MARK ON WHY YOU NEED CARBS IN YOUR LIFE (AND HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED)

Instructor Spotlight
3 years after joining Psycle as a rider, Mark Brennan has swept the instructor podium by storm. Read on to see how this ex-percussionist turned marketing professional stays motivated & healthy.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to health?
  1. Before I do ANYTHING, I eat breakfast – it’s the best way to start the day. I pride myself on being a positive, upbeat person. You don’t want to see me when I’m hangry.
  2. Do things that make you smile – If we all took the time to do the things we love and make us happy we might feel the difference in our day to day lives. For me that’s catching up with friends, visiting my family, discovering new music for my classes, taking the time to relax, eating good food, planning my next trip away, drinking wine, clipping into that bike! It’s personal for everyone, the point is – you need to make time & schedule it in.
  3. Get enough sleep! No negotiations. No explanation needed.
What are your favourite breakfasts?
  1. My breakfast smoothie – banana, oats, almond butter, cashew butter, chocolate protein, coconut oil, spinach, flax seeds, almond milk – for when I’m leaving the house early to teach my morning classes or get to the gym before work and need something substantial but quick to make!
  2. Smashed avocado with smoked salmon and poached eggs on toasted rye bread – for when I have a bit more time to prepare breakfast and want to eat some of my favourite things
  3. Protein pancakes topped with Nutella and banana – for when my Nutella obsession gets the better of me
What's your best strategy to stay motivated?

For me as a Psycle instructor it’s all about getting to know the riders, what makes them tick, what they love, what they find challenging, WHY they’re there. That really motivates me to provide them with a workout that their bodies and minds need. I absolutely love it when a rider approaches me after class to share their thoughts and their personal stories. It’s incredibly inspiring and I’m unbelievably grateful to be in a position where I can give them something back.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is…..

…to be happy and comfortable with who you are

When on holiday how do you balance pleasure with routine in relation to food?

On holiday I won’t be strict at all with what I’m eating. If I want to indulge in all my favourite foods then I will. But my body probably won’t feel incredible the next day so at that point it’s likely I’ll opt for something a little healthier. But on holiday, the body gets what the body wants. I still like to exercise - if my hotel has a gym then I'll do some weights or a HIIT session, and I love to try classes in the cities that I visit.

What’s your go-to snack food?
  1. Almonds – as well as being an instructor I work a full time 9-5 job in marketing. I have a never ending supply of almonds by my desk which I snack on throughout the day.
  2. Banana bread from Energy Kitchen – it’s what I imagine heaven tastes like
  3. Peanut butter protein balls from The Protein Ball Co. – came across these a few months ago and they’re great. The balls are all handmade using raw ingredients and they’re as tasty as they are healthy.
What are your top self-care tips post work out?
  1. STRETCH AND FOAM ROLL – I never used to stretch properly after working out whether that be post weights or cardio sessions. This led to several problems but I’ve been able to iron out by making sure I stretch and use a foam roller after each workout. Honestly I cannot recommend this enough!
  2. What you eat is important. If I’m in hurry (which I usually am) I tend to have a protein shake or grab a No Resistance smoothie with chocolate protein from Energy Kitchen after I’ve taught a class. This helps me recover and feel energised for the rest of the day.
  3. Epsom salt bath – if I’ve been teaching a lot then I love to soak in a bath with Epsom salts. The salts have nutrients that the skin can absorb and relax the muscles. It’s probably the only time I allow myself to listen to music you wouldn’t find in a Psycle studio as I’m constantly on a mission to find the best music for my classes so I get to relax the mind as well as the body. It’s also a perfect opportunity to be thankful for those things we’re sometimes a little too busy to appreciate.

What's your number one tip for how to stay motived?

Find something you love doing. I actually dislike most cardio training but in the past I would force myself to do it as I know how important it is for the body. But I could never stay motivated and would end up slacking. When I discovered Psycle as a rider three years ago I fell in love with it as it brought together music, rhythm, choreography and moving in unison in a fun environment which are all things I love and am passionate about. Being motivated to come back week after week and constantly improve was so much easier than in anything I’d done previously because the passion was there. There are so many different ways to workout, everyone can find something they love.

What are your top tips for how to keep your energy up?
  • Eat carbohydrates! So many people think being healthy means no carbs. It doesn’t. If you’re doing a lot of cardio and want to stay energised, it’s super important to get healthy, slow release carbs like brown rice, buckwheat etc. They're also essential for mood, blood sugar balance and help you push harder in classes.
  • Try to work out in the morning. I feel so much more energised having had a workout before heading into the office.
What’s the one bit of health advice you wish everyone would take?

Health is less about how you look and more about how you feel. You can be eating all the best foods and look incredible but if you’re not feeling good inside then you’re only part way there.

Quickfire questions…
  • Best healthy restaurant? Strut & Cluck in Shoreditch. Eastern Mediterranean, healthy, roasted and grilled goodness.
  • Favourite dessert? Apple crumble drenched in evaporated milk. Yes it has all the fat and all the sugar but does contain apples so I’m ticking at least one health box. And I bake it myself.
  • Favourite exercise? Rhythm riding!!
  • Least favourite exercise? Running on a treadmill at a consistent speed. Boredom sets in very quickly.
  • One thing you can’t live without? Music
  • Favourite smoothie? Tap back with chocolate protein from Energy Kitchen. Reminds me of a Chocolate & Mint Feast ice cream I used to have on holiday as a kid.
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