Back on the wagon

Graham Smyth with Matt Wilde from Apple Fitness in Worksop w120414-1a
Graham Smyth with Matt Wilde from Apple Fitness in Worksop w120414-1a

GUARDIAN sports editor Graham Smyth is back on the ‘health wagon’ and attempting to improve his vital statistics...

Until you realise that’s how much your waist has grown in three years.

This was the bombshell dropped on me just before Easter by the experts at Apple Health and Fitness Centre.

I had popped in for a health screening, after falling off the exercise wagon in recent months.

In truth I haven’t been on the wagon for about three years, although I’ve shown an interest here and there.

Since last summer I’ve spent some time at Manton ABC, learning how to box. I loved it.

But their three evening sessions only equated to one workout per week for me, due to family and work commitments, or ‘non negotiables’ as I call them.

A lack of time, motivation and energy were my downfall.

And so one week off became two, for one reason or another, and all of a sudden it’s been a month, then two, and then comes the ‘dread’ – that knowledge that the next time you exercise it’s going to hurt. A lot.

I had to take action, having become sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

I’m determined to return to boxing, but in order to do it properly I need to be fit.

Getting home in the evening having sat at a computer all day, only to sit in front of the television or laptop, was taking a toll.

A full health screening at Apple revealed that in three years my waistline had expanded, my body fat had gone up from 15 per cent to over 22 per cent and outside the healthy range for someone of my age, height and body type.

It came as no surprise to me that my lung capacity and function were dire, my flexibility atrocious and my hand grip strength way below par.

I’m out of shape.

The good news is that my cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels were all fine.

But continuing down my path of inactivity would soon see to that.

The best news of all was that Steve Chambers, manager at Apple, and his team of personal trainers believe they can help get me in shape in the limited time I have spare – in essence, my lunch breaks.

And with a varied regime including kettlebells, spinning and sports massage, Steve reckons he’ll have enough to keep me interested, and give me enough to write about to keep you interested.

Hopefully it will provide an insight into a strategy for getting healthy, despite a busy lifestyle, office job, demanding family etcetera.

The keys for me will be accountability – it’s much harder to wimp out of a gym session if someone’s waiting there for you – and targets.

I want my body fat to return to the ‘healthy’ range, and perhaps even get it lower than 15 per cent.

The 10cm on the waistline has to go as well.

To follow my progress as I blog on all matters fitness, health, nutrition and sport science, visit our website at or follow @GrahamSmyth and @AppleGymWorksop on twitter.

If you have questions you want the Apple experts to answer, send them to and I’ll include them in my weekly updates.