Regular Time Out readers will now be accustomed to the rather unflattering, truly painful and wholly discomforting situations this section of the magazine has thrown me into. After my gloriously gluttonous gorging fest in May, I promised myself I’d end my self-indulgent ways and finally do something about the extra baggage I seemed to have picked up since arriving at DXB airport.
It’s not that I’m lazy by nature (although my nearest and dearest would argue lying in until noon on my days off proves otherwise), but as someone who spent years making crunching challenges and sprinting between wickets, the very thought of working out in a gym makes me yawn and pull the covers over.
However, I’m more than up for someone training me of an evening in the comfort of my own home. At least that way, you can head straight back to bed if you’ve overexerted yourself. So step forward Paty Sanchez, personal trainer with Regime Fitness, ballet and dance teacher and all-round wonderful bundle of energy.
Even though she’s promised to “go easy” on me, after eight months without regular exercise (no, lifting burgers doesn’t count), I can feel my joints and muscles seizing up in trepidation.
Sanchez wants to get an idea of exactly how unfit I am, which she does by having me do a warm-up on the Reebok step. Although I could always use two feet on the football pitch (often at the same time), it seems my co-ordination when putting the left foot first is so pitiful I feel almost ashamed, apologising for somehow being 50 percent better with my right. I think she sussed out that I might have a tiny scrap of fitness left in me, and so runs through the list of exercises she has lined up. Thankfully, Sanchez can see the rather blank expression I have on my face as she speaks of burpees, tricep dips and Russian twists, so she takes me through them one by one.
The first routine is easy enough, running on the spot followed by a series of left-right jabs, which I flex out with gusto. After a series of burpees – squat thrusts followed by presses with light dumbbells – I move onto double crunches. It is at this point I am reminded to breathe, something I’d clearly forgotten about thus far. I’m more used to short, sharp sprints on the football pitch, so this most elementary of necessities is one that slips my mind.
It’s only when the high knees element of my workout starts that I really feel the oxygen sapping out of my lungs and the ensuing squats bring the sweat beading across my body. I’m glad, then, to have the chance for a quick face-first lie down as I await plank time. At least my upper body won’t fail me, I think, as I prop myself up on my forearms and stretch my legs. That might be, but in the breaks between exercises, I feel like I’m losing more fluids than I’m taking on, despite glugging frantically on my water bottle.
The next step, the skiers, prove once more that I’m not exactly the most graceful of men on the planet, resembling, as I do, less Chemmy Alcott and more Gareth Chilcott. After polishing off some push-ups, I’m glad of the support as Sanchez holds my feet while I attempt the Russian twists. While swinging the kettle bell and contorting first one way, then the next, I sense the blood rushing from by feet to my brain so rapidly I can almost feel every tiny corpuscle.
At this point, Sanchez can clearly see that I’m wilting somewhat, kindly offering to skip the last two exercises, however, I muster just enough strength to tell her I’m fine and that I’m raring to tackle the finale. My breath is short and the words so garbled, I’m just glad Sanchez hasn’t brought a polygraph – not vomiting is proving enough of a test as it is.
The mountain climbers make my legs shake, lactic acid coursing through them, but at least the last routine, tricep dips, mean I can use my comfy sofa, which I soon flop onto once done.
As I bid Sanchez adios, and thank her for her patience and fantastic support, I can feel my head on the brink of exploding. Think the final scene of Total Recall and you’ll know what I mean. Give this person air…
Dhs250 single one-hour session, Dhs2,250 (ten sessions), Dhs5,000 (25 sessions). www.regime.ae (050 913 7610).
Four to try: Other stay-at-home activities
If you have hoarding tendencies or are just not very good at space-saving, give Shelina Jokhiya at DeCluttr Me a shout. She’ll come round and help you get organised, chucking out unnecessary clutter, systematically arranging your living space to a non-chaotic order.
Dhs1,000 (two hours), Dhs2,900 (full day). www.decluttrme.com.
Learn a language
Let’s face it, most of us struggle to even master our mother tongue, let alone converse in another. Broaden your horizons by signing up to a language course. While companies such as Rosetta Stone offer a paid-for service, you can find plenty of decent ones for free, Duolingo being one of the best.
Try in-house pampering
There’s no need to traipse to a spa for some quality R&R time. Have the experts come to you, instead. The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge offers its full range of services for home visits, including nail, hair and massage treatments, as well as scrubs,facials and hair removal.
Prices vary. www.organicglowuae.com.
Write a Book
Okay, so not everyone is as eloquent as The Bard, but as the saying goes, everyone has a book in them. Unless you are hoping to carve a new career as an author, treat this as a bit fun. There are plenty of online schools offering help, the original being Writers.com.
From Dhs1,100 for an eight-week beginners’ course. www.writers.com.