Get Active: Barking Sporthouse helps reporter fight his way to fitness

PUBLISHED: 13:42 03 February 2015 | UPDATED: 14:43 12 February 2015

Paula Watson helps reporter Sebastian Murphy-Bates punch past inactivity at Barking Sporthouse

Paula Watson helps reporter Sebastian Murphy-Bates punch past inactivity at Barking Sporthouse


Instructor Paula Watson helped me punch past inactivity with her combat training.

Fitness Instructor Paula Watson leads Barking Sporthouse's combat classFitness Instructor Paula Watson leads Barking Sporthouse's combat class

“It’s a bit full-on, this class.”

This was my introduction, courtesy of trainer Paula, to the Sporthouse’s no-contact combat workout.

Having not seen the inside of a gym in about a year, this was not what I wanted to hear.

After ambling into the exercise studio, I explained to the class that I was reporting on it for the Post.

“You must be very sporty, then,” a fellow attendee ventured.

I managed to both laugh and grimace simultaneously in response, picturing her inevitable disappointment at the sight of me flopping about.

What followed was an exhibition of hopeless bravery on my part, as I failed to keep up with this gut-busting cardio workout’s impressive choreography.

The class is an energetic blend of dance and martial arts, which sees attendees swinging upper-cuts one minute and bouncing back and forth the next.

If you’re anything like me, you might only last for half of the hour-long workout before your photographer finds you crumpled over the water fountain outside.

But, even if you feel as shockingly out of place as I generally do in sporty environments, it’s worth bearing in mind I came away from this class not dejected or discouraged but actually wanting to go back.

Despite my breathless confusion and inability to stretch, lunge, jump, punch or kick when and how I was told, I never felt excluded.

This just shows the excellent job Paula is doing to make exercise incredibly enjoyable.

Paula’s training made me, a man whose idea of a workout is lifting my moped off its stand before riding it to work, feel comfortable jumping about in a tracksuit surrounded by people who, I must admit, are simply better at this sort of thing.

She definitely gave me the boost I needed to get fit.

And, far from dreading it, I’m very much looking forward to the day I can finish combat class.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Barking and Dagenham Post