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Celebrity Health - Harry Judd

McFly star Harry Judd talks about the positive effects exercise and healthy eating have had on his life

As a member of the hugely successful pop-rock band McFly, Harry Judd has notched up five hit albums, a string of number one singles and sold more than 10 million records worldwide. Proving that he has a natural sense of rhythm, the 32-year-old drummer went on to win the 2011 series of Strictly Come Dancing as well as the 2015 Christmas special. Now, the dad-of-two is adding ‘author’ to his list of talents, with the release of his first book, Get Fit, Get Happy.

The book is all about the positive health benefits of exercise. I’ve tried to approach it in a way that is fun. I feel that there is too much focus on how people are expected to look, how many weights you should lift and how much protein you should eat. Exercise has helped me in so many ways: it’s helped me with my anxiety, helped me quit smoking and so many other amazing things. The book is based around bodyweight exercise that doesn’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere. All the workouts can be done at home – in the kitchen, the garden, the bedroom, on the staircase.

There is no equipment required, so it doesn’t cost anything.

Exercise helps to regulate your stress. It’s helped to give me a focus and have something I can control. It always gives me a boost to my mood. This makes me want to make other positive choices, because I feel more energised. It makes me want to eat better and gives me a good night’s sleep.

Exercise just makes me feel more positive about life in general.

I don’t stick to a programme or count my calories; I just do what feels right for me. I like to go to the gym, work out in the garden, play five-a-side football with mates, play golf, go for a run, or a walk – just basically being active.

I think it’s very important to eat a healthy diet, not just because of the way it makes you look but because of the way it makes you feel and for your health. There’s that age-old saying that you are what you eat, which is essentially true in what it’s trying to say. For me, exercise is the catalyst for making better food choices. I find that if I exercise I then want to eat better because I feel more positive about something I’ve done for me and my health. It’s about balance – not starving yourself or restricting yourself of anything nice and tasty.

I generally start the day with black coffee and porridge with fruit. Then, I’ll snack on nuts and drink lots of water. At lunch, I find I feel better if I don’t have anything too heavy, so I’ll have a salad with some chicken, fish or vegetables. In the evening I’ll generally have fish or chicken or some sort of meat with some brown rice, and sometimes some steamed vegetables. In the evening I have some Greek yogurt, some fruit and some dark chocolate.

As a dad of two young children, I think it’s important to teach kids to look after themselves and respect their bodies and their health. I think we have a real responsibility. There’d be a hell of a lot less pressure on the NHS if we all just looked after ourselves a bit better.

The only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever had was to give up smoking. I gave up on 1 January 2013 and I stuck to it. Again, I put that down to exercise. The first day I quit smoking it got to about 4.30pm and I was gagging for a cigarette. Then, just as I was about to give in, I saw my trainers and I thought, “I’ve got a choice here. Do I go for a cigarette, or do I put on my trainers?” So, I put my trainers on and went for a run. It was hard because it was cold and it was dark and my smoker’s lungs didn’t enjoy it, but the endorphins were flowing around my body and I just felt so positive. The next day when I was really struggling, I went and did exercise. I just kept that going until eventually those cravings just wore off, ever so slowly.

I do still dance here and there since winning Strictly. Dancing is very much a mood-boosting form of exercise. You get very fit but it’s so much fun. If you can find an exercise that you find fun then you are winning because you’re getting all the benefits plus you are enjoying it.

During the winter it’s harder to exercise outside, but there are a lot of classes people can do indoors, whether it’s dance classes, pilates, yoga, all those sorts of things. Again, though, exercise doesn’t have to cost anything, and you can do bodyweight exercise at home. You’ll soon warm up once you start exercising! There are so many positive benefits of exercising that can keep away the blues.

Get Fit, Get Happy By Harry Judd is published by Coronet and priced at £19.99.

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