Mark Wright: Staying in shape should never make you depressed and unhappy

Ever wondered how Mark Wright stays in shape? Well, aside from a pretty intense training schedule as a professional footballer for Crawley Town, the ex-Towie star has another secret up his sleeve.

Wright, 34, swears by high-intensity interval training (HIIT) – and he’s so passionate about the method, he’s been sharing his no-equipment workouts with his 1.8 million Instagram fans every weekday morning throughout lockdown.

Along with his brother Josh, he’s also just launched his new fitness app, Train Wright (thisistrainwright.com), which features various programmes to help people looking to lose weight, build muscle and burn fat.

Here, Wright talks to us about finding inspiration in lockdown, and how his approach to keeping fit and healthy has changed…

Glasgow Times:

On staying motivated…

“I’m someone who loves to keep fit and I usually find it easy to stay motivated, but last lockdown I found myself just laying on the sofa. It got to the point where I hadn’t trained for two or three weeks, even though I had loads of time on my hands.

“I booked a live class on my Instagram, which meant I had to commit to it. I found that it gave me a bit of structure, which is why I kept doing it for five days a week with my audience. Working out just gives me the mental boost to keep cracking on. The #TrainWright series just grew from there, and I started inviting celebrity friends to join in too.”

Glasgow Times:

On workout regrets…

“I remember getting fit for a shoot and I went all out with my diet and training. Looking back, I was stressed, I was hungry, and I was really unhappy for six weeks. I didn’t have the energy I needed, and I wasn’t taking care of myself in terms of nutrition. That was definitely a mistake.

“I now know that it’s about being happy in life. Yes, training is great, but the minute it interferes with happiness elsewhere and it stops you living your life, is when you need to take a step back. Don’t push yourself to the point where you’re getting upset and depressed with it. That’s my biggest tip.”

On his workout routine…

“That said, I haven’t really got a good balance at the moment, because I’m playing professional football. I’m doing football training three or four days a week, depending on match days, and then weight training when I get home. Today I had a day off, so I went for a 5K run in the morning, a 20K bike ride, then I did a HIIT on Instagram and then a weights session.

“In a normal training period, when I’m not doing football, I’d wake up and do a HIIT session for 30-40 minutes, then I’ll try and fit in three or four weights sessions a week to keep toned. As long as I’m fitting my HIIT session in then I’m good – it’s my favourite because it tones all of my body, and I burn calories in a quick amount of time.”

Glasgow Times:

On working out with wife Michelle Keegan…

“Michelle does my HIIT and when I’m doing a live, she’ll often do it in the other room. But when it comes to exercise, she likes to do a lot of Pilates and yoga, while I’ll do weights, so we don’t ever really train together. We’ll train at the same time and go to the gym together, and get our workouts out of the way so we can spend our day together, but we don’t really do the same stuff.”

On launching the app…

“When we petered out of lockdown last year, it felt like we’d built up such a ‘Train Wright’ family through my daily workouts. When we went back to real life, people were asking for more, so I made a plan and released it onto a website, which was great, but we had to keep updating it. It got so big that we needed to take it to another level, so the decision was made to create an app.

“It’s almost like a gym on your phone. You can do yoga, weight training, ab training, boxing training, and you’ve got recipes too. Yes, gyms are opening soon, but for the next few weeks, people need to stay fit. Also, I think a lot of people won’t go back to the gyms because they’ve learnt they can work out at home. You don’t need any equipment, it’s just get up and go.”

Glasgow Times:

On his diet…

“I just try to eat healthy. I eat organic food and lots of fish, and I don’t like to eat pork or red meat. That’s something that’s really changed for me over the years. When I was young and I used to diet, I never really cared about the quality of food, or the amount of fruit or veg I was getting. It was just about looking good.

“Now, I make sure I have my ginger shot in the morning, I make sure I have my five a day, and I’m always eating carbs to give me energy. I enjoy putting good stuff into my body, as it makes me feel good. As you go on in fitness, you learn new things and you don’t ever want to go back to how you were before.”

On drinking…

“Even before Towie started, I’ve always been a binge-drinker. Every weekend, I’d go out with the boys. Since lockdown, we haven’t been able to go out, and other than having quite a few drinks on New Year’s Eve, I can’t remember the last time I got drunk.

“Now I’ll have two beers on a Saturday night, and that’s about it. I actually don’t know how I’m going to go back to drinking in the way we used to. I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to once a week; I think it’ll be once every six weeks instead.

“I’ve taught myself a European way of drinking, and moved away from the British mentality of just getting smashed. I’ve got into my gins and my wines, whereas before it was just about how quickly I could get drunk and how many songs I can sing on karaoke.”

The Train Wright App is available to download via the App Store and Google Play. Visit thisistrainwright.com

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