The very nature of being a gigging musician, (working in many venues where free drinks and a late night meal is part of the deal) does not encourage a healthy lifestyle. I find it easy to dedicate time and energy to maintaining and improving my skills/performance abilities however I find it very difficult to apply the same dedication to spending time or energy on getting fit, so I need outside help.
I am so pleased to have found a trainer who does not customise a training programme around his client but actually creates the programme for his client. On Friday I visited The Commando Temple gym in Deptford for an appointment with Dave (the Shinobi trainer) I found the session to be just exactly what I needed.
Unlike most gyms in The Commando Temple there are no hi-tech training machines, no full length mirrors, no windows with nice views and no restaurant. What they have instead is a group of individuals who are intensely focussed and dedicated to fitness and strength. In the past I worked with a number of personal trainers (some good, some not so good). Both the good and the not so goo used similar tools to train me. With those trainers the session started with warm up on treadmill or cross trainer and then for the rest of the session I have sat or stood using various machines that work a particular muscle (or muscle group) while the trainer stood beside me saying encouraging things and telling me not to give up.
With Dave it was so very very different, the warm up session started with me laying flat on my back, standing up and then repeating the exercise many times and in many different ways (it sounds weird, well it was). I never knew there could be so many different ways of getting up off the floor. It also sounds simple however it was one of the most effective warm-ups I have ever experienced. The rest of the session continued with with a series of similar unusual and unexpected exercises, no weights were used, in actual fact no equipment whatsoever was used.
All the exercises were demonstrated by the trainer and while I was doing my bit Dave guided/corrected my technique while explaining what each exercise was achieving how, and what it was doing to my body.
If your idea of a gym session is meeting with a friend to have a chat, a jog on a treadmill, use some expensive machinery, have a bit of a pose in front of a mirror and then have a cappuccino (or glass of wine) in nicely decorated building, The Commando Temple and Shinobi Strength Training is definitely not for you.
If you seriously want to improve your strength, condition your body, or just need to get yourself fitter (like me) I really think you might find what you are looking for in the arches under Deptford railway.