It’s the first of July. Not the fourth or the fourteenth. My fête nationale is the first. It’s the end of the second month of my Personal Improvement Project. My second month in the hands of Holmes Place, Potsdamer Place, Berlin, and all who work there.
Well, I’ve worked pretty hard, in much the same manner as I did in month one. Nik has introduced me to a heap more exercises, some of which have become part of my daily routine, some of which have been consigned to the ‘too hard’ box. I don’t mean ‘too hard’ as in work ‘hard’, but I don’t feel comfortable or safe doing prone barbell work alone, or floor roller exercises without supervision, and oh! having to re-learn the rules of a lifetime! No fourth position, don’t point your feet, don’t over-extend and, worst of all, ‘arch your back’. I’ve been trying to NOT arch my back for 60 years! That’s worse than ‘stomach in, butt in’! But the lurking lads in red shirts will always tell you if you are doing it wrongly.
Anyway, I promise, I really am trying. I trot down to Holmes Place nearly every day, I do my forty-ish minute full-on routine (a bit more these last days), with increasing weights, then my water exercises, and finally I take my dip-n-sauna. Paul was with his Aussie family, over in Europe for a holiday, for ten days, and my stickability was tested. But I did the voyage alone (one rainy day missed), did my stuff and enjoyed it, had a plate of yummy soup in the wee canteen, and felt quite a cavalier. Especially when, one day, just for one day, the scales announced: 77.4kg. Mostly now its just over 78.0kg.
That’s six kilos gone. Six kilos. That’s the weight of the dumbbell which I still can’t manage to stand-press five times consecutively with the bad arm. My body has lost THAT!
Of course, size, or rather weight, isn’t everything. Shape is what I’m after. Balance. Steadiness. And, needless to say, general fitness. I’d like to be able to walk freely and surely. And, here, I’ve made a discovery…
I’ve been back to Sascha the masseur. This time I told him, ‘hit it’. ‘It’ being the right hip and groin which have given me trouble off and on for forty years, and wholly ‘trouble on’ since the stroke. Well, not everyone wants to massage that area of a chap, but Sascha is a pro, and he ‘hit it’. Bloody Hell. ‘Hasn’t anybody dealt with this?’, he asked. I had to admit ‘no’. Not because of MY modesty (I haven’t any), but because of theirs.
Sascha has been on holiday since then. He’s back this week and I’m booked in. I’m walking better than I have for years, and with almost no pain, since his ministrations. Zeus bless him.
This weekend, Paul returned, having tasted the delights of the Parisian Disneyland and Berlin in the company of Ella (9), James (7) and Josie (4).
He said: ‘your belly’s shrunk’? Hmmm … the mirror tells me that a lot of it is still there! We did another photo session. I don’t know. Is it better? The belly, I mean. All that weight must have gone from somewhere. Well, I’ll just carry on! I’ve got aches and pains in places where muscles (?) are being awakened from their Sleeping Beauty hundred years’ sleep, though the bags under my eyes and down-creases from my mouth (ugh!) haven’t budged (they are difficult to exercise) … but folks still say ‘you look a different man’…. I only notice that spare flaps of flesh under my arms seems to have gone …
So, on into month three …
And we’ll see.