The Lazy Journalist at the King Alfred - Reversing the damage done by a thrice-cooked chip blip

Triple cooked chippies from the Brighthelm Street Food Market
Triple cooked chippies from the Brighthelm Street Food Market

As predicted, last week’s concerns of a music festival-related dip in the intake of wholesome food and pursuit of fitness proved to be depressingly accurate.

The Great Escape music festival was, as always, a pretty fabulous, three long days and nights of music (see pages 12-13 if that’s your sort of thing), but it wasn’t exactly conducive to toiling at the gym nor chopping up mounds of healthy greens.

Steve Holloway

Steve Holloway

Instead it was bad food on the go and the odd gin and slimline (I STILL feel like a plum asking for that).

I started with the best intentions, and on day one I packed a banana and a pot of almonds and hazelnuts for snacking.

But by day two I was tucking into a delish tray of triple-cooked chippies from the fish and chip stall at the weekly Friday lunchtime street-food market in the grounds of the Brighthelm Centre.

They represented not just a bad lunch in the context of attempted weight loss and more hoisting the white flag for a few days.

To add injury to insult, and like a massive middle-aged duffer, I also managed to tweak my back at a one of the gigs, purely from nodding my head in time to the music a bit too fast. Tragic. Truly tragic.

I spent the rest of that evening trying to discreetly stretch the pain away with some Pilates, while standing in packed pubs and clubs watching noisy bands.

The only positive thing, from a health and fitness point of view (not rock and roll), was the thousands and thousands of steps around the city as we schlepped from venue to venue.

Last night (Wednesday) I made a belated return to the King Alfred gym and things are, hopefully, on track again.

Initially I managed a ruddy stretch of that aching back in the gym’s studio (I’m still keen to have a go at the crazy rope-whacking exercise), then a good 45 minutes on the vario-cross trainer and exercise bike.

But instead of then tottering home, I managed a quick swim and some lengths of the King Alfred pool.

For past few years my chiropractor and friends have said I should attempt some swimming, and I repeatedly sneered at their helpful suggestions, and gave the pathetic excuse that it was all too much of a faff.

I was finally inspired to take part in some chlorinated-cardio work after the Wet Sounds installation at the Prince Regent pool. It was part of the Brighton Festival and featured some amazing underwater sounds and lighting.

I spent more time splashing around and floating than actual swimming (I even incorporated a bit of Qigong into my submerged flouncing), but more importantly it reminded me how therapeutic swimming can be. And so it proved last night.

After a dozen stop-start lengths I felt good, and I was buzzing with endorphins on my post-exercise stroll home. By gum I’ve missed that feeling and it made me remember why people become so obsessed with exercise.

However, I really do need to work on my swimming technique.

Somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten how to do the crawl. I really don’t know how I’ve managed this but I’m a spluttering, panting mess whenever I try it

So I’m currently restricted to a sedate breast stroke at present and I’m not even fast enough for the slow lane, but I’m hoping to improve. Don’t ever tell me I lack drive and ambition.

To find out more visit