Well, only partly and incidentally detox, but I liked the alliteration.
Its a week since I last charted my efforts to regain health, strength and shape. And those efforts haven’t been allowed to slacken. Five days of the six at Holmes Place, including a personal-trainer session with Nik … and, yes, five days of six (including two dinner parties) with careful food and no … read my lips, no … alcohol!
A typical day’s self-training in the exercise room lasts 30-40 minutes. I repeat the exercises (or those I can remember) that Nik has shown me – starting with the gentle, loosening ones and building up to weights, machines and floor exercises – with a few of Dad’s 1930s routines, and one of two of my own 1960s lot, for good measure. Then, down to the pool for underwater stretches, followed by a delicious sauna and the birdsong shower. Depending on what the day holds otherwise, the whole affair can last two to three hours: it seems like one. I’m loving it.
On Wednesday, Nik gently upped the pressure. 4kg each hand-weight, 20kg the rowing machine, a few more repetitions here and there, and some wicked business with tennis balls under the shoulder-blade, on the floor. Fortunately I can’t do that one alone, but I’ve approximated it without the tennis balls. Which is cheating. I cheat a bit on the rowing machine too, but not intentionally, it’s so damned hard to keep a straight back and be satisfied with less of a pull. ‘Don’t lean back’, said an itinerant trainer. ‘I’m TRYING not to!’.
Anyway, give or take that, it’s all going fine, and I’ve even sneaked a bit ahead. Today, I had a go working with the 5kg weights and I made it, ten presses, even with the weak arm! Will I ever manage 6kg? I shall, I shall! Since the squats are my speciality, I thought I’d up the weight there too. 6 kilos? Disaster! Only when I disappointedly put the ball back on the rack did I realise: it wasn’t a six, it was a nine! Pride was assuaged and honour saved.
Such a regime needs to have little rewards, little treats, so Thursday we went to Gesundbrünnen, replaced my broken $1000 specs frame with a nice 20 euro one, lunched at the wonderful Coco’s for a handful of coins, and went clothes shopping. Something I very, very rarely do! But my new activities call for new T-shirts (yellow, of course), track-pants, a pair of candystriped bather-shorts, and some more glamorous undies than my dollar specials from the Warehouse. Well, I’m parading them (or removing them) in front of all sorts of dark, bearded, muscular, flat-stomached young gents every day.
Then, Friday, the biggest treat. Dinner (after gym) at the Katz Orange … with cocktails! Olli’s wonderful Gold Fashioned and Thyme Goes By, and the delicious twelve-hour pork with champagne sauerkraut and baked veggies. And, then, a glorious surprise. As we walked home, Paulie snapped my picture. From BEHIND! When I saw it, I was staggered. That wasn’t me! I know I’ve lost 4kg in weight already, but … there was nearly a waist. And the relaxed walk, no more hunched shoulders and body tension, supporting the weak arm and leg and shoulder. We compared it with a similar photo he had taken of me last year in Vienna. The difference was palpable!
I whoopingly posted the result on my facebook page, and basked in the congratulations … and then came the cold shower! My girls back in New Zealand posted: ‘now the profile’. Yeaaaaaaaah. Fortunately, I don’t see my profile. But others do, and photographs do …
As I said, my chest has fallen down to my waist.
I might be down to 80.6kg, but most of it is somewhere between my ribcage and my genitals.
Today I decided that I would face this Sumo-type disaster area. As I disrobed in the locker-room today, Paulie got out his camera. Here is the result.
Like something out of the Biggest Loser. How did it happen? When? All the immobility since the stroke? Well, we’ll see. I’m sure Nik’ll fix it! I don’t need to look like the guys in the sauna: just ordinary. Respectable….
By the way, guys in the sauna, some of you had better look out! Little, incipient pot-bellies, among all the muscles and forestial hair, at 30 or 40? Yes, I saw. You’ll end up like me. You will! I was a sylph at 40! And not too bad at 60!
Well, it’s time now for me to turn from an athlete (!) into a music critic. Slip out of my new gym clothes and into my old opera-going gear. Tosca tonight. Fun. And, you know, I think I will leave the stick at home!