Lifestyles - Michael Lyster

Top RTE television presenter, Michael Lyster, believes in the 'five pieces of fruit a day' philosophy on good health.

The 46-year-old Galway man has been presenting the station's flagship GAA programme 'The Sunday Game' since its inception in the early eighties and faces a particularly heavy weekend schedule during the summer Championship season.

Married with four children, Lyster admits that the summer schedule often impinges on diet and exercise but, as much as possible, he tries to consume the recommended quantity of fruit.

He reveals to "it's the one aspect of my diet that I'm pretty consistent with. The point is I actually like fruit so it's not exactly an imposition. In my earlier days with RTE, when I was single and worked primarily on radio, I tended to eat a lot of fried breakfasts.

"The problem was I used be up at the crack of dawn to present the early morning sports bulletins and, by mid-morning, invariably had a huge hunger. The only thing that would satisfy me was a fry. And I just didn't have the willpower to deny myself."

Married to Anne, a keen tennis player, Michael's diet is now far more sensible. He reflects "I like to chop up some fruit — be it bananas, grapefruit, melons, peaches, apples, whatever — and mix it with natural yoghurt for breakfast.

"I also mix fruit with Allbran, muesli or Bran Flakes.

"Throughout the summer, dinner usually consists of a salad of some sort — maybe chicken or, occasionally, smoked salmon. But I can never resist chips if they’re available so, sometimes, a perfectly healthy dinner can be ruined by my insistence on a greasy side order."

Lyster burns off the calories with regular games of football on the astro-turf pitch at Loughlinstown Leisure Centre and is also an accomplished rally driver, taking in many of the country’s top international events when TV scheduling permits.

He reveals "I absolutely despise jogging but am happy to exercise for hours if there's a ball to be chased. Funnily enough, the rallying is a great way to lose a few pounds too.

"It can be quite stressful in a rally car at speeds of up to 120mph or more on country roads and, with the mandatory fire-proof suit and underwear, you can lose a fair amount of weight through perspiration.

"The key is to keep the car between the ditches because, if you retire early from an event, you invariably end up spending longer than intended at the bar!"

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