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.

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!


Marley’s vocabulary continues to expand at a relentless rate, and he often surprises us with little words or phrases that I not only didn’t realise he knew, but that sound like they’re coming from the mouth of a 60 year old man.

For instance, after we’d had a friend visiting last weekend and it was time for him to leave, instead of saying goodbye to him Marley inquired: “where you off to?”

He also seems to possess expert comic timing.

After I had got out of the shower the other day, I could hear my wife on FaceTime to her grandmother. I tiptoed in to the room to get dressed, making a ‘sshhh’ gesture with my finger.

As soon as Marley saw me?


I think he shouted it five times before I got the chance to escape the room,  towel flailing behind me.


The real version may not be so nice…

Speaking of which, one of his favourite new words is actually “nice“.

It’s a fairly basic one, I admit, and he has known it for quite a while. But the interesting thing about Marley’s “nice” is that it has a whole new meaning.

“Nice” has in fact become a temperature in our household.

“I want my milk nice.”

“Make my water nice.”

“Daddy, is the bath hot, or is it nice?”

No-one knows how warm or cold nice actually is, but this has inevitably led to some confusion.

He was sitting with some pizza on a plate in front of him the other day, and when I encouraged him to eat it, I accidentally said it looked “nice.”

“IT’S NOT NICE!!! IT’S HOT!!” was the screamed response.

Silly Daddy!

Footnote: Marley is now over his bout of chicken pox, and was feeling much better until influenza hit this week (despite having the nasal spray vaccine about a month ago).

Let’s hope he is just getting all these illnesses out of the way in time for Christmas!