Me and my health: Mark Tilley on his lifestyle
The 29-year-old from Larne plays the lead role in Stephen Sondheim's Company The Musical at the Grand Opera House in Belfast in May. Mark is a corporate recruiter and professional musician and has just bought his first house in Belfast where he lives with a house-mate and three cats.
Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?
A: Yes, I try to get to the gym three times a week. I used to be a lot more active but I've been in an office job for the past four years so I really need to motivate myself to make time for exercise these days. The pending opening night for Company is a good motivator.
Q: What is the worst illness you've had?
A: On the whole my health is very good and the worst I would normally suffer is a cold or a sore throat (a consequence of singing professionally). However, when I was 24 I was in hospital for a few days with a severe case of kidney stones and it was by far the most painful experience of my life. I take care to watch my sodium intake now because a person who has kidney stones before they are 25 is at high risk of recurrence, but I'm happy to report I haven't experienced them since.
Q: How healthy is your diet?
A: Very healthy, with the odd cheat day. I'm very conscious of balancing my macros and probably err on the side of a protein-heavy diet. A busy lifestyle means I favour convenience, so I try and prepare meals (rice and pasta dishes mostly) and would snack on fruit, veg, jerky and nuts.
Q: Any bad habits?
A: If I have had a particularly busy week and don't have time to prepare meals in advance, I would more frequently resort to Just Eat than starting to prepare a fresh meal. My other bad habit is an inability to say no to work, which just feeds the former (no pun intended!)
Q: Do you drink and smoke/ if so how much?
A: I've never even tried smoking - I find it an awful habit - and I normally drink socially, though infrequently. When I do drink, I try to limit myself to two or three bottles.
Q: Do you take any supplements?
A: No. I have in the past and find them useful to fine-tune or enhance a dedicated exercise plan, but I don't feel I'd get the benefit from them with my current level of activity.
Q: How do you take time out?
A: What is this 'time out' you speak of? I work a 9am-6pm office job and conduct four choirs outside of this, on top of a busy solo singing career, so I find me-time really essential to maintain my sanity. This usually involves a very low level of activity, which would be either catching up on Netflix shows, or reading a book in the bath. In saying that, I've just bought a new house so my free time is being filled with developing my budding interior design skills.
Q: How well do you sleep?
A: I sleep well but I could probably do with sleeping for longer. I usually get about six hours a night and I'm very much not a morning person.
Q: Do you worry about getting old?
A: I tend to live in the present so, no, it's not something I think about at all. When I think about being old, it tends to revolve around images of me on a month-long cruise or weekends in London watching shows.
Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?
A: It would probably be any sort of nut. Almonds and cashews are my guilt-free snack, and I love to use roasted pinenuts or cashews when cooking. They taste great, are filling and are an easy addition to enhance most of the meals I eat.
Company The Musical runs at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, from May 1-4. For more information, visit www.goh.co.uk