The shape I’m in: Michael Lyster, RTÉ sports broadcaster

THOUGH Michael Lyster suffered a serious heart attack in June, he is not about to start fretting about his health.

“You’ve got to get on with your life. The is no point in jumping on and off weighing scales and taking your blood pressure every half hour,” says the RTÉ sports broadcaster.

Aged 61, he is back at work and, though he has yet to return to the gym, he has kept up his old routine.

His relaxed approach may have something to do with a new defibrillator, fitted inside his chest.

“There is no difference to the one that’s on the wall of an office. The only difference is that I don’t need someone to spend 15 minutes trying to figure out how to work it. If something goes wrong it’s the first step towards dealing with the problem.”

He is aware of the possibility of another unannounced attack, but, ever the journalist, it’s the facts he sticks to.

“I was on medication for heart problems when I had this event. I’m afraid with the heart there are no guarantees — it’s just one of those kind of things that can suddenly go wrong on you.”

Married to Anne, they have four children, Mark, 26, Rebecca, 23, Helen, 21 and Jack, 19.

* Michael is an ambassador for The HeartBeat mobile cardiac screening service, provided by Laya healthcare, which sees a purpose-built Lidl double decker bus visit 61 locations across the country screening 3,200 Lidl staff.

What shape are you in?

I feel fine. I would play a bit of golf but I wouldn’t be an avid golfer. I like cycling. There is a public park beside my house, so I usually go for a few spins around that. If the weather is nice, I’ll go for a walk in the evening.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I try and watch my diet but I’m not fanatical about it. I don’t have myself on measured carbs or anything. 

In fact, I’ve just eaten a sausage sandwich. I never had a sweet tooth. I also try and drink less during the week.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Listening to music. I’m a big fan of the Monkees from the ’60s. I have all their albums on vinyl along with remastered, repackaged CDs. 

The thing about the Monkees was their songwriters turned out to be some very famous — people like Neil Diamond, Carole King and Harry Nilsson and writers of that calibre.

What would keep you awake at night?

Very little apart from my wife snoring. She would probably say exactly the same thing about me. I’m not a worrier.

How do you relax?

I could sit all Monday reading the weekend and Monday papers. I also like to read sports magazines and music magazines and listening to music. Sometimes, I just like to sit down and watch telly. I switch off easily.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

David Bowie; given my motor sport background, I’d want Lewis Hamilton, and maybe some good looking actress to spice things up.

What’s your favourite smell?

The smell of newly cut grass — it has evocative memories and reminds me of going to GAA matches as a kid because if there was a big match at Tuam stadium or in Castlebar they usually have the grass cut for the match.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

We are what we are. I don’t have any hang-ups about appearances or anything like that. We are god-given and that’s fine.

When is the last time you cried?

When my mother passed away in 2010. That was a closure because my father had died previous to that. It’s an end of an era when your parents pass away — you’ve definitely moved on to a different stage of your life.

What traits do you least like in others?

I don’t like people who are trying to be smart asses. Or people who think they are the funniest person in the room, which I usually find profoundly boring.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

Little things. I sometimes go off in mini daydreams in company and disengage and later think I should have made a better effort.

Do you pray?

I’m not particularly religious. I would see a spirituality out there in life but if you were to ask me if I say direct prayers, I’d say no.

What would cheer up your day?

Apart from winning the Lotto, I’m fairly good at cheering up my own day. If I get into a day where things are not going right, I take myself out of it and do something else.


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