Regular Time Out readers will now be accustomed to the rather unusual, sometimes unflattering and generally uncomfortable situations this section of the magazine throws us into. After a gloriously gluttonous summer of brunches, 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 Bahrain International 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 for an evening in the comfort of my own home. At least that way, you can head straight back to bed if you’ve over-exerted yourself. So step forward Paty Sanchez, personal trainer, plus 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 susses 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 my feet to my brain. 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, means 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…
Four to try
Personal trainers in Bahrain
From Barbar's Oxygen Gym, South African trainer Anke Visagie specialises in muscle toning, pre- and post-natal work-outs, weight loss and circuit training. It costs BD150 for ten hour-long sessions. But it's totally worth it to get that beach body you always strive for. Don't hold back.
Barbar (17 616 165).
Karim, like Sanchez, will come to your home if you, like Luke, don't have the time (or the inclination) to go to the gym. His rates range from BD20-25 for one-on-one sessions and wide-ranging one-off fees for more customised programmes. He specialises in strength, conditioning and fat loss.
This British personal trainer offers group and bootcamp sessions, however, his knowledge of working with specific clients is key. He charges between BD20 and BD30 a session (depending on how many you book per week) for one-on-one and group sessions from his base at Reps Fitness Studio in Juffair.
Juffair (33 300 184).
There are a few professional personal trainers, at the facilities in Budaiya and Seef, with different specialties. An initial “no strings attached” session is BD40 and includes various assessments. Then sign up for six months (46 sessions). Trust us, you'll definitely reach your fitness goals with these guys.
Budaiya and Seef (17 300 859).