THE first phase of sports editor Graham Smyth’s fitness drive is over – and the results are in.
Graham has been put through the ringer by the experts at Apple Fitness in Worksop, with the aim of improving his health and reducing his expanding waistline.
Here is the latest instalment of his weekly blog, which can be seen at www.worksopguardian.co.uk/sport
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TWELVE weeks ago the good folk at Apple Fitness told me my current lifestyle was leading to health problems.
In the past three years my waistline had expanded by a staggering 10cm, I was inflexible, unfit and no where near as strong as someone my age should be.
Spending all day sat down, not getting enough exercise and eating portions that were too big of food that was too unhealthy was taking a toll.
So gym manager Steve Chambers set me on a course to change all that, with visits to Apple on my lunchbreaks three times a week.
I’ve gone to spinning classes, been put through torturous circuits by the personal training team, experimented with kettlebells, boxercise, crossfit, sports massage and changed my diet.
And last Friday I went through the same health check that set alarm bells ringing three months ago, to see if I’m shaping up.
The results were pleasing, for the most part, with enough to work on to keep me motivated for phase two.
My body fat percentage, previously 21.2 per cent, has dropped to 16.1 per cent – well inside the ‘healthy’ range for someone of my age.
My flexibility is up from 10.5cm to 14.5cm. This is a surprisingly good increase for someone who sits at a desk all day, because inflexibility leads to back problems.
The handgrip strength test previously yielded a well-below-par result of 34kg, but last Friday I scored 38kg – another increase.
For me perhaps the best result was the reduction in my waistline, which has dropped from 91cm to 86cm.
I actually weigh more now than I did when I started the fitness drive, but that’s nothing to worry about. I’ve lost fat and put on muscle, so my body has a better make up than it did before.
Blood pressure, resting heart rate and cholesterol were all fine before and have remained so. In fact my cholesterol is now so good it’s off the ‘heart disease risk’ chart.
The not so good news came from my performance in the lung function and lung power test.
Neither have these have improved significantly, which means my lungs are still only working at 94 per cent of their potential power, and containing 98 per cent of their potential capacity.
Over the next 12 weeks I hope to lift those figures by working harder on cardio exercise, and getting completely out of breath through training.
I also want to increase my handgrip strength, to get nearer to the expected results for someone of my age, and continue to drop body fat.
That means lifting heavier weights or doing more intense strength training.
All of which I’m quite happy to do, because I’m more motivated to train than ever before in my 29 years on the planet.
The positive gains in 12 weeks have been a massive boost to my confidence, I’m feeling great, have more energy and the changes have been noticed by family and friends.
Of course I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Steve, his team of trainers Tom Wilde, Joe Palmer, Joe Smith and Katie Solomons, and health and nutrition gurus James Richardson and Dave Maiden.
James and Dave form the ‘Annurca’ side of the business, providing health advice and assistance to individuals, sportsmen and women and companies.
My diet has improved thanks to their advice and the keeping of a food diary, which I’ll detail in an online blog in the next few weeks.
Steve and the training team have kept me focused, tailored training to my availability, pushed me and looked after me for three months.
But I also feel a measure of pride for staying on track, remaining reasonably disciplined with my diet and fighting through tiredness or apathy to train.