Mark Wright: I don’t feel mentally well if I don’t exercise and eat well |

 Mark Wright: I don't feel mentally well if I don't exercise and eat well |

Since making his name on reality TV series The Only Way Is Essex over a decade ago, Mark Wright has built a career spanning sport, fitness and presenting.

Discovering a passion for sharing workouts online during lockdown, the 36-year-old now runs fitness and healthy lifestyle coaching platform and app Live Wright with his brother Josh, and lives in Essex with his actress wife Michelle Keegan.

We caught up with him to talk about winter motivation, finding balance, and why he started enjoying cold, rainy runs…

What advice would you give people to stay motivated while working out at this time of year?

“It’s so easy to fall off the wagon now that summer is over, there are no holidays booked, you’ll be wrapped in coats and come Christmas, when we all like to indulge in sweets. We all live by the theme of ‘New Year, New Me’. But for me , I think it’s important to start working now – and then you can get going, which means you can relax over the festive period, and by January, you’ll be ahead of the curve.

“So don’t be that person who snoozes the alarm and stays in bed because it’s dark and everyone else is doing it. Remember how you will feel afterwards.” [a workout]I know that this is the difficult part, but with the coming of the new year, it will be easier. So, set yourself a challenge – you will overcome it!

Getting through the winter may seem like a bit of mentally hard work, right?

“Yes – which is one of the reasons I make sure to up my training game and make myself feel good, because it counteracts the fact that it’s a little harder this time of year, and the sun isn’t shining through the window when I wake up.

“You should try to enjoy the good things at this time of year too – like lying on the sofa and watching a Christmas movie, and enjoying a Sunday roast dinner.”

Do you try to make sure you get out in nature when it’s light outside?

“Yes – I have never been able to run in the winter, I was always training in the gym, but now I get excited about dressing up, wearing a wool hat in the cold, breathing in the fresh air and going for a run. I used to run in the rain in the morning The other one and I kind of enjoyed it!

“I think it’s about mentally adapting to the situation we’re in. Staying up to date with your fitness level and level [physical] Health is very important for your mental health too. For me, if I don’t exercise and I don’t eat well and I don’t feel good, I’m not going to feel good mentally. Training keeps me on that straight and narrow.

Mark Wright at the start of the 2023 London Landmarks Half Marathon (Alamy/PA)

It’s very easy to fall into “all or nothing” thinking with exercise. What advice do you have for people who think they might not bother if they can’t quite make it?

“That’s exactly it – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’m a big believer in balance, and everything in moderation. I’ve put myself out of shape a few times, and then I have a higher hill to climb, if I want. To be fair, I’m in that position right now.” A lot of us stay fit in the summer, but I don’t actually need it for my mental health in the summer because there’s so much fun to be had – you’ll go to beer gardens, go out with your friends – so that’s where I get my happiest, and I stop working out for a bit.

“So I have to climb the hill – and do extra training, extra running – and I don’t like that. What I like is just over the course of the year you get to a nice point where you feel comfortable, you feel good, and you don’t have to train as much, just keep at it. Better A form of training for me is maintenance. Several times a week, exercise as much as you can, and everything in moderation.

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