By Robert Wardy.

Old Times


Call it 15 years ago I wasn’t in the best shape, physical or mental.

I was drinking like the proverbial fish.   I was smoking 3 packets of fags a day.   And I was fat.   As for mental: my self-image wasn’t all that great (after all I was drinking like a fish, smoking like a demon, and I was ​fat​).

First things first.   I quit the fags cold-turkey.   So I put on even more weight.   I replaced a cigarette addiction with a peanut butter addiction.

Then the light dawned: ​ hey Robert, do things you couldn’t do when you were a smoker​!   Number one on the list was get in shape.   I was a childhood athlete.   So maybe I should work out, shed a few pounds, maybe even get a date…

I checked out Cambridge gyms.

I found a place that suited me.   It was called the ​AMAX ​(RIP).   It was a no-nonsense gym with plenty of free weights.   But I didn’t know one end of a dumbbell from the other, so I needed a trainer.   There was a young guy working at the ​AMAX ​named Richard Patman.   I really liked him from the word go.   Richard Patman was obviously really, really strong.
And when I asked him for advice he didn’t patronise me or try to sell me a packet of expensive goods.   He showed me the weight racks.   He explained the difference between dumbbells and the other stuff.   He patiently taught me how to lift weights without hurting myself.

I couldn’t believe my luck!


Richard was an employee of the ​AMAX.​   I asked him whether he also worked for himself as a personal trainer.   He said ‘no’. I persevered and convinced him to train me.   We talked money.   Richard asked for next to nothing.

We shook hands.


That’s how a fat, out-of-shape, recovering nicotine addict became Richard Patman’s first ever client.


The relationship changed my life. Literally.


Robert Wardy