After only eight days into the quest for a svelte, less wheezy, more flexible old hack, I have an early contender for saddest, grimmest gym moment of all eternity.
As previously detailed, the nice, fit, young people at the Prince Regent have, rather gamely, accepted the challenge of gently encouraging me back to fitness, and, hopefully, a not-so-shambling and sickly middle age and beyond.
The moment of pathos came during a brief, but sweaty, stint on a cross trainer when I desperately attempted to lower the intensity of the machine – from one to zero.
I wasn’t trying to switch it off, I was just hoping for a less intensive experience than level one.
But it transpires cross trainers don’t have a level zero.
What exactly was I expecting at ‘level zero’? A fully automated cross trainer? Perhaps one that also made me a sausage sandwich while at the same time massaging my back with essential oils?
That said, it hasn’t been a bad first two weeks out of eight.
I’ve managed three immensely challenging Pilates classes, three steady gym sessions, and a full round of golf (and yes golf-haters, it does count as exercise, especially the blundering way I play it).
Obviously I need to do more, but as is often the way a few things have gotten in the way, including a weekend trip home to see the family, a spectacular and fairly boozy meal out, and life in general.
Perhaps I’m making excuses already. Let’s hope not, and hopefully next week’s stats will be better.
It has been nice to get back to the Prince Regent’s petite but well-decked out gym.
In recent years I’ve been a rolling stone in terms of regular gyms and to double the number of musical allusions, wherever I’ve laid my musty old towel, that’s been my home.
I’ve tried big out-of-town slighter posher establishments, the type where there are more gleaming machines than punters but are susceptible to price increases, and tie you into contracts that are only marginally less long-term binding than most Mafia blood oaths.
More recently I’ve gone for the new generation of cheap and cheerful town centre chain gyms.
They’re competitively-priced and not short of equipment, but left me feeling like a worker-drone in a science fiction film, ineffectually plodding away with no encouragement or human interaction, despite being around up to 200 other plodders.
The Prince Regent gym feels less impersonal, and each time I’ve gone there I’ve bumped into my Pilates guru Sean, or the gym manager Ryan. Although it’s worth noting that I haven’t yet visited the gym during a very busy period, so next week I might be full of fire and brimstone after being forced to wait more than a minute for the lat-pulldown machine.
On the subject of negative emotions, I’ve thus far spared my dignity and the readers’ sensibilities by avoiding photos of me in ‘action’.
But I’ve reluctantly accepted the above is often part of the fitness/weight loss narrative, so you can look forward to a more shots of me gurning like a maniac and perspiring like I’ve just completed a Sub-Saharan Triathlon rather than 10 minutes on a treadmill.
In fact 10 minutes of cross-trainer striding on a high(ish) incline has proved to be one of my favourite elements of my new, rather modest, gym programme.
As a strutting young buck I was always fairly dismissive of people walking on a treadmill, but now as a war-wounded old beast, anything which is vaguely cardiovascular without bashing my spine is a God-send.
Less straight-forward is a cross-trainer where the feet glides back on a funny angle, leading you into a movement similar to my mum twisting away on bygone dancefloors. It’s harder than it sounds, and initially left me lurching about a bit until I go the gist of it. Mum would have been proud.
To find out more about the gym and classes at the Prince Regent visit www.freedom-leisure.co.uk