Ned Stratton's blog

Posts Tagged ‘London Marathon


The inadequacy of a beergut

Sunday 27th March. The clocks have gone forward. The sun is out past 7pm. The punters are drinking outside and the coats have been left in wardrobes. Summer is here…

But my summer body certainly isn’t.

“Stop running bloody marathons”

I have also noticed the pavements of Highbury and Islington are being ever more pounded by trainer-clad sweaty types. This can mean only one thing: The Virgin London Marathon 2011 is three weeks away.

A veteran of last year, I don’t miss the blisters or the lonely, tiring 15-mile training runs.

But the exhilaration of crossing the finish-line past Buckingham Palace after 26.2 miles distance run? And the health, fitness and body confidence that comes with it all? I do miss that.

When I was told to “stop running bloody marathons” to stave off knee damage in later life, I knew I had to replace the training with something else.

So I turned to swimming. No strain on specific muscle groups. Full cardiovascular workout. No blisters or sweaty gym kit. Perfect.

My eighty lengths three-times-a-week regime started well but was scuppered badly by the transition this year from student life (having lots of lime on my hands) to working nine to five.

After a full day as an office “assistant” (bitch), swimming’s disadvantages seem more acute. The monotony. The chlorine. The infuriating lane-hoggers and breast-stroke slowcoaches. And to top that, Highbury Pool and Fitness Centre have kindly restricted my access to the sauna to between 2pm and 4:30pm when I’m at work. I know this is an age of austerity, but that’s just petty.

Pleased as punch

So with motivation sapping and laziness creeping in, I Googled “boxing classes” and “London N1” and up popped FighterFit.

Offering evening boxing classes in neighbouring Hackney for £50 a month, FighterFit welcomes boxers of all abilities.

Despite warnings from my nearest and dearest about black eyes, bruised ribs and the vibrant youth (drug) culture in the area (dubbed “Crackney” in reference to this), and the gut feeling that with my slight physique I might feel out of place among yer average boxer, I went along, signed up and had a brilliant time.

I was not the Chelsea fan in Highbury, or the ant in a hornets’ nest. The people there were like me and after what I wanted: challenging physical training, a grounding in boxing technique for self-defence purposes, and a friendly vibe and good fun.

Through a fast-paced mixture of sparring, one-to-one technique coaching and circuits, FighterFit achieves these objectives and is definitely worth picking yourself up for after a hard day’s work.

As a newcomer I was integrated into the class with a minimum of fuss, and received a one-t-one overview of the basics of punching and blocking as well as plenty of time to bed myself into the group and make friends. Moreover, whilst I was told to up my game and “gimme 20 crunches” when like everyone else I was flagging towards the end, I was not pushed beyond my limits or made to feel out of my depth.

The high which followed my first class on Thursday has since been replaced by the aches of muscles called into action for the first time, but the motivation to get fit, lean and prepared to defend myself if the worst comes to the worst on the streets of Crackney means I will go to FighterFit at every opportunity.

And unlike Highbury Pool and Fitness Centre, it ain’t surrounded by kebab shops.

Fighter Fit, 140 Pitfield St., London N1 6JR. Classes Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, and Saturday lunchtime.


December 2018
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