I am monitoring my heart rate with Ricardo at the White Hart Hotel’s gym

I am near the end of the second week in my new fitness regime which entails going to the White Hart Hotel five days a week, not for a few drinks but to their gym, above the swimming pool, where I am bullied by my personal trainer, Ricardo.

I plan to make more use of the pool in the future but at the moment I am on a strict gym-based routine.

The gym, much too conveniently placed by the bar, has weights and training machines which I use under Ricardo’s strict instructions wearing my heart rate monitor and watching that I never go above or below a planned rate. The devise is strapped to my chest and transmits its readings to a watch on my wrist. For a mildly obsessive nerd, the technology and the measurements are added joy.

Training to the monitor was surprizingly difficult at first because I kept wanting to go faster and for longer than its readings allowed. After a short period of time though, I can already see the benefit, and in a week I was already do a noticeably tougher regime at the same heart rate.

After my ill health took me out of the world of total fitness for a couple of years, I am now determined to get back to where I was before that brain haemorrhage messed me up a bit. So, I keep my eyes on my heart rate and my speed on the running machine, the cross-trainer, the training bike and a few other machines and, at the moment, keep going without stopping for 35 minutes. Already, after a couple of weeks, I am longing to do more and, in another week, I will meet up again with Ricardo and, I hope, up the speeds and start to do some weights again.

I combine this aerobic training at the gym with my daily Taichi practice at home in the garden and at two classes a week with my instructor Neil at the White Crane Fighting Arts club here in Lewes (see Links in the right hand column).

I may have given up Kungfu reluctantly but our style of Taichi, the Southern Chinese Suang-Yuang form, is very much a soft martial form and, as I have found in class, there is no reason to believe I have gone soft on the martial arts especially as I will continue with my weapons training, sword and seven and a half foot staff, too. This new programme seems to fit and, dare I say it, I am beginning to feel great.

To help create the right contemplative atmosphere at the gym, I have been playing some Sikh music on my iPod, recommended by my good Sikh friend Kal. Snatam Kaur is singing Sun–Ai, a listening celebration and appropriate as today is the Sikh holiday of Vaisakh. Happy Vaisakh everyone:

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