Former The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright has detailed how quitting football affected him physically and the health journey that followed in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. Ex-Strictly Come Dancing star Mark, who is married to Fool Me Once actress Michelle Keegan, opened up his own fitness routine while teaming up with protein brand GetPRO.
The former I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! finalist explained that keeping in tip-top shape had always been a priority to him even before his days in the limelight, as he had previously played football professionally, starting his senior career with Southend United. However, 37-year-old Mark did admit that he began to let himself go when he gave up the sport.
He recalled: “Obviously before telly, I used to play professional football. I was paid to keep fit. And then when I retired, I had a year off.
“I never kept myself fit because I was so used to work keeping me fit,” he explained. “So I came out of this habit of getting up every day to train.
“I got myself out of shape for a year and I hated the feeling – this was before TV,” he continued. “So I went back to the gym and I started training myself.”
Before long, Mark was once again fighting fit and still likes to stick to a strict fitness routine today.
“It’s not really my job that makes me [feel pressure],” the star reflected. “I feel pressure against myself because I like to feel good, I like to look good, I like my clothes to fit well, I like to feel healthy…
“And when I’m eating well and training well, I just sleep better. Everything about my life is better.”
Asked about how keeps the balance of going out to see friends and eating healthy, Mark shared: “I swear by ‘everything in moderation’ – and ‘balance’ is just my biggest message to anyone.
“I think every one of my mates that’s gone completely all out on a diet – never having treats – they’ve stopped after a certain amount of time because it simply doesn’t work mentally and physically.”
Speaking about his decision to be a brand ambassador for GetPRO, Mark said: “I’m someone who always wants to take in the amount of protein I need because I like to train and build muscle, but also it’s great for repair and recovery.
“And sometimes, when you’re intaking protein the same way all the time it gets boring (i.e. chicken breast or a protein shake).
“So when you’ve got a yoghurt or a pudding that tastes like a dessert, it feels like you’re having a little bit of a treat after dinner, but you’re not because it’s still loads of protein.
“ I do have a bit of a sweet tooth,” Mark admitted. “So when I realised how good the product was and that they wanted to work with me, it was a real treat.”
As an ambassador for GetPRO, who support consumers as they progress on their own fitness journey*, Mark took on Britain’s fastest man Zharnel Hughes, at the brand’s pop-up event to ‘Outrun an Olympian’.
*GetPRO contains protein contributes to the maintenance and growth of muscle mass. Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. GetPRO products contain naturally occurring sugars only.