Cardiac arrest killed my father and his father. Both had high cholesterol, so I thought I better have it tested, and mine is naturally quite high. I've educated myself over the years about where cholesterol comes from and what we can do to influence it. I used to think: I'm training hard, so I need loads of chicken breasts, I need the protein! The more I educated myself, the more I realized you don't need all of that.
The way to be healthy and keep your cholesterol low is to have loads of fruit and veg and whole-grain rice and pasta and potatoes, whole food things. There have been articles saying I'm a vegan, but I'm not. I eat a lot of crap when I'm working, because it's my job. And I love nothing more than getting to the weekend and having a big family roast or going out and getting sozzled with my good friends and having a big burger. That's a really important part of training – that you have to let loose, as well. So I'm not superstrict, but it's like training; it's about what you do the majority of the time, and the majority of the time I eat really healthy.
I was speaking to an Olympic athlete recently, and she said, "Fifteen years ago, they used to think your performance was 80 percent training, 20 percent nutrition. And now they reckon it's 75 percent nutrition, 25 percent training," which is unbelievable. As somebody who does a lot of physical stuff, I'm really aware of that.
How to Survive …a life-threatening injury, part 2
My back was a real, proper life-changing injury. I had three big breaks in the middle of my back and was in traction and braces, and the doctors didn't know if I was going to be able to walk properly again. You take your movement and your health so much for granted, and suddenly I couldn't do anything. It was a really dark, fumbling, difficult, painful road of doubt and everything. But you slowly piece your confidence back together, and it's all about little chunks and little bites.
I look back now and think, Would I have done any of this stuff if I hadn't had the accident? Sometimes in life it takes a real knock to make you realize what you really value and what's really important to you, and I think for me, that was my knock.