When people ask Ultimate Performance founder Nick Mitchell how he stays in shape, he has one answer – it’s not a chore, it’s a lifestyle.
One he has to work at and that isn’t without its challenges, pitfalls and vices.
Here he talks about the common rhythms of diet and exercise he’s worked into his life to help keep him in shape, healthy and ageing well.
Read on to find out how he engineers his environment, habits and routines to ensure he maximises his health, productivity and well-being.
BEN KENYON: Obviously, you’re in very good shape for your age – for any age!
NICK MITCHELL: I do my best. Thank you.
BEN: How do you age so well?
NICK: It’s a lifestyle. Am I perfect? No. No. Do I have weaknesses? Yes. Do I have vices? Absolutely. Well, am I going to list all my vices on here? No. No, I’m not. But, you know, I’ll give one easy acceptable vice. For me, I like to medicate stress with crap food. That’s my big vice in life. I will medicate stress with bad food.
So, if I’ve had a crap day and it’s eight or nine o’clock at night, the idea of me eating chicken and broccoli versus eating a bag of crisps, or a box of biscuits. If the box of biscuits is there, I’m going to eat it. So for me, the best thing is to have the temptation away from me and not in the house. Do I eat bad food? Yes. I would say too much bad food. But I do other things hopefully, right. I try very hard. I don’t always succeed to ensure I get at least eight hours of sleep a night. That means there are things I can’t do because I will prioritise my sleep.
Exercise is the easiest thing in the world for me because what I’ve done, I’ve found a way to love my exercise. I ride a bike in the hills here where I live. I love it. I absolutely love it. It’s my release for the day, and I love weight training. Weight training, for me, is controlled aggression. I get all my aggression out. Anything pent-up comes out, and it’s meditation for me. It’s meditation. It’s controlled aggression. Meditation. And I just want to lose myself in the gym for an hour, four times a week.
So for me, that’s very, very easy. You know, at nine o’clock at night, eating for me is a challenge. Eating during the day for me,
again, no challenge whatsoever because I know how I feel when I eat bad. I know how I feel when I eat well. If I want to feel lazy, I’m going to go and have a pizza now. If I go and eat a pizza now, I’m talking it’s two o’clock in the afternoon. Disaster! I’m not going to go exercise. I’m not going to do any more work. I’m going to want to sit, put my feet up and watch Netflix. So instead, I’ll eat fat and protein during the day, and I’ll have not a lot of carbs. I’ll have some, but not a lot. That’s what gives me the best energy.
So I know how to eat to…It’s not about aesthetics. It’s about eating to perform and feel the best. The best analogy I can give you is, I’m from Yorkshire, I grew up in a working-class area. I love fish and chips. Even when I go back home I don’t often eat fish and chips. And when I do I instantly regret it because it sits like that horrible cannonball in the bottom of your stomach, doesn’t it, right?
It’s the same thing with other foods but just maybe a slightly less profound effect.
It doesn’t make you feel great; put it that way. It doesn’t make you feel great, no. Junk food doesn’t make you feel great. Chocolate doesn’t make you feel great. You feel great when you’re eating it, and then afterwards, you either want more or you want to be lazy. So for me, it’s really easy to not eat bad food during the day. But in the evenings, because my life is so hectic and I got so many things on the go. In the evenings, when I want to switch off, that’s when I’m likely to eat bad food, and that’s my personal challenge, and it’s a very common personal challenge.
Discover more in our Men’s Health series as Nick and Ben investigate young men and their need for the right education. Click here to listen as Nick talks about teaching boys the importance of sport and exercise to help them grow up to become robust, resilient and healthy men.