Zest for life

Discover the health secrets of Britain's fit and famous
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Indy Lifestyle Online

t?s that time of year when you feel like hibernating, sunshine is but a distant memory and you just can?t shake that cold

Melanie C, 31, Singer and former Spice Girl

Over the years, I've tried every fad diet going but now I just try to keep to a healthy and balanced diet, and I'm a great believer in carbohydrates because a low-carb diet drains you of energy. I go to the gym two or three times a week and I'm lucky because I enjoy it. I also have a great acupuncturist, who's seen me through a lot of problems, from a bad knee injury to the odd hangover.

Kathy Lette 'approaching 40, but I am not saying from which direction', Author, her latest book is 'Dead Sexy'

The only thing I never eat are my words. I loathe diets. But as I talk out of my arse all too often, I don't want to draw attention to it in any other way, so I either jog four miles a day, swim a mile, or cycle for an hour. I'm not a psycho- but a cyclepath. Ironically, all my health problems have derived from being healthy: swimmer's ear, tendonitis of the ankle. Staying fit is actually very, very bad for you.

Michel Roux Junior, 44, Chef at Le Gavroche

I do marathons as a hobby - I've run 14 - and I'm just picking up training for the London Marathon. I do five runs a week, including a long one on Sundays. I do Pilates, which is great for my posture and core strength, and also increases my lung capacity, which is useful for my running. I drink copious amounts of water; I don't drink any alcohol from Monday to Friday and my last coffee will always be at lunchtime.

Alain de Botton, 35, Author and television presenter

What we eat is key. I try to limit my intake of fatty foods and eat lots of fish and chicken. I drink a lot of fruit juice, and am particularly keen on freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. I hate taking exercise, and have nowhere to walk to - I live surrounded by three motorways - so I'm worried. I have, however, bought an exercise bike, and hope to go on it for 15 minutes, three times a week.

Julia Neuberger, 54, Rabbi, broadcaster and member of the House of Lords

The preservation of life is important in Judaism. Moderation, attention to sleep, to emotional and mental well-being are also really important. In modern terms - providing the "body beautiful" doesn't become the goal - the idea of keeping fit is appropriate for a Jew. Doctors are held in great respect, but it is not only medicine of the traditional kind. The trick, I find, is to be moderate about it all. Use medicines only when needed, complementary therapies as they work and help, seek exercise, but always subjugating all of that to what is really important - making the world a better place, for God's sake.

Jodi Albert, 21, Actress and star of 'Hollyoaks' (the 'Hollyoaks Fitness' video is out now)

I don't believe in dieting, I try and eat fruit and vegetables and have three meals a day but if I'm craving chocolate I'll have it because I don't think you should starve yourself. I go to the gym about four times a week and do a lot of stamina stuff. The best thing is not to go mad - you don't need to go to the gym seven times a week. Little things like walking to the shops help.

Tara Bernerd, 32, Interiors and property designer and founder of Target Living

Exercise is as good for my mind as it is for the body. I work out three times a week; I run in the park in the summer; in winter I'm on the dreaded treadmill, kick boxing and more - all with my trainer, Chris. I guess, like a lot of people, I try to be good with what I eat. I don't touch any wheat as a rule - no pasta, bread, cookies. During the week I am pretty careful and have a healthy routine, eating lots of fish, vegetables and salads. The brakes usually come off at the weekend. As for alternative therapies, I have always been interested in a bit of "mumbo jumbo". I do believe that there are alternative routes and I will often explore them. Like anything, it depends on the person and there are some marvelously gifted people - as well as ones who are to be avoided at all costs. I have recently been introduced to Zenny, at the Nyumba Hair Salon in Mayfair, who gives an incredible massage which combines with reiki and leaves you feeling pretty good.

Ross Morrisson, 25, British paralympic wheelchair rugby player

During training camps, I train up to 12 hours a day. Fitness is paramount for rugby but also for day-to-day living as a wheelchair user. Upper body strength makes transferring from my chair to the car or bed much easier and keeping my weight down makes it easier to push. I watch my diet carefully. Being paralysed, I use only 15 per cent of my muscles and burn off far fewer calories than an able-bodied person.

Martina Milburn, 46, Chief executive of the Prince's Trust

My habitual goal is to lose weight healthily. So, ideally, I go for a good diet. I managed to lose two stone by cutting out carbohydrates after 5pm - with exercise: a 20-minute walk after supper, plus regular swimming and horse-riding, which I took up again recently after a 20-year break. I'm not made for jogging. The reality, however, is trying to find time for it between work and three children. When I stop exercising, as I did not long ago, I put on weight, so right now I'm forcing myself to make time for it, even if it means going for a swim at 10 at night.

Martin 'Wolfie' Adams, 48, Darts player

Darts' status as a physical sport has been questioned. Repetitive throwing is tough though, placing a lot of stress on the shoulder, elbow and wrist. At this year's world championships I was fitted with a pedometer. I took 33,310 steps on the oche, walking 25.37km. The days of beers and fags have gone. I keep my general fitness levels up through my passion for gardening, and throw over 3,000 darts a week in practice.

Kathy Phillips refuses to say age, Former health and beauty director of 'Vogue' and co-founder of This Works aromatherapy oils

I have yoga mats at home, in the car and in my suitcase. I practice, if I can, every day, sometimes for 40 minutes, sometimes for more. Even though I am a qualified teacher, I go to classes once a week but I don't beat myself up if I miss out a day. As well as my regular yoga, I love skiing. I hike, row, skate and play tennis too. The feel-good factor of exercise is unbeatable and the way the body is oxygenated, leaving the cheeks flushed and the whole system energized, makes it a beauty treatment too. I really believe that it's important for everyone to find the exercise that works for them, be it fishing, walking the dog, swimming or rollerblading.

Paul Burrell, 46, Butler turned writer, and recent 'I'm a Celebrity...' contestant

I love food but I can't eat as much as I used to, so I eat a light breakfast and a light lunch so that I can properly enjoy dinner, my favourite meal. At least three times a week my personal trainer bullies me into shape, which is good because I need the incentive to train. After exercise I like a hot bath, and I always have a protein milkshake, which seems to help put something back.

Charles Handy, 72, Management guru, author and broadcaster. His latest books are 'The Elephant and the Flea' and 'The New Alchemists'

A doctor once told me his simple prescription for a healthy life - half a mile a day, half an aspirin a day, and half a bottle of red wine. That's the absolute minimum, he said, so my wife and I stretch it a bit, walking for 30 minutes each morning before starting work and we keep, more or less, to an AA (Atkins Adapted) diet, that is we cut out bread, potatoes and pasta, but leave in lots of veg and fruit and, yes, a bit more wine when there are guests. Plus, a monthly MoT with an osteopath. It works: we're alive.

Raymond Blanc, 55, Chef patron at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

I eat like any good Frenchman should - well. I eat lots of fruit, vegetables and fresh meat, and I vary my diet. I don't eat junk food because it makes me sick. I enjoy playing tennis at least twice a week. I had a stroke a few years ago but I'm fine now because I look after my doctor in my restaurant and he looks after me!

Kevin Woodford, 52, Chef and television presenter

I'm careful with sugars, salt and fats but not to a ridiculous extent, and I always eat organic even if it means spending an extra £20. When I'm in Spain, I play golf and I love jogging - I have to be dragged out of the door kicking and screaming but I really love the feeling it gives me. I'm also a huge fan of echinacea [a plant extract said to boost your immune system]. I think the body is a wonderful thing if you're prepared to listen to it.

Timothy Everest, 43, Tailor to the stars

I used to cycle everywhere until a couple of months ago - I bought a scooter for the winter. But I have a mountain bike and a road bike and will do that again in the summer, mainly around Richmond Park. I go to the gym too, once a week, and do a little routine. I run for 20 minutes, go on the rowing machine for 10 minutes, do some light weights on a ball, and then stretch. I like the flexibility side of things. I'm quite into alternative therapies too. I've travelled to Canyon Ranch,health resort in Tucson, Arizona, and a place in Palm Springs, and I've tried hypnotherapy. My wife Catherine runs a company that makes organic aromatherapy oils. As for nutrition, well, my * parents were in the restaurant trade, so though I know what I should be doing, I enjoy things too.

Lesley Waters, 43, Television chef

I love bread and could eat a whole loaf in one sitting quite easily; it's my downfall. I like rice dishes and I eat red meat only once or twice a week. I work out three or four times a week, swim in the sea and go running. I love the kick I get out of it, though I don't run fast; I'm more of a plodder. I see an osteopath a few times a year to help with my tennis elbow.

Hardy Blechman, 36, Owner of fashion label Maharishi

I find yoga, especially Pranayama yoga, to be of great general benefit to well-being. Water is vital - old age seems to be a wrinkling-up, drying-up process, and the more liquid you intake and absorb, the longer you can keep looking young. The quality of the water and its surface tension makes a great difference to the body's ability to absorb it, so all the water at my house and studio is triple-filtered and goes through a reverse-osmosis process before passing through a pipe which is wrapped in a copper spiral which itself contains imploded water. I am also really into urine therapy, drinking urine and applying it to any skin irritation. And although I fall in and out of practice, seminal retention is good for restoring energy and making me strong.

Sarah Waters, 38, Author of 'Tipping the Velvet'

I find everything to do with food a chore. If I could, I'd live off capsules. I've been vegetarian since I was 18, but have started eating fish and chicken for protein. I run twice a week and got rollerblades for Christmas. They'll provide a low-impact alternative to jogging. A day without a run or a walk feels awful. I see an acupuncturist twice a month, which has cured my migraines.

Karen Walker, 33, Fashion designer

In an ideal week, I do yoga twice, pilates four times and take a long walk at the weekend. In not such an ideal week I do none of the above. I've been an ovo-, lacto-vegetarian for 15 years. I try to avoid refined sugar and never drink fizzy drinks or eat sweets. I avoid chocolate because it's loaded with chemicals and don't eat anything with MSG. I've been caffeine-free for 10 years and try to avoid bread as well. I drink very little alcohol and take heaps of vitamins and supplements. I start every day with a huge fruit smoothie and drink litres of green tea and water throughout the day. I know I sound like some sort of fanatic but it's actually a very easy diet to follow and I'm never tempted by any of the bad stuff. I have been to a few naturopaths in my time and I've a cupboard full of half-empty bottles of pills and concoctions to prove it.

Aled Jones, 34, Singer and television presenter

I eat fruit for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and meat or fish for dinner. I lost a stone in just over a week on Strictly Come Dancing and two and a half stone overall. It's the equivalent to swimming, because you use all the muscles in your body. I also enjoy tennis, and once a week I do one-on-one boxing with my personal trainer.

Antony Worrall Thompson, 53, Television chef and restaurateur

I'm on the GI [glycemic index] diet, so eat a lot of high-complex carbohydrates, like pulses and beans. I use a personal trainer twice a week, walk the dogs and do lots of gardening. I try and get a deep-tissue massage once a week to keep the blood moving, and I take cider vinegar with honey and lemon which is good for the pancreas. But I need to stop smoking.

Beryl Bainbridge, 70, Novelist

Health is to do with what you inherit from your parents. I had a scare with blood pressure, but one expects that at this age. Growing up in the War meant I've always eaten fatty foods, and I smoked tremendously before I gave up last year. I was brought up to believe food was a nuisance, to be eaten as quickly as possible so you could clean the dishes. But I don't think any of that has affected my health too much. I'm naturally healthy: every day, I walk down to the shops, and I'm the same weight as I was 40 years ago.

Serena Rees, 36, Co-founder of Agent Provocateur

I don't like exercise but I do force myself to train. I'm not consistent, it has to be said, but I have noticed I have more energy and feel better, even though I don't like it. At least I walk my dog, Roman, every day. I gave up yoga last year but I loved it and am going to start again. I have always eaten healthily as I prefer quality food that tastes good - I buy organic where possible. I used to try and be on diets all the time, but I am terrible at them and none of them ever work. I like food too much. My policy is, eat what you want but don't be stupid. I go to the homeopath and she gives me a constitutional remedy that keeps me well. I use acupuncture too - it is amazing - and have massages.

Nell McAndrew, 31, Model, television presenter and star of fitness videos, her latest, 'Ultimate Challenge - Ultimate Results' is out now

I've agreed to run the London Marathon again this year, so I'll be stepping up my training. I've got an ex-boxer to help me. I'm not an Atkins person: I have a well-balanced diet but not so that it's boring. I eat loads of carbs to keep my strength up and treat myself to a glass of red wine every now and again.

Susan Harmsworth, 59, Founder and CEO of Espa international

I don't follow any particular fad diet but believe in healthy eating. I start the morning with a fruit and wheatgerm smoothie and snack on fresh fruit throughout the day. Lunch is usually out for business but I try to keep it light and my evening meal is usually fish or organic red meat with vegetables, accompanied by a glass of wine or champagne. I could not live without aromatherapy. I use essential oils in the bath, on my skin and in oil burners or candles to instantly vitalise or relax. I use my Espa Eau de Parfum all the time, the scent helps give me instant clarity of thought.

Lavinia Byrne, 59, Presenter of religious shows. She spent three decades as a Catholic nun

My idea of good exercise used to be to watch the horse racing on television, but lately I have been suffering from a benign tremor in my hands. Conventional treatments made my hands go blue, so I have switched to alternative therapies like acupuncture which, combined with a wheat- and dairy-free diet, has really worked. I'm now doing more exercise - walking into town twice a week, though I do weaken and get the bus back.

Stuart Baker (aka Reepa), 18, Member of Blazin' Squad

I do a lot of running because me and some of the boys are training for the London Marathon - I've already done a couple of half-marathons. When we're on tour, I take vitamins because we don't get to eat properly, but my biggest health hazard is being too lazy to get out of bed.

Bishop John Sentamu, 55, Anglican Bishop of Birmingham

I always make time to exercise, getting up early so there is time for both a visit to my private chapel and a visit to the gym, before the business of the day begins. I am training to do a 280-mile walk, visiting every parish in my diocese. I delight in food - in sharing it with friends and family and in cooking. I always choose organic meat and vegetables.

Interviews by Christian Broughton, Peter Stanford, Claire Dwyer Hogg, Dan Poole, Mark MacKenzie