Fly­ing re­sults

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Stephen Byrne | The Shape I’m In - Es­ther McCarthy

HAV­ING some­times ex­pe­ri­enced panic at­tacks over re­cent years, 2fm pre­sen­ter Stephen Byrne is very aware of the im­por­tance of ex­er­cise to his men­tal and phys­i­cal well­be­ing. Ex­er­cis­ing is a huge help in keep­ing them at bay, he says. “It’s the best way for me to pre­vent panic at­tacks. Good en­dor­phins make me feel good about work­ing to­wards a goal. Ex­er­cis­ing is com­pletely the best way of man­ag­ing it. It’s a very big pos­i­tive but the [down­side] is you feel bad if you don’t do it.”

Stephen, 28, has been in the me­dia in­dus­try for over a decade, hav­ing be­come a YouTube star when he was 16. The Dublin na­tive has pre­sented RTÉ’s TwoTube and The Voice of Ire­land as well as The Leav­ing Cert, an RTÉ doc­u­men­tary which saw him re­cently re­turn to school to re­peat the State ex­ams. “I did the Leav­ing Cert when I was younger but I never opened my re­sults, I shred­ded them. I wanted to shine a light on what they can do to the men­tal health of young peo­ple. And to re­turn, step back, to the per­son I was when I was 19 and con­nect with that kid.”

He fre­quently flies abroad to in­ter­view fa­mous faces for work. “This month alone I have 12 trips to Lon­don with peo­ple like Lit­tle Mix and Steve Carell. It’s great but it’s very busy and you have to take care of your­self.”

Byrne is an am­bas­sador for Bus Éire­ann’s Go Places com­pe­ti­tion 2018/19, an ini­tia­tive which en­cour­ages tran­si­tionyear stu­dents to ex­press their cre­ativ­ity by cap­tur­ing mem­o­ries of their school jour­ney.

The Stephen Byrne Show is on 2FM ev­ery Satur­day and Sun­day from 1pm-4pm.

What shape are you in? I try to work out three days a week, but I travel a lot so it can be dif­fi­cult. I try to main­tain a healthy level of work­ing out. It puts me in good shape men­tally and phys­i­cally.

What are your health­i­est eat­ing habits? I’m on the road so much, I find I don’t have time to cook and can end up snack­ing. I use a meal prepa­ra­tion ser­vice just so I know I’m eat­ing the cor­rect food. I would eat healthily enough, you feel so much bet­ter. Good fresh food is the best thing.

What are your guilti­est plea­sures? I love a pizza. I love just or­der­ing a mas­sive pizza and eat­ing it all. I’m a bit of a freak — I love an­chovies as a top­ping. That and a big bag of sweets. I’m ei­ther one way or the other — re­ally healthy or fall­ing into the depths of carbs and sugar.

What would keep you awake at night? Work. I’m a sucker for com­ing up with ideas and think­ing of things late in the evening. I don’t get to sleep un­til 3am most nights which is some­thing I re­ally need to fix. Some­times I over­sleep to com­pen­sate.

How do you re­lax? I love just switch­ing on Fifa and play­ing for two or three hours on my PlayS­ta­tion. Peo­ple are usu­ally sur­prised — they see me as nei­ther a gamer nor a foot­ball fan. Gam­ing holds my con­cen­tra­tion and helps me re­lax.

Who would you in­vite to your dream din­ner party? I would love to sit at a ta­ble with Fred­die Mer­cury, Prince, Roisin Mur­phy, and my sis­ter Lisa. That would be a whop­per party!

What’s your favourite smell? That would be my grand­mother’s scones. She lives in a house that’s at­tached to my par­ents’ house, I love when the smell floats in.

What would you change about your ap­pear­ance? I like chang­ing my hair when I’m bored. But this is a time in my life when I feel com­fort­able in my skin. I’ve got a con­fi­dence I def­i­nitely didn’t have in the last cou­ple of years. I’m gay, and in the gay world there is a pres­sure on guys to fit a cer­tain mould. It was a pres­sure I felt for a cou­ple of years but now I feel like I’m happy with the way I am.

When did you last cry? I am a crier. I do love a good cry. Two weeks ago I was hav­ing a chat with a friend. We’d had a dis­agree­ment and I cried. I’m very in touch with my emo­tions — I def­i­nitely cried dur­ing the Leav­ing Cert!

What traits do you least like in oth­ers? Dis­hon­esty. Not be­ing able to trust some­one is the most dif­fi­cult thing.

What traits do you least like about your­self? I don’t like the fact that I worry too much about what other peo­ple think. I’d get very in­se­cure about the idea that peo­ple don’t think I’m a good per­son.

Do you pray? I don’t. I used to, but I wouldn’t have an af­fil­i­a­tion with the church. But I’d have an affin­ity with spir­i­tu­al­ity and good karma.

What would cheer up your day? I love a good hug. Es­pe­cially from my mum Claire.

“I don’t get to sleep un­til 3am most nights”

Pic­ture: Ja­son Clarke

MOVE IT: 2fm pre­sen­ter Stephen Byrne is an am­bas­sador for Bus Éire­ann’s Go Places com­pe­ti­tion for tran­si­tion year stu­dents.

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