An Apple a day gets sports editor healthy

Final health check and body composition test for Guardian Sports Editor Graham Smyth, pictured from left Andrew Bishop, Steve Chambers, Graham Smyth and Katie Solomons (w121012-2a)
Final health check and body composition test for Guardian Sports Editor Graham Smyth, pictured from left Andrew Bishop, Steve Chambers, Graham Smyth and Katie Solomons (w121012-2a)

SIX months after walking into Apple Health and Fitness on Bridge Place, out of shape and unhealthy, sports editor Graham Smyth has completed his

#getgrahamfit campaign.

And following one final body composition test and health screening, his results are in.

In his final fitness blog, the 29-year-old reveals how the experts at Apple turned his health around and what happens next.

FOR perhaps the first time in my adult life, in terms of fitness at least, I have been weighed and not been found wanting.

In six short months, the boys and girls at Apple Health and Fitness have turned me from a sedantry sports-desk bound 29-year-old into a healthy-eating gym addict.

After countless personal training sessions, spinning classes, kettlebell routines, lunchbreaks spent lifting weights, running and road cycling, my moment of truth came as I visited health expert James Richardson on Friday.

James works for Annurca, the health and wellbeing wing of Apple, and he took blood, weighed me, tested my strength, lung power and flexibility.

He also shot an electric current through my body, to determine what it was made up of.

The first result of note was my weight, now 83kg, almost six kilos heavier than when I started.

This may sound like a backward step, but the next result shows the opposite – my bodyfat is now 16.7 per cent. Six months ago it was 21.2 per cent.

I’ve put on over eight kilos of muscle, so I might be heavier, but my body has a much better composition than before.

The number of calories I burn while at rest has increased by over 100, my lung capacity is up, my handgrip strength has improved by six kilos and my blood pressure, cholesterol and resting heart beat are all excellent.

In summation, I feel great, look better and my health has improved.

What they did at Apple was keep me interested and motivated to train, with a really wide range of exercise, quite literally something different every day.

As the months progressed the intensity of the training sessions picked up, as did the frequency. I was training five times a week for the last month or so.

I lifted more weight, set new personal best times on the rowing machine and recovered better between sessions.

Those things all contributed to a pleasing set of final results, and a new found love of exercise.

But more than that, and perhaps the number one factor in getting fitter, my lifestyle changed.

I wasn’t just going to the gym on my lunchbreak and sweating for 40 minutes. I started eating the right amount of the right foods, and drinking plenty of water.

The exercise left my body needing sleep, so I went to bed earlier and felt brighter the next day.

Going to the gym became part of my daily routine, so it was never a chore.

And there is undoubtedly a confidence and morale boost that accompanies an improved physique.

While it wasn’t the most scientific of tests – most people wouldn’t have so many personal training sessions each week – the staff at Apple proved their excellence.

I had to put in some hard work, make some changes and stay disciplined, but they had to know when I had done enough, look out for injuries and provide the right kind of training day in and day out.

There is no doubt that the accountability they gave me, kept this health kick on track.

So a heartfelt thank you to Katie Solomons, Joe Palmer, Joe Smith, Tom Wilde and Andy Bishop for ‘beasting’ me, James Richardson and David Maiden at Annurca for the nutrition advice and gym manager Steve Chambers for keeping a watchful eye on my training and using his sports massage skills to stop niggles from becoming injuries.

By no means am I now an athlete, or a finished article. I’m still lacking any real flexibility and would like to get stronger. But I’m incredibly satisfied and proud of my efforts for the past six months.

And it’s time for a new challenge. Namely, a triathlon. Steve, putting on his Bassetlaw Triathlon Club hat, gave me the hard sell on the sport, and I bought it.

The next six months will see me swimming, cycling and running on my lunchbreaks, and with any luck completing a sprint triathlon event.

The #getgrahamfit campaign ends, and the #trisomethingnew campaign begins.