GLOBAL TV’S SOPHIE LUI: GET OUTSIDE… EARLY
By Carol Crenna
Global BC Morning News anchor Sophie Lui gets outside before sunrise — to tackle her morning commute. Here she talks with me about looking on the bright side even when it’s not bright outside.
CAROL: You don’t need to worry about gridlock during your morning commute.
SOPHIE LUI: No. I get up at 2:30 a.m. to be at the Global TV newsroom for 4:00 a.m. I like that there’s no traffic. It only takes me 17 minutes to get from Yaletown to the station in Burnaby. And darkness at 3:30 in the morning is really no different than darkness at 7:30 a.m.
CAROL: Do you get enough sleep?
SOPHIE LUI: My alarm clock goes off at 2:30, but I hit the snooze button several times. I usually don’t get to bed before 9:00 p.m. Lately I have been trying harder to go to sleep between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m., which gives me 5 hours. Last night I didn’t get home until 11:00 p.m. since I was dining out with some girlfriends; I can’t do that often because it meant I got three hours of sleep before work. So the answer is no, not always.
CAROL: You have to live, too.
SOPHIE LUI: Yes, and there is part of me that doesn’t want to go to bed that early. It’s not normal to have to. I sometimes get caught up in reading magazines or surfing the net so stay up later anyway. I am single, and have a boyfriend, but I don’t have kids. I try to accommodate my boyfriend’s hours because he obviously stays up later. He wakes up when my alarm clock goes off, too, so it can be difficult for him.
I get used to sleeping in different blocks of time throughout the day. I nap from five to 90 minutes during these times to catch up, and when I’m awake, I muster enough energy to be productive whenever I really need to be. For example, I’m leaving the newsroom now, and going straight to the gym, running on adrenaline to get me there. My personal trainer helps to push me from there. And if I have a few minutes before his appointment, I nap in my car.
CAROL: You can sleep in your car?
SOPHIE LUI: If I’m tired enough, I can sleep anywhere, and it’s rare that I can’t fall asleep when I need to. However, Sunday nights, after a normal weekend schedule, can be challenging to get to bed early enough. I can’t take a sedative because it would make me groggy for work. So when I can’t sleep, I just wait out the night. And instead of worrying about it, which doesn’t make the situation any better, I schedule time to make up the difference later.
CAROL: Can’t you take a mild sedative that wouldn’t make you groggy?
SOPHIE LUI: Generally, it would be too late to take anything by the time I realize there is an issue – like if I’ve been tossing and turning and I notice that it’s midnight – so I have to wake up in a couple of hours anyway. I used to drink Sleepytime (chamomile) tea, which helped, but I usually don’t have to anymore.
CAROL: Don’t you worry about not looking bright and refreshed on TV?
CAROL: Many people are driven indoors by rainy weather, but you go outside. How do you put yourself in that mindset?
SOPHIE LUI: Lack of sunshine affects me, but exercise really helps my state of mind. I was not active most of my life; I was never good at athletics, and I wasn’t a kid that grew up with group sports, so it didn’t occur to me until three years ago that I should try exercising. But at 39, I am fitter now than I ever have been before. I don’t run or cycle well, but I find it motivating to have a goal to train for.
I completed the Ride to Conquer Cancer and Vancouver First Half ½ Marathon this year; I have done the Sun Run twice, and the Tough Mudder, a hard-core 18-kilometre obstacle course, three times in Seattle and Whistler. I wrote a blog on my last experience with it called “Playing the mud.”
CAROL: And you only started exercising three years ago?
SOPHIE LUI: Yes. I wish I had begun a lot earlier. I feel so much better now. If I don’t work out, I’m more irritable and less optimistic.
CAROL: How do you train?
SOPHIE LUI: I run or walk on the seawall, which is very close to where I live, and I do it rain or shine. If you wear the proper gear, it’s not difficult to cycle or run outdoors in any weather. Once you’re going, it gets easier, especially if you train with friends who motivate you along the way. Whether it’s a workout buddy or the personal trainer that I have twice a week, I find that if I’ve committed to a certain time, I don’t want to keep them waiting so I show up.
CAROL: Do you do any other activities?
SOPHIE LUI: I’m finally learning how to swim. I’m taking private lessons with a swimming coach.
CAROL: Maybe you have innate athletic ability that you didn’t know about.
SOPHIE LUI: I don’t think so. Eleven years ago, I weighed 15 pounds more than now after I quit smoking.
CAROL: You must have a flexible meal plan for your work schedule and activities.
SOPHIE LUI: Breakfast can be a logistical nightmare. I make a smoothie the night before and store it in the fridge for morning — made with banana, frozen mango, plain yogurt or almond milk, hemp or Vega (pea and rice) protein powder, and ginger.
Since I am usually cooking for one, I make no-fuss one-pot or one-pan meals with lots of vegetables. I make up recipes: this week it was a pan of broccolini, chickpeas and Italian sausage, and I made enough for lots of leftovers. It takes five minutes to chop everything and throw it together.
CAROL: What is your downfall food?
SOPHIE LUI: I don’t have a sweet tooth. But I love anything that has potatoes, including chips and French fries. It’s comfort food. I try not to have them at home because I’ll eat them all.
CAROL: You are turning 40 soon. Does it worry you?
SOPHIE LUI: I am happy with my age. That’s implying happy right now — meaning I don’t want to be any older! I am okay with aging as long as I’m healthy, and able to do the things I can do now. I am lucky that my heritage hides my age. I don’t have a lot of wrinkles. But I have seen changes since I started this Global time slot; sleep deprivation shows on skin. Also, I have been on camera since 1999, and wearing a lot of makeup five days a week affects skin, too.
CAROL: You don’t have kids. Does that bother you at 40?
SOPHIE LUI: It is on my mind. We do run out of time. I don’t know for sure that I want kids, but I’ll have to make up my mind very soon.
A portion of this interview by Carol Crenna was published on Canada Wide Media’s www.bcliving.ca website.