Love, Life and Lifting. The Confession Of A Gym Addict: Taking a break

In life everyone will go through heartache, the dreaded thoughts of feeling empty inside wondering if I can move on from it, the thoughts of what is my life without them and what will I be like once the emotion settles down. Having moved to university and forced to say goodbye to the gym that kick-started my love for fitness, I’d found myself on reading week of this year wondering what will happen on the week I go home to relax.

My mind had been made up and I was not prepared to endure an hour-long bus journey to the university gym on my week off, this week would be different as I usually visit the gym on the long breaks as well as before and after lectures in my working week. I knew I didn’t have enough money to spend on a week pass at my former gym and I needed somewhere else cheaper to turn to.

The gym on the front street had always been somewhere I never took an interest in. Like a vape shop or a pub, it markets as a cheap gym for guys to go when they need to work out, no contract at all. Unlike every relationship I’ve ever been in.

As the sun rose on the Monday the eager little child in me came dancing down the front street and waltzing through the doors handing over my fee for the week my eyes went as wide as the Wear at Roker. Seeing all the machines and the different racks plates and dumbbells, I thought I’d died and gone to Gold’s Gym.

If my muscles could cry with tears of joy, I would have flooded the front street at how happy I was, in the first upper body session I got to play with the best weightlifting toys. I did a shoulder press with a custom loaded barbell and even had the pleasure of using an old chin-up station. It came to the leg day and this is when the honeymoon ended.

Not because I was training legs, but in my trans-state on the upper body day I was the only one in the room and on leg day I was not alone, the room became filled with massive inflatable looking like men who’d give the Michelin man and Baymax a run for their money.

I’m five foot 11 and toned, I’ve never been big and bulky and even I felt a little small in comparison but that never affects me. As I squatted deep with a dumbbell all I could hear was as an almighty grunt. Louder than Serena Williams playing Wii Sports tennis in front of a mirror. It made the atmosphere feel awkward and tense.

As the week went by the grunting got louder, and the gym decided to up the volume of the music, like fighting a wildfire with a canister of lynx Africa and some petrol. I kept looking around and seeing the poor form of technique the Baymax boys had and it was unsettling. “Drop the weight down and You’ll do it right” I wanted to say but reading the room I knew I’d end off as flat as IKEA Billy bookcase before assembly.

My heart began to miss the University gym, Where everyone was friendly, and they had a good selection of weightlifting equipment. No Baymax and Michelin Men with lousy form. Thank goodness normality will resume next week as I couldn’t take another week in that gym. In life I’ll always have two special relationships. My partner and the gym and the ones I’ve got now are the ones I want to keep.

The latest Sunderland exhibition is a showcase for local artists

Mackie’s Corner, the building which hosted two commissioned exhibitions during the Tall Ships Races is currently hosting a Showcase for Local Sunderland Artists. The Sunderland Indie 20/20 VISION Exhibition.

The Exhibition being held at the Mackie’s Corner in the city centre is currently running from September 27 to October 13 will showcase the works of 20 members of Sunderland Indie in two three-week blocks with the second block of 10 being showcased until October 13.

The Creator of the exhibition Barrie West Said “The Project has taken over three years to come together. About two years ago I became more aware that there was a lot of talented artists who were just under the surface of credit”.

“Having just done a project at the time called the ‘All That we were saying’ International art project for peace, I noticed there was no room for local artists. We needed a place to showcase our work and I made the decision to contact private business who were interested” He Explained.

“I got contacted by Sunderland Culture around Easter time if I was interested in putting an exhibition on at Mackie’s Corner. They gave me two units for six weeks to showcase the work of 20 different artists. We have had 10 artists displayed and our second group of 10 are having the work showcased currently” He Said.

Alex Surtees, A full-time artist said “the work is the exhibition is from

Image of a collection of art work featureing LP covers
Using Covers in his work to show his love for vinyl

around two years ago and a lot of my ideas feed into each other with this piece of work is made with real LP covers in them. Vinyl has always been part of my life, and even when CD’s came out I kept hold of mine.”

a collection of pictures depecting the sea and the sky
A Selection of Alex’s work showing progression from the base of the sea to the sky

Explain his other showcased work he said “This work here is a montage of photos, a selection of pictures of the rocks, sea and sky. Giving the theme of progression throughout the work” as having progressed into being a full-time artist.

Alex is a former art teacher and a graduate of Sunderland University, having taught art for nearly 30 year before coming back to Sunderland to complete a fine art degree and going into art full time with an art gallery at the Spectrum Cultural Hub in Seaburn.

If you are Interested in this exhibition then pop along to Mackie’s Corner in Sunderland until October 13, the exhibition is open from 2PM to 5PM every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Or Check out Alex’s Website here or Barrie’s Website Here

This article originally ran on SR News and was written on Friday, October 5. Check out SR news here and read the original here.