Fitness: My Personal Journey

I moved to Moscow last year in June. I tell everyone I came for “risk and danger” but you all know exactly what I came for.

But let’s start at the beginning…

I was into fitness way before I moved to Russia. I lived in Nottingham and attended a gym there that unfortunately closed down.

After that, I joined a branch called “The Gym” which I guess most English readers probably know. It’s cheap and fairly good. I wrote a blog post on it ages ago, when I was into satire writing…

If you read that, you’d know I didn’t think much of that gym. It wasn’t filled with the most motivated people… Everyone seemed to be “part-time” gym-ers.

That’s why I prefer Russian gyms. Gym people are serious about fitness here!

Anyway, here’s a photo of me back when I was going to “The Gym”.

January 2015

I’ve got a buzz cut because I was short on money and didn’t want to pay for hair cuts. So I just bought some hair clippers for around £19 and used them for around 6 months.

I was dating a polish girl at the time, and I’m just mentioning her here to give her some credit (because she told me she’d like to be written about!). She was hugely supportive of my gym habits.

In September 2015, I moved to Russia. I wasn’t seeing much gains, probably because I wasn’t eating the right foods.

I’d been living off sweet potato and tuna, but I hadn’t been eating enough of it. My portions were way too small, and I hadn’t been taking any protein shake.

So… when I joined my first Russian gym, I was still pretty damn skinny. But I started taking weight gainer… and things started to change.

Weight Gain! Only 650 rubles…

Then, however, I had to move (for work purposes) to a Russian city called Syktyvkar, which is by the Ural Mountains. During the transition, I didn’t work out for a month and I noticed a definite change in my body.

I spent three solid months in Syktyvkar. I only went to one night club there, and they wanted to fight me because I was English—that’s deep Russia for you…

So instead of going out clubbing for social contact, I found a tiny gym. That was in late February 2016. I worked out consistently for the following March, April and May.

April 2016

Above, a cheeky boxer-short pose.

April 2016

Above, you can see my arms are pretty pumped—I’d been doing an arm day.

May 2016

Yes, that is a picture on Instagram. As far as I’m aware, that account doesn’t exist any longer. My friend had noticed I was pretty into fitness, and he wanted to do some marketing for me.

I thought that’d be fun, so I sent him pictures and he sorted out all the hashtags. Unfortunately, this all came to an end when I left Syktyvkar.

That’s right, my work contract ended and I had to go back to England for a while (about a month).

But, I found another English teaching company and returned to Russia to carry on with TEFL. I was living in Moscow!

Although, at that time, I had no money to rent an apartment so I was living in various hostels for three months. And as such, I lost all my fitness habits and didn’t exercise at all.

On top of that, I wasn’t eating well because some hostels had messy dirty kitchens, and I started to buy a lot of fast food. I became quite skinny again.

(No photos from this period, unfortunately).

So I spent that time running around Moscow teaching English and picking up Russian women. I had a f***ing brilliant time, but no gains were made and I ended up feeling like shit.

That’s because I’d end my days lying on a stinking dirty hostel bed wondering, “what the hell am I doing with my life?

By the end of the year I’d moved into a new apartment and kept dating the girls, until everything fizzled out. So yeah, I’d had fun. But I had nothing to show for it… apart from some memories and this skinny body:

January 2017

I’m giving the thumbs up because I’ve just jumped into a прорубь. That’s Russian for “ice hole”. It’s a hole cut into the top of an icy lake, so you can jump into it and be blessed by God. See here.

Shortly after this photo was taken, I felt compelled to join a gym.

I found a great place nearby my apartment and paid my membership fees. I started a brand new Instagram account and have been hitting the gym three times a week since that photo was taken.

To be continued…


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