Catching up with MasterChef star and cookbook author Hayden Quinn

Catching up with MasterChef star and cookbook author Hayden Quinn

Australia first got to know Hayden Quinn back in 2011, as the down-to-earth surf lifesaver with a passion for cooking on Masterchef Australia. Hayden has since become a TV regular, won CLEO Bachelor of the Year and written a healthy cookbook called Dish It Up (Murdoch; $35). When he’s not whipping up fresh creations in the kitchen, you’ll often find Hayden surfing and practising yoga. Or training at The Cube Gym, a functional fitness studio in Sydney’s Brookvale, which Hayden recently opened with a couple of his best mates.

How do you start your day?

I generally start the day with some sort of movement. I love my yoga and practice down at Power Living in Manly . Following that I usually take a little walk and swim to freshen up. Then it is off to The Cube Gym to make sure everyone is happy. And of course I eat!

What does being healthy mean to you?

For me it’s life. As obvious as that sounds, being healthy is what drives me to make the choices I make. If I’m not healthy, I’m not happy. And if I’m not happy then I can’t create all the things in my world that I want. When you live a very busy life you rely almost solely on how your body is going to react under stressful and intense situations. To be able to fully handle these moments and times you need to be healthy. Health for me doesn’t just mean having a ripped body. That is only a very small part of it. The largest part is having a healthy mind. I think this is probably one of the biggest things we neglect.

How do you nourish your body?

Balance is my whole life philosophy. I never hold back on anything, nor do I ever want to deny myself the pleasures this world provides. I just don’t go crazy. I eat small amounts, regularly, and I eat a lot of good quality food. I got told by a witch doctor that I have a very active spirit and I must feed it regularly. So I do! Food isn’t just something we eat three times a day. It is a ritual and our fuel.

We know you love to cook. What are some of your go-to healthy meals?

It’s funny because I have just come back from South Africa where I was filming a 13-part food series, but I came away feeling like I had barely done any cooking! We cooked a lot but not the sort of cooking you would imagine. It was more ‘TV cooking’. However, I love being at home, in my kitchen, creating tasty, wholesome meals to share with family and friends. That for me is cooking. As for the healthy go-to meal, I always get asked about good lunch options. At the moment I am hooked on a super simple dish which I picked up in Italy, basically it is just beans or chickpeas with sustainable tuna, salt, pepper, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and some slices of red onions. Quick, easy and something you can throw together in two minutes!

Any health secrets you swear by?

Get up, get moving and eat within half an hour of waking. If I am doing yoga I won’t eat beforehand but if I am doing endurance work, like a run or a ski paddle, I will eat before a workout. I believe this early movement and eating just after waking promotes a better metabolism.

What’s your approach to exercise?

I love variety. I have always been very active and I find that if I keep my body guessing, by doing different stuff, it really responds well. In the past I have done a lot of long distance cardio and endurance stuff, like surf ski paddling and swimming. But that takes a lot of time, and these days I don’t have enough time to dedicate to that level of training. So it is now about strength, conditioning and utilising a variety of high-intensity functional movements. That is what we do down at The Cube Gym.

How do you train?

Basically as above, but I also supplement the high-intensity stuff with a lot of more mellow exercises like yoga in the mornings.

What are some of your fave active wear labels?

We have our own clothing range at the gym so I basically wear our gear. I also love a Hurly stretch boardie to train in; whether I’m in the gym, running or yoga.

How do you stay healthy while travelling?

It can be so hard. But I do always pack my training gear, no matter how long or short the trip is. I then look up the closest functional gym to my hotel and go for it. It’s a great way to meet people. Also, as a gym owner, it is nice to see how other people are doing it.

What’s a common mistake guys make when it comes to health and fitness?

Too much crappy protein powder.

What’s your fave healthy indulgence?

Red wine. That’s good for you right? And it has to be Kooks. An awesome new wine label which I am apart of. We label ourselves as ‘the positively good wine company’ with 50% of profits going to charitable causes and crazy capers.

How do you beat stress?

I am currently doing Trevor Hendy’s Bootcamp for the Soul. It focuses on learning how to live your best life and changing the way you live from your head, back into the heart. It really is an amazing step-by-step interactive program which really gets you thinking. I have personally known Trev for about three years now and he has always been a guiding light when I needed some advice.

Do you have a personal mantra or quote that resonates with you?

Live life. Eat well. Travel far.

Name three things you can’t live without.

Water, love and movement.

Visit Hayden’s website or connect with him on Instagram @hayden_quinn