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Insider Life with fitness entrepreneur Brian Lee


Brian Lee at Chopped

Brian Lee at Chopped

Brian Lee at Chopped

Brian Lee is the MD and co-owner of Fit Studios and co-owner of healthy food company Chopped. He lives in Beaumont with his partner, Sinead.

"I'm not one for getting up too bright and early: 8am is probably the earliest I'd be awake. Still, I have a long working day ahead of me, from 9am until about 9pm. The first thing I do each morning is have a shower to freshen myself up for the day and have a good healthy breakfast, like an omelette with dried oats, spices and honey.

Most mornings I head to the gym and work out before I start work, because I know it'll set me up for the day. I spend an hour working out, six days a week. I break it up into body parts so one morning I'll be working on my chest, and on another I'll do my arms. Chris Fields (MMA/UFC fighter) is training me at the moment too; I'm entering my first competition as a hobby. I just need something to do to challenge the brain. In the gym down in Fairvew, there's plenty of day-to-day managing that needs to be done. I need to keep on top of all the current trends in training. I have to be the person setting those trends, and not following them. Sinead works with me, so I see her more than most people see their partners. She's a world-class kickboxer - she's on the Irish squad - so we train together. A lot of the time, she's off travelling, but when it comes to living and working together, so far so good.

During the week, I eat out of the business. The food we make in Chopped is what we recommend to everyone who trains at the gym. I have the production kitchen near my office, so I can regularly pick up food from there. That's why it's so easy for me to stay in shape: the good nutrition is close at hand every day.

I love setting up businesses. I remember at the age of 11, I found out the price of a lawnmower, which I still remember was £117. I headed off to the shopping centre and got some business cards printed up with my mum's phone number on them. She was wondering why all these elderly ladies were ringing the house to talk to her 11-year-old son! As a teenager, I used to sell stuff in the markets every year at Christmas. I think my dad, who had his own building company, was a big influence and taught me the value of money and hard work. I remember one teacher telling me that I'd always be a waster... I'd love to bump into them now!

I had a property management company and a convenience store on Store Street, which I got with the money I made from my time as a carpenter. My business partner (Andy Chen) and I were thinking of ideas and at the end of 2011, we were mulling on the idea of starting Chopped. We knew from having the convenience store that there was a huge opportunity to launch a company that did healthy food on the go.

Still, we didn't expect it to go as well as it has. Something inside me craves more new businesses. I like to set up the management system, get it right over time and then move onto the next one.

I don't have a family right now, so this is my life and I enjoy every minute of it. With all my friends, they're engaged and having children; there are very few of us in the gang that aren't right now. If I do go out - and it's only every few months - I make sure I really enjoy myself and let my hair down. Then I come back to normal. People say to me all the time, 'all you ever do is work, work, work', but I enjoy it. It's not like I'm sitting behind a desk.

In the evenings, I like to plan ahead for the next day; sorting out details of meetings. I do like to find time in the day to meet people for coffee; more often than not we'll end up talking about business ideas, but hey, it's what I enjoy.

I try and relax in the evenings but it takes time to unwind after such a busy day. At the moment, I'm watching Love/Hate, which everyone seems to be watching. I've been watching Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead too. I love to watch football and try to get one Manchester United game in on the weekend. Right now, I feel that's my social life in a nutshell.

I like reading autobiographies - I read the Duncan Bannatyne one in two days. I related to it a lot; he didn't go to college either, and learned about his business by being out in the real world. Reading these books helps to distract me and take my mind off what's coming ahead the next day."

For more information see www.chopped.ie // www.fitstudios.ie

Irish Independent