I can’t believe it…back in 1988 I moved to Bolton…was looking for a gym to train in. Found a gym called Physiques ran by Charlie Buchanan (Google him) – I loved it. Was my touchstone. It went through various ownerships…and closed down a year today…I miss it terribly. It was no modern gym. Old school. Just the way I like it…friendly, familiar, functional..,
From 0-18 years old I was what my mam called a ‘skinnymalink’ terribly thin. I weighed about 9st 10lbs at age 18.
At about 18 I decided to study karate and after a couple of years was put into ‘combat’ with another student. He was MASSIVE (in my eyes). At the end of the session in the changing room and <ahem> admiring his physique I asked him what the his secret was…
Long story short..,I ordered a Weider Bench and a weights set from my mam’s catalogue
And got to work.
I’d train every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, relentlessly in my home gym..
Eventually the home gym became limited (and at the time I was too insecure to join a public gym) however, I decided to start training at a gym in Concorde, Washington, Tyne & Wear.
I started to see a real difference.
I’d never been a big hit with the opposite sex on account of being short, skinny and ugly…
Then…ever so slowly..,things started to change.
As my chest, shoulders and legs started filling out, girls started showing an interest and…
Guys who may have been irreverent or disrespectful in the past (was great bumping into old school colleagues – you could visibly see their eyebrows raise) changed their attitude.
Then…for love and work (long story) I moved to Bolton, near Manchester.
I started training at a gym initially called ‘Physiques’ but after a few ownership changes became known as ‘J.R.’s Fitness Centre.
This was no jacuzzi / yoga / new age fitness centre. This was old school..,
After years and years of consistent training and clean eating (150g Protein every day, minimal junk) my stubborn physique began to change…
I used to go into the gym and immediately play Rocky music on a tape I had created…and eventually after about 2 years of that earned the nickname ‘Rocky’ which is ironic…I couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag…
Anyway I trained and trained and trained for years and my luck with the ladies slowly changed…
Anyway…I trained at that gym for years and years. My intensity slowed down after my forties.
The gym closed down early 2020. I’d trained there for over 30 years. Great memories. Great friends. It was a touchstone.
And here I am…
late fifties…reminiscing…wishing I could do it all again.
I think it was about 1982 when a friend recommended a movie to me. That movie was ‘First Blood’. This was my first introduction to the character John Rambo and the actor Sylvester Stallone.
I was soon hooked on the ‘Rocky’ movies. I watched 3 first then 1 and 2.
At that time I was just getting into weight training and had a home gym, this was the poster I had on my wall.
In 1988 I moved to Bolton and started training in a commercial gym. It’s now called J.R.’s Fitness Centre but was originally called Physiques.
It’s ‘Old School’, no saunas or jacuzzis here please!
I use to go in and before I commenced training I’d put a cassette on which had the Rocky tunes on, it always started off with ‘Eye Of The Tiger’.
It wasn’t long before I was given the nickname ‘Rocky’.
I still train there, 26 years later, albeit with a little less enthusiasm. (And I’m still called Rocky).
And…tonight…I’m going to see the guy that has motivated me for over thirty years, they say never meet your heroes, hope I’m not disappointed!
Well, I finally got to see my hero. He was a bit late but worth it! He’s a great raconteur!