In this month’s edition of Be Inspired, we speak to Craig Smart, a long-term member of Bolton Arena Gym.
Craig first joined Bolton Arena Gym in 2011, two years after having his second open heart surgery due to a condition he has had from birth named Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four congenital heart abnormalities.
Aiming to get fit and improve his strength and flexibility, Craig chose to come to Bolton Arena Gym as it is local to his workplace. In 2018, after a brief time away trying out other gyms, Craig returned to the Arena, citing the friendly staff as one of his reasons for doing so. He is now settled into a routine on coming in early around 6:30am and seeing familiar faces each day.
Craig went on to say that “the gym is also a great motivational and release tool. It allows me to have time to myself, to manage my thoughts and gives me something to look forward to. I can take myself away from the stresses of daily life and focus on my fitness.
A recommendation from Craig was to get information from our instructors if you are ever unsure of anything. Craig seeked assurance from our instructors in regards to how hard he should be pushing himself after having a heart operation.
Training at Bolton Arena Gym has helped Craig’s mental toughness, which has led him onto several achievements including dropping his weight from 80kg to 65kg and also participating and succeeding in events such as the Wigan 10k and Manchester Marathon Relay.
In terms of inspiration, Craig is a new father and uses his daughter as inspiration to stay active and healthy as he wants to set a good example to his family, whilst also being able to participate in sport-based activities with her. Another form of inspiration comes from Craig’s wife, former Olympic GB Swimmer, Helen Don-Duncan, who competed at the Sydney 2000 Olympics in backstroke and with her vigorous training schedule e.g. waking up in the early hours of the morning to train, this inspired Craig to follow her lead and do the same. Craig now supports others and introduced a weight loss challenge to his work colleagues. Approximately 20 staff members took part in the challenge and they collectively lost over 150Ibs over an 8 week period.
Thank you for sharing your story and recovery journey, with us Craig.