I asked my GP how I could slim down and improve my health, and he said: “Don’t eat anything fatty.” I nodded, “Do you mean I have to cut out sausages, burgers, kebabs and chippies?” “No!” he snapped, “Don’t eat ANYTHING. Fatty!”*
Of course he didn’t say that, because my GP is a kind, caring, and brilliant doctor.
However, what he and a few other medical professionals have said about my myriad of middle-age maladies, have led me to, slowly, realise I need to get off my posterior and shed some timber.
The solution is hopefully at hand in the form of the Prince Regent gym and its very impressive new fitness studio.
Freedom Leisure, who run the popular leisure centre and pool, are justifiably proud of the new state-of-the-art studio and offered me the chance to sort my fitness out with some much-needed support along the way.
I am, as the youth of today probably don’t say, pumped at the idea, as keen as mustard.
There are however a few issues to tackle.
The first of which is physical.
Some years ago I broke my back. It’s healed to a certain extent but put paid to any hopes I may have harboured about being selected for the Great Britain Gymnastics team. But I’ve recently had some painkilling injections, so hopefully that will help me to get moving and shift the blubber.
The second issue is circumstantial. For the past year or so, I’ve been fortunate enough to review some of Brighton and Hove’s fantastic restaurants for this august publication. It’s a dream job but one which isn’t necessarily ideal for someone looking to lose some lard, and leads me to the third issue...
A love of food, or as my family and close friends call it - greed.
Let’s split the difference and call it a passion for food, but an unchecked passion which has resulted in the type of diet which can best be described as ‘teenager whose parents are away for the weekend’.
So. Medically, something has to give. Let’s hope it’s a couple of stone rather than anything ghastly!
With all this in mind we decided the best way to approach this thorny issue was – very gently.
The plan is an ever-increasing programme of back-friendly cardio vascular work in the gym and classes in the fitness studio, masterminded by area health and fitness manager Ryan O’Gorman, and classes selected by studio co-ordinator Lauren Acton.
After week one the progress has been steady, unspectacular, and on my part, quite moany. But hope springs eternal and I’m quietly optimistic.
It was good to be back in the Prince Regent gym again (I was previously a member in pre-over fed days) and Ryan has devised an achievable gym routine which mixes old and new exercises.
I say achievable, I did almost bring up the contents of my stomach at the end of the first session, but Ryan remained positive and said it showed I had worked well.
My time in the studio has been encouraging, if hard work. I’m starting with a month of twice-weekly Pilates classes. The packed sessions are taken by Sean Mallett, an kickboxing champ who conducts his classes in a relaxed atmosphere which is low on pretentious spiritualism and high on movements which get straight to the point and, on a personal level, have stretched out muscles which haven’t seen action since a Labour government.
It’d be wrong to say I enjoyed the Pilates sessions but through the pain and the huffing and puffing I could feel they were doing the job, easing the aches and doing good things for my spine.
Although at this stage my balance isn’t quite there, think Jocky Wilson on tip toes reaching for a beer on a top shelf, or a tipsy Gemma Collins attempting Tai Chi on the dancefloor of the Sugar Hut.
But Rome wasn’t built in day and, to mix my metaphors, an awful lot of sausage rolls have passed under this bridge in recent years.
If you see me in the gym wish me luck, and if you seen me in town eating chips, knock them out of my hands.
*The opening Fatty joke was borrowed from Bob Mortimer.