Alan, New Barnet Leisure Centre
Hi Alan, tell us about your fitness journey...
My name is Alan, I'm 76 years old and I've been a member here since the day I opened
I’ve found a lot of comfort being a member here because I was very overweight. I met Ozzy and he helped me learn how to do my exercises properly and be comfortable in the gym. I live 10 minutes away and although I'm partially blind, I can walk it, slowly - then my wife picks me up later.
Due to my sight, I’ve had to adjust my life from what I did before. By coming here, I can do my exercises, I can have a laugh and a joke. And the facilities in this gym are fantastic. I love coming to the gym. Honestly and that is the true honest feeling.
I try and come every day, every single day, even Saturdays and Sundays, to do my exercises and you'll be surprised when I joined the club, I was 15st. 7, and just before the lockdown, I was down to 13 and a half stone. That was fantastic!
How does exercise make you feel?
Well, when I come into the club, I go straight on the handlebar machine, which is faced near the window there and Ozzy gets me on there. And he says “I want you to do half an hour on this machine and you have to move your arms like this”. And that gives you a sense of relaxation in your mind and then after half an hour, I go on the next machine.
The motivation in my mind doing all these exercises is wonderful. You know, it all helps.
And the longer I'm here, the better I feel, believe me - I get home and I'm a different person.
What were your reasons for joining the gym?
Well, my grandson, is a very sporty fellow, and he said, “Grandpa, I want us to come to the gym. You'll lose weight, you'll feel a different person.” And it's true. And that's why I came along. I just love it. It makes me feel well, it makes me feel young. And it makes me feel fit
I'm in my 70s, I'm not going to be the strongest man in the world, I just want to relax and have a clear mind and training in a gym like this can help you in your mind. It gives you satisfaction.
Before I had bad sight. I was very active, used to play table tennis used to play snooker. I was a very active man but unfortunately, because of the eyes, it slows me down. But I find that being in the gym keeps me going, if you understand what I mean.
I can get up with a purpose, I'm going somewhere, I'm going to the gym, I'm going to do exercises, I'm going to talk to people. I'm going to meet people I'm going to do the best thing in the world to keep myself fit.
How did you feel when the lockdown was announced?
Oh, I felt broken-hearted, honestly. To not be able to do anything in the respect to doing exercises, is a killer.
I bought a bicycle where you can sit in an armchair at home and cycle but I missed the atmosphere in the gym. It was terrible, absolutely terrible. I just enjoy the motivation of exercising and keeping well.
How did it feel to come back to Better?
The first day I came back I felt wonderful because I looked to my watch and I said I'm going to try to stay here for three hours. Ozzy said, "you don't have to stay for three hours". I stayed for two hours and did consistent training. I was tired and everything but the feeling of being in this gym was giving me so much clearance in my mind.
There is an unbelievable atmosphere here - it's wonderful. I'm a stranger, but I feel I'm part of the family. It's such a friendly gym.
You can see on my face, I'm a happy person when I come here!