89 Not Out: Day 6, Saying Goodbye to the Gym

S&C contributor and Pompey Politics Podcast host Ian Morris shares his experience of self-isolation as someone with diabetes. It’s Day 6, and Ian says goodbye to the gym after the government orders them to close.

Saturday 21st March, Day 6 of 89  

I know it’s a first world problem.

Let me take you back to January 2019. I went to the gym with my then 18 year old son, Tom. Frankly, it was embarrassing as he bettered me on every machine. In our household, we have what could only be described as a dark banter and the gym episode led to, ‘Well old boy, the silverback’s time has to come.’ This was then followed by the music from the Lion King with him mock holding aloft the new cub.

I replied that if I could hold him aloft then I would be a stronger man than I am today. My pride demanded a rematch on 11th July, my 50th birthday. 

So I joined my local Anytime Fitness gym in Cosham and developed a love of it for the first time in my life. Working from home can be rather isolating and if there were no meets around lunchtime, I would don the Lycra (metaphorically) and head out with the hound to get a session in. The people there are lovely and Millsey was never short of attention. 

I won my rematch in July but this then drove on both myself and Tom – now 19 – to stay top of the pack. (It’s still me – just). 

The madness began last November when I was asked by the gym to be part of a photo shoot for their marketing campaign. I have a great relationship with the staff and was sure this was a wind-up. That is, until I found myself in Watford. In make-up

The story was then picked up by an online men’s lifestyle website, Joe, who sent a team down to film an interview with me. 

Being blind hasn't stopped this man from smashing it in the gym

When this man went blind, he thought his days of exercising were over. Lifting weights has given him a new lease of life.

Posted by JOE.co.uk on Friday, 14 February 2020

As you can see, I am no fitness icon, but I have come to love the gym.

Last night, I was pulling my kit on when I heard the news that, as part of the containment activities, gyms were included and mine had to close for at least the next month. The astute amongst you might be asking why I was breaking self isolation and heading out to the gym at all. The answer is that last January when the challenge between Tom and I was issued, my blood pressure and diabetes were in pretty poor shape, and whilst I am still a tad overweight – by about 10 stones, between us friends – my blood pressure was normal and my blood sugar numbers on the diabetes front had halved. Therefore, I decided to balance the risk of going out versus the risk of not training, and had opted to hit the gym. 

 So we went to the gym on Friday night and did our last session for at least a  month, and I confess I shed a tear or two on the way out. Sure, I miss the rugby and my upcoming cricket season looks to be in tatters already, but the gym was my space – it broke up the long working day, it gave me space to think, even the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Stiffness) that my ageing body felt the next day reminded me that I had put in a shift the day before. 

So, I know it’s a first world problem and that there is probably much worse still to come, but today I feel like I have lost a friend for a while.  

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.

Don’t miss Ian’s self-isolation diary in the coming days, keep an eye out for new pieces here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast.

How are you managing at the moment? Get in touch with us over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your experiences and any hints and tips you’re finding helpful right now.

Star & Crescent is Portsmouth’s only independent community news outlet. We don’t answer to shareholders and we don’t publish sponsored or promoted content – we answer to you.

Get involved or donate to help local independent media thrive, and be part of the conversation on Facebook and Twitter