marvel and DC, Star Wars and Star Trek. And on a good day we are found in the woods walking our dog and being in nature.
How well do you sleep?
I am a champion sleeper and also the queen of naps. As you begin to lift heavier (weights) and build muscle, your body needs to repair and recover and it's during sleep that it does this. I have a good bedtime routine. I use Epsom salt bath with lavender, an essential oil pillow spray and try not to look at any screens before bed. Instead, I read, journal or meditate.
Do you worry about getting old?
I honestly think that women get better with age. My body is in the best condition it has been in, I'm more confident, wise and enjoy my own company and I don't obsess over trivial things. If I keep going this way I can continue kicking butt for many years yet.
What is your go-to product or habit that keeps you feeling healthy?
Getting enough protein so I use a quality vegan protein powder, The Protein Works.