Week three - sports editor in a spin

THREE weeks into a health and fitness regime, sports editor Graham Smyth is slowly feeling the benefits of his lunchtime sessions at Apple Fitness in Worksop.

Here is the latest instalment of his sport blog – you can follow his progress on Twitter using the hashtag #getgrahamfit or via @GrahamSmyth and @Applegymworksop

SPINNING. It’s a vicious cycle.

I’m not long back from a lunchtime spinning class at Apple, with the boss man Steve Chambers.

It’s my second spin class in three weeks, a period of time that has seen me experience kettle bells, circuits, boxercise and sports massage.

And I can honestly say that today felt like progress.

For once I didn’t limp into the gym, still stiff and sore from a previous session.

The 40-minute session was tough, intense, but I got through it and even right in the last hill climb I was able to push through and ask my body for more.

It really is a torturous exercise, your legs whirling round and round non stop for that amount of time.

The class is set to music, with hill climbs starting in time with choruses and fast paced ‘flat out’ periods during upbeat and uptempo dance or pop songs.

Class instructor and gym boss Steve Chambers, a former footballer, drove four of us along with his always encouraging and sometimes challenging commentary.

We conquered a series of climbs on the fixed wheel bikes, and heartrates reached their very maximum.

The first time I did the class my calf muscles cramped up quite badly, after just 15 minutes.

This time round they hurt like the rest of me, but not unduly.

If my work rate was measured by the sweat tide mark on my grey tshirt, I can hold my head up high.

Steve, and instructors Katie and Matt, have been brilliant with me so far.

A bit of positive vocal affirmation goes a long way when it comes to me and physical exertions.

On Monday Matt put me through a session he called ‘countdown’ (the names of his sessions are much more fun than the reality).

This involved decreasing repetitions of the same four exercises for multiple sets, with 500m blasts on the rower in between.

So 20 press ups, 20 clean and press with 15kg on a barbell, 20 lunges and 20 squats, then 500m on the rower.

Without any rest, 18 press ups, 18 clean and press with 15kg, 18 lunges and 18 squats, followed by 500m on the rower.

And so on, and so forth until time ran out.

My energy ran out as well as all my strength and will to live – but I kept going.

Matt not only encourages me with little challenges to keep going or dig deep, but he does some of the exercise alongside me and it makes a real difference.

On Wednesday I was with Matt again, and the session was split in two.

For the first half I did seven sets of 10 burpees, 10 box jumps, 10 bench hops and 10 press ups.

The burpees were by far the hardest thing to do, perhaps because my legs were still sore from Monday’s beasting.

But again, with Matt’s support I tried to do everything asked of me.

Then it was all about my core, and my previously non existent abs.

He put together a string of abdominal crunches, with names like ‘crunchy frog’.

These were a real challenge – give me an intense cardio workout anyday.

Three weeks in I’m starting to notice a little in the way of progress in a physical sense, my arms and legs in particular have toned ever so slightly.

Every little helps, and I feel like I have momentum.

Perhaps my targets of dropping body fat (by seven per cent) and decreasing my waist line (by 10cm) aren’t as impossible as they sound.

So far, so tough. So good.