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Me and my health: Philip Doyle on his lifestyle


Success story: Philip Doyle
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The 25-year-old international rower, who has just graduated from Queen's University Belfast in medicine, works with the Kingsbridge Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic through the Elite Athlete Programme at Queen's Sport. Philip lives in Banbridge with his mum Una.

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

A: I'm not a fan of the word exercise. I feel that if you love what you do, you train, and if you are doing something because you feel you have to it's called exercise.

So I train 18 times a week, anything from four to seven hours a day depending on the session structure and what competitions are coming up - and depending on my work in the hospital. My training is always a mix of sessions in the boat, on the rowing machine or in the gym. The Elite Athlete Programme at Queen's has certainly been a great support to me.

At the beginning of the year I sit down with my coach and set out my goals and we then figure out how they can be achieved. As a result, this year my minor and major goals have all been achieved. Through physio with Shea McAleer from Kingsbridge and strength and conditioning with Mike McGurn at Queen's, I've had an injury-free season.

My coach Mick Desmond has worked tirelessly with me and with Queen's Sport to facilitate my achievements and help me work towards my senior international debut, in Lucerne last month, where I came 15th out of 27.

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

A: I have been lucky so far with illness - I've only had chest infections and tonsillitis. I have had several broken bones in the past. When I was eight-years-old I broke both my wrists at the same time, falling off the banister.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I always try to keep the first 75% of my daily food healthy, so I eat lean meats and vegetables, with a big helping of carbohydrates to cover my energy output. I have to hit large calorie counts so the last 25% I fill with things that are not healthy, such as ice-cream or cookies.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: My worst habit is probably that I eat too much ice-cream and too many cookies. I'm a massive fan of a particular food retailer's cookies and on occasion will get the manager to get me some from the back if they aren't on the shop floor.

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

A: I don't smoke, as I feel it would impair my training. I drink occasionally, usually for special celebrations, but I keep this to as few times a year as I can.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I don't take health supplements but I do use SIS (science in sport) recovery powders and electrolyte tablets to help with my recovery.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I take time out to walk my dog. I have a border collie who is so happy when I come home to visit. My girlfriend Rachael and I try and fill my time off with day trips and we love to try new food places around Belfast.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I do struggle with sleep. I found it hard to adjust to my schedule with doing my final year in medicine and trying to make the Rowing Ireland team. When I am on camp my sleep is usually very good but at home with social distractions I find it hard to get the full seven to eight hours.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I have been a student for so long I am looking forward to getting older and starting working life. I am not looking forward to being old but getting older can't be too bad. In rowing, as it is a sprint endurance sport, the peak age is between 28 to 34 so I still have room to improve with age.

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

A: Training! I love the feeling after a tough session with the endorphins rushing through your body. If I am having a tough day or have had a day of eating badly, I find after I have been active for a while it feels great. If this doesn't work I love coffee and after a few espressos I perk up.

Belfast Telegraph

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Success story: Philip Doyle