Well, I finally did it, I am back training at the gym for the first time in three and a half years! Surprisingly, it feels like I haven’t been away!

I have just finished week 3 of my ‘comeback’ and I am enjoying it a lot. I’ve always enjoyed the gym. I’m built for strength not endurance so weight training is perfect for me.

Back To The Future

Those of you who have known me for any length of time will know that I used to train at the gym on a fairly regular basis.

I first joined a gym in 1990. It was called Browns Gym & Sauna, next door to Colliers Wood Underground Station. I used to train there three times a week and really enjoyed it. The gym was owned by a former UK bodybuilder and the environment wasn’t small and friendly, not at all intimidating.

The gym coupled with football training used to keep me fairly fit even if I probably didn’t look like it.

As time went on I moved from Colliers Wood and needed to find a different gym. It was becoming a nightmare to try and park by the gym. When I lived in Colliers Wood I only had a 5 minute walk but now as it was situated by an Underground station on a busy main road it was neigh on impossible to park.

So, after 5 years I joined the David Lloyd Centre at Raynes Park which was a massive place! I one of the major benefits of the David Lloyd Centre was that it was primarily a tennis centre with a massive gym attached to it. I’ve always enjoyed playing tennis so this was a good added bonus.

Back in the day quite a few famous faces used to frequent the place. The old Wimbledon Football team used to do weight training there and at the time their fitness coach was one of my childhood heroes, double decathlon Olympic gold medallist Daley Thompson. Quite a few of the Sky TV presenters used to use the place and tennis players would practice there during Wimbledon fortnight.

The best thing about the facilities for me was the Nordic steam room and Jacuzzi! Occasionally I would drop in on my way home from work to just sit in one of those for half an hour to relax after a ‘hard day’.

I was a member at the David Lloyd Centre right up until I moved to Sweden. To date it is still the best gym I have ever been a member of, not just in terms of the facilities but also value for money.

Cardio Is My Worst Friend

I’ve never liked cardio training. I tended to do it begrudgingly and even when football training I would put as little effort as possible into cardio in order to save my energy for the actual football.

I am no different today. It has nothing to do with being lazy, honest! I would rather play tennis for 3 hours, go for a 3 hour walk or play football for 3 hours than perform cardio for 30 minutes!

It’s just boring. At least playing a sport is interesting!

It’s much the same about commuting. I think the majority of people commute because it is quicker to get from A to B than that they are simply lazy. If the transport system and roads were so packed that it was quicker to walk to work, people would! People are so stressed and have so little time for anything that they choose to drive to the shops and back.

People will always take the easiest option. If it was impossible to park at the local shops or at the local school then people would walk to get the take away or drop the kids off at school.

It’s human nature.

The Swedish Way

So after moving to Sweden I joined a local gym and trained most week days but after a couple of years I moved to a different area and there wasn’t a decent local gym.

At the time I a job in the middle of Stockholm delivering mail though not for the post office. I had to get up at 5.00, leave at 5.45 to start work at 07.00. I had no fixed finishing time, it was finished when the work was done but. Unfortunately as I was one of the few people who could drive I tended to get done later than other people. I generally finished at 16.00 and was home by about 18.00.

The time I had to start work meant I couldn’t train in the morning and I was too shagged out after I’d finished from all the stairs. So I began to let things slip.

Over the next 6 years I went to the gym sporadically for periods of time which culminated in me giving up my gym membership in the summer of 2012.

I honestly thought I’d never join another gym.

Of course I have various other health issues that have played a part. Be it my back and knee injuries that I sustained in a motorbike accident in 1993 in addition to depression.

A Positive Step

The funny thing is during the last 5 years I have enjoyed going for long walks more than the gym. I would use the time to think about things or listen to podcasts and audio books.

However I am now at the point where I am beginning to find it somewhat tedious to go out walking for 2 hours.

I quite often do about a 10km walk which is roughly 16,000 steps. The funny thing is 6 years ago I couldn’t walk 1km without a searing pain in my lower back but since I started taking Tramadol for the pain I am like a man reborn!

I am at the stage now where I think I could use the 2 hours in a more constructive way. I can walk for 15 minutes to the gym, train for an hour and then walk home and not take any more time than the 2 hour walk.

So I decided to join Fitness 24/7, a cheap and cheerful range of gyms in Sweden. There are no frills but do I really need any?

The machines and weights are well maintained and the facilities are clean but best of all it is open 24/7! The place is only manned between 12.00-16.00 and the rest of the time you need to gain entry using the fingerprint scanner.

There are no extras that other gyms offer, such as classes, saunas and so on. That’s fine by me!

A New Start

So I will train twice a week in the beginning to get my muscles used to working again. After the initial period I will move up to three times a week by the beginning of April and see how things go.

On the two days a week that I don’t go to the gym I will go out for a long walk. This way I hope to retain my enthusiasm and not stop doing them.

Onwards and upwards!


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