Returning to the gym

I have been regularly “working out” at gyms most of my adult life – at least until the start of 2020. My main motive was to maintain a reasonable standard of general fitness – a good idea I thought!

Two factors affected my decision not to attend the gym in 2020 and 2021 – gyms were closed for a good part of the time due to Covid lockdowns and once one gets out of good habits, like regular gym attendance, it is often difficult to get back into them. The gym in question (my gym) (the latest in a longish line) is the Welcome Gym inside the Victoria Centre, in the centre of Southend.

Another reason for not attending the gym was that a little prior to my stopping going I was diagnosed with having Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM), which is a progressive and irreversible muscle wasting disease. I wondered whether to call it a day and if I would ever get back into going to the gym, and instead being resigned that my main exercise will be daily, gently walking in the park.  

At the end of 2021, I was faced with having to make the decision of whether or not to continue my gym membership. I decided to go along to my gym at the start of 2022 and depending on how I got on I would either cancel or continue my membership. Unsurprising, some the apparatus I used to use and exercises I used to do, I could no longer use / do – but then there was much I could use / do, especially if was prepared to adapt. Then I had that eureka moment – why not sign up with a personal trainer – something I had never done before although I suspect I might have benefited if I had.

I explained my situation to the nice lady at reception and she suggested one of their trainers, Johnny would be right for me. I made contact with Johnny and he offered me a free session along with the chance to chat so I could explain what I wanted / needed and he could respond with how he could help. The session went well. It became clear Johnny had empathy toward folk living with disability and he knew what he was talking about. It was also evident he was passionate about sports and exercise and he could just as easily work with folk at the other end of the scale, i.e. super fit types.

It was an easy decision to make and I signed up for ten sessions with Johnny. I am now at the half way point and it has proved to be one of my better investments. Not only has he opened up all sorts of exercise possibilities I hadn’t even thought of, but he has shown me many things I could do to combat the muscle wasting that has afflicted certain parts of my body. While my “IBM” is not likely to go away or even improve, I am confident I can enjoy a decent quality of life despite obvious limitations and I feel a lot better physically (and mentally) as a result of doing these gym workouts.


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