Fit To Travel

Acland Street Cake
Acland Street cake

A few weeks ago I arrived home a little tipsy after a work function in the city.  I found the Wooky sitting on the sofa drinking vodka (not beer) with a determined look on his face.  I listened while he informed me he had decided enough was enough and he was cutting down on pies and cake and beer (hence the vodka).  He also announced that he thought we should join a gym.  I needed some of his vodka to process this information.

By way of background, over the last couple of years since we landed in Australia we have both expanded.  Up until the gym announcement although I had been taking small steps to try to lose weight by cutting down on cake, the Wooky was clinging to the idea that once we were travelling and active again we would lose weight and get fit on the road.

However we were slowly realising that in order to enjoy our trip to Indonesia we needed to be fit to travel.  It had really hit home a couple of weeks before when we found a 30 day trek across Borneo that we would love to do at some point in the next couple of years but we realised that in our present state of health, although completing it was possible, it was unlikely to be enjoyable and maybe even inadvisable.  We were having to come to terms with a few home truths about age and fitness.

We had already taken the healthy step of giving up smoking (after falling off that particular wagon a few times).  Now we needed to lose weight and get fit.  Once in Indonesia, diving would help us maintain a certain level of fitness, and travelling would be a much healthier lifestyle as we tend to eat better food and drink less alcohol.

That evening while I was out on the tiles knocking back champagne the Wooky had clearly had an epiphany when he realised that he could not see his toes anymore no matter how much he breathed in.  So in true Wooky fashion he had been busy online and found a deal at a gym in South Melbourne and his mind was made up by the time I staggered through the front door.

We agreed we needed to knock ourselves into shape and so before we could back out we paid online for a 2 week trial membership of the gym.  We decided drop in on Saturday before starting the two week trial the following Monday.  That would give us a few days to get over the shock and get used to the idea.

Taking the first step towards our goal of trimming down and toning up, on Saturday morning we set off to briskly walk 6kms to the gym.  We arrived a bit dishevelled and out of breath, hesitated at the door for a minute or two not quite knowing what to do next, before summoning up the courage to actually go inside and make some general enquiries.   We felt a tad out of place as everyone seemed to be about 30 years younger and incredibly thin to boot. After satisfying ourselves that it was indeed a gym and checking the details of our special offer we left as quickly as we arrived, stopped for a coffee at South Melbourne market before jumping on a tram back home.

That was the hardest part over with we thought.  We knew where to find it.  The rest would be easy.

A couple of days later on Monday evening we found ourselves in this strange land they call gym surrounded by unfamiliar equipment, all manner of treadmills, cycling machines and other instruments of torture, with various work-out rooms leading off the main area.

Less cake…more muesli and yoghurt and fruit

That first session was spent self-consciously trying not to turn tail and run away as we struggled just switching on one of the treadmills (being too British to ask one of the thin beautiful people for any help).  After working out how to operate this alien equipment we managed to do about 30 minutes on a treadmill and another 15 on a cycling machine without either of us suffering a heart attack which we considered quite an achievement.  After 45 minutes we agreed we had done enough to be able to leave the gym with our dignity pretty much intact.

On our way out we stopped at the front desk and after some shenanigans about price we found ourselves fully paid up members of a 24 hour gym.  We also booked some sessions with a personal trainer.  We meant business!  We also felt as if we were going slightly insane as this was all a little out of character.

However, I am quite pleased to report that at the time of writing we have been attending 6 days a week for 3 weeks.  We have had 3 sessions with Rod our personal trainer and now spend alternate days doing either an hour of cardio or an hour of weight training.  We no longer feel out of place and are actually quite enjoying it.  The Wooky is struggling a bit with his knee but he is soldiering on.

On the food front, the Wooky has been eating a lot of eggs, cottage cheese, salad leaves and tinned tuna; he gave up trying to regulate his vodka intake and so is abstaining completely.  I live on a diet of scrambled eggs, tuna salad and cottage cheese (with the odd almond thrown in for good measure).  I decline good cake on a regular basis (there has been a lot of cake at work to decline) but I continue to quaff a couple of glasses of white wine each evening.

Initially weighing in at 315lbs the Wooky has been losing weight at the rate of about 3lbs a week.  Over the last 3 months I’ve lost 22lbs but seriously need to lose quite a few more.

Although it is a little surreal to be spending so much time at the gym we are beginning to feel the benefit and look a little less lardy.  At the age of 50 we are not expecting a six pack or a bikini body but we would like to have the stamina to trek to some out of the way places we have seen in Borneo and Sulawesi.  And the Wooky would like to his toes again.

Meanwhile, I am told that my tummy is getting flatter however my arse still has a long way to go.  I wouldn’t want to be resting on my laurels now would I?


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