Penultimate week of sports editor’s training

WITH one week left of his six month campaign to get fit at Apple Health and Fitness, sports editor Graham Smyth blogs on his progress.

Follow his daily sessions with the experts at Apple on twitter @GrahamSmyth or @applegymworksop or use the hashtag #getgrahamfit.

THIS week has felt like one great big personal best.

Just one week remains of the #getgrahamfit challenge, and I could not be happier with my progress.

Next week I’ll go into detail on how the boys and girls at Apple have changed my lifestyle, and body, but for now I’ll give a little insight into my penultimate week of training.

As for the past couple of weeks, I trained with Andy Bishop from Monday to Thursday.

The road cyclist has been putting me through various circuits, designed to give my whole body a workout.

There has been plenty of weightlifting, cardio and lots of post-routine stretching to ensure I can get back into the gym the next day and carry on.

The undoubted highlight of this week was the personal best I managed to set on the rowing machine.

When I began training, I couldn’t quite break the two minute mark for 500m.

But on Tuesday, under the watchful eye of Andy and a couple of lads shadowing him for the day, I did the 500m in 1.44 - a full 16 seconds faster than my initial efforts.

This was a real boost, and an indication of how far my fitness has come.

Don’t get me wrong, I was far from fresh when I got off the rower, I was blowing and my pre-training flapjack felt like it was rising ominously from my stomach.

I was delighted, however, and able to carry on the rest of the session with a bit of a spring in my step.

This week also saw me lifting more weight, bench pressing a good 10kg more than I was able to six weeks or so ago.

And a new exercise introduced by Andy was a bit of ‘jump rope’ - not just playground fun for little girls.

He set up the rope, tied round four dumbbells, so that I could stand between two tracks and jump inside them, outside, left to right.

This, after a minute, really had my legs burning. But it was a good cardio workout and good for getting explosive power.

The down side to this week is a little niggle I have in my right knee, but one of the benefits of training at Apple has been their eagerness to keep an eye on any possible injuries and tailor my training accordingly.

I’ve also had sports massage with Steve Chambers, and he’s kept on top of any muscles that have got overly tight as I’ve got stronger.

Today will see me join the Friday lunchtime spinning class, one last chance to feel horrendous for 45 minutes before the post-session elation kicks in.

And then it’s into the final week, when I’ll be giving it absolutely everything to finish on a high before my body composition and health check.

The results should be interesting, compared with those from the first tests half a year ago.

Favourite exercise of the week - bench press (10 reps, times three)

Least favourite exercise of the week - high dumbbell squats (10 reps, times three) or tricep dips (with a powerbag on my legs, 10 reps, times three)