The shape I'm in: David Gillick, Olympian

David Gillick is a member of the Vhi Support Team for the Women’s Mini Marathon on June 5.

The shape I'm in: David Gillick, Olympian

HE ran professionally for 12 years, but when Irish Olympian David Gillick retired in 2014 he stopped all exercise.

“I tried to get on with the rest of my life,” he says.

“Like any addiction you have it’s very hard to go cold turkey. I struggled an awful lot from [the lack of] routine throughout the week. I didn’t feel good about myself. I felt heavy lethargic and very negative.”

With running part of his fibre (he started aged seven) the former 400-metre sprinter didn’t stop to consider the link between exercise and mental health.

“It took me three years to realise that the lack of exercise was one of my triggers that would set me on a downward spiral. It was a very up and down period of my life.”

He began to see the role of exercise as the scaffolding for his busy life, which includes writing cookery books and appearing on TV3 as a chef — he won Celebrity Masterchef Ireland in 2013.

David Gillick likes his protein — meat, fish and eggs. He like his vegetables too.
David Gillick likes his protein — meat, fish and eggs. He like his vegetables too.

“I realised that exercise is something I really enjoy doing. It’s not about trying to hit workout times, it’s about getting the heart rate up. You just feel a lot better about yourself.”

Married to Charlotte, they live in Ballinteer, Co Dublin, with their 14-month-old son, Oscar.

It’s no surprise to hear that he does most of the cooking at home.

“I find it therapeutic to cook. It helps me to switch off.”

* David Gillick is providing healthy eating inspiration for Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon participants at

What shape are you in?

I’m in relatively okay shape. I try to train five days a week. I went back running last year so I try to run at least three to four days a week and try to get to the gym two days a week.

I would also try and do one long run a week. I tend to go to Marley Park. I enjoy getting out into the forest there. Running with others is a way of challenging yourself.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I try and eat real food. I always aim for a good source of protein, everything from meat to fish to eggs. I’d always have a lot of vegetables on a plate.

Time-wise, I’d have a few frozen items to hand. In terms of slow-release carbohydrates, it’s whole grains, sweet potatoes and quinoa.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

Anything with a crunch, be it a biscuit or chocolate out of the fridge. And crisps — it would have to be salt and vinegar, now sold as sea salt and cracked pepper.

What would keep you awake at night?

Oscar — for the first 12 months of his life he kept us awake. When you’re working for yourself, you want to make sure you’ve opportunities coming your way, and you’re going to keep the roof over your head. There have been nights when you worry.

Trying to quieten down the mind when you’re going to bed is a skill in itself but it’s something that I’ve got a lot better at over the past couple of months — just focusing on things you can control and having a pen and piece of paper beside the bed.

How do you relax?

Sport. It’s a great way to relax. Also, I find simply going out for a walk around the park or up the mountains — I enjoy green exercise — near where we live. I love getting out away from shopping centres and traffic.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Roy Keane. I’ve never met him; Tommy Tiernan and, because he’s on-trend, Donald Trump. I’d like to sit back and watch the show.

What’s your favourite smell?

The first cut of the grass. It’s the spring, the summer and it’s just fresh. The other one I love is fresh bread.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

If you asked me that question 10 to 15 years ago I probably would have said a couple of things. I am who I am now and what comes with it. I still have my hair. That’s good.

When is the last time you cried?

When Oscar was born. It was joy, relief that he and my wife were fine. And excitement. It’s a huge stage of life.

What traits do you least like in others?

Arrogance and ego. When people are only interested in themselves.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

The lack of ability to switch off. I’d like to be present as opposed to thinking about the future or the past.

Do you pray?

I would now and again.

What would cheer up your day?

Oscar is at an age where he’s interactively smiling and laughing. You might have had a rough day or something hasn’t gone your way. But when your child laughs it just gets rid of everything else.

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