Five tips for a fading five-a-side player

No matter how often I hit the gym, or go for a bike ride, or brave the elements to go for a run…..

….nothing – ever – prepares me for the aftermath of a grueling game of 5-a-side football.

Why does it hurt so much?

I could do a triathlon every week (no I couldn’t) but I’d still ache like hell if I played just one hour of football; twisting and turning and trying to sprint on a little fives pitch.

And these days, it’s not only the next day that it hurts. I played a game last week – my first in about six months – and I was still groaning a full 48hrs later. I had a bath, stretched (well, tried to…) and rested, but it still took me three full days to feel normal again.


My legs get the worst of it. I wake up the next morning barely able to lift them out of bed. They do get better as the day goes on….but then I go to sleep again and when I wake up the next morning, they’re even worse.

My back aches too. My hips hurt. The squidgy bit just above the hips (that isn’t even supposed to be there in the first place!) is achey too.

Is this age? Or is this just what being a dad is?

Or……is my body finally telling me to stop trying to be what I will never, ever be and just restrict myself to the odd brisk walk?

Well, maybe not….

Joanne Groves, an educator, author and exercise trainer based in Wimbledon and with 20 years’ experience in the fitness industry, tells me there may be life in the old dog yet!

Joanne Groves is an exercise trainer, educator, mentor, presenter, stand-up comedian and actress!!

“The reason for the soreness is due to a couple of factors”, Joanne told me.

(Booze and dirty food…?)

“It’s a lack of specific preparation, and therefore a lack of conditioning” she said. “The soreness is often described as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and can leave you feeling tight and not wanting to move”.

So how do I prepare for a game so that I don’t feel like a 90 yr old man the next day?

Five tips for five-a-side recovery

1) Keep moving! You may not feel like you want to move but this will keep blood flowing.

2) Take a relaxing bath or cold shower, giving you the opportunity to rest.

3) Massage. Who doesn’t love a little skin touch? This does not have to be painful as a gentle message will stimulate blood flow.

4) Compressed clothing – again, this will increase blood flow, adding recovery.

5) Make sure your training better matches your movement goal, and you will soon find your conditioning improves reducing the symptoms.

So there we go; it’s really not that complicated! And I fully intend to give it a try, if it means prolonging what has always been an eventful, if perhaps modest, career in football.

And you should too!

For more specific details on how to improve your conditioning, you can contact for one to one or online programming.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Marley and I are two incredibly lucky men.

We have a wife/mum who not only never, ever stops doing things for us and looking after us – sometimes me more so than Marley! – but she also showers us with love 24/7, seven days a week.

Watching her prepare Marley for World Book Day yesterday was just another reminder (in a gigantic list of reminders!) of the lengths she goes to for us – without fuss – and sometimes, if i’m dangerously honest, without me even realising until it’s done.

She does so much!

So while I rushed around the house in the morning like a headless chicken, frantically turning it over in a mad search for my missing gym gear and a pair of matching shoes, there she was…..calmly placing a pair of armbands and an inflatable rubber ring (that she had bought in advance) on our grinning son.

She was dressing him up as Eric, the panda from his favourite book; Eric Makes A Splash and he was so happy with her.

Little Eric!

It’s a lovely short story about a worried panda, afraid of trying new things. But his friend, Flora (a rabbit, obvs) helps him to get over it and he ends up swimming and doing a whole bunch of other things that he’d always thought were too scary.

It’s great as a bedtime story but it’s also proving to be a very handy resource for planting a little seed in Marley’s head that he doesn’t need to worry about things.

And that’s in no small part because his Mummy is always there for him – and for me – and we are unbelievably happy about that.

So today, on International Women’s Day, it feels appropriate to take a moment to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate my wife… well as my Mum, my mother-in-law(s) – yes, I have two of them – my boss, my former boss, my former boss before that, and the hundreds of other amazing women we know, or have known.

We are very lucky to have you!

This photo was taken seconds after I had proposed – she said ‘yes’ despite my double-chin

Radio gaga

I watched Bohemian Rhapsody on my flight back from the Middle East last week, and I have been listening to Queen songs on repeat ever since.

It is absolutely brilliant by the way – I completely loved it. I grew up listening to Queen at home and on most car journeys with my family, and if there was one band alive or dead who I could choose to see for a single live performance it would definitely be them.

The movie ticked all the boxes, and reminded me just how much I love their music.


So when an opportunity arose this week to go and visit a local radio station – and take the little man along, of course – I was obviously Radio Gaga about it (sorry – I’m afraid there are lots more of these to come).

About ten years ago I was working as a producer at Edinburgh station Talk 107 (which Bit The Dust shortly after I left) so I’m no stranger to a radio studio, but I thought it might be a fun thing to do with Marley, what with all the people and buttons and flashing lights.

Wandsworth Radio is a community station soon to be making the Breakthru in to the neighbouring boroughs of Richmond, Merton and Lambeth and is run by an awesome team of volunteers.

Full disclosure: I was actually going along half-hoping I might be able to convince them they need to sanction a show presented by a dad blogger who likes to talk a lot and who could interview some interesting people for them.

Basically, I Want To Break Free from doing only written blog posts and have considered starting a companion podcast for a while now, so I figured if I could gain the support of a local station to do that then that would be very cool.

Not that I Want It All, or anything….

Anyway, we had a great time – we were shown around the studio by the Station’s Director, Jason Rosam, who was kind enough to let us go in and watch a live show being broadcast.

We even got a shot in the news booth – where Marley started Going Slightly Mad because daddy wouldn’t let him press the buttons.

We did get away with it when Jason wasn’t looking, though….

Don’t Stop Me Now….

Afterwards, the bus home was absolutely packed, and Marley fell asleep on me. Just as I was carrying him off, we had to squeeze past a group of Fat Bottomed Girls and he must have gone Headlong in to them because, unknown to me, his hat came off.

To be fair, I have form for this kind of thing…I leave stuff everywhere. But this was a particularly upsetting item to lose.

I mean, look at him wearing it….he’s like a little Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy.

Eyeing up the buttons……

I miss working in radio, so hopefully some Kind of Magic opens up an opportunity again in the future.

For now at least, Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. And with many, many years’ experience of getting to this stage in the past and being completely unprepared, I’m going to write a post about some Valentine’s Day hacks to help other useless lovers out.

Knowing me, it will probably take me so long to write it that I end up forgetting to buy a gift for my wife, so I might need to apologise in advance….

I hope it helps you out anyway – and who knows, it might even help you find Somebody To Love

OK, that’s enough now…..have a good week!