What if Elvis Presley was King of the gym?

What if Elvis Presley was King of the gym?

BY: Helen Rae

EVERYONE knows Elvis Presley had a tendency to overeat and not look after his health and wellbeing.

The King definitely hadn’t been keeping in shape in his later years, and a little too much junk food made those satin jumpsuits seem rather on the small side.

But if he had changed his lifestyle to one of exercise and healthy eating, he would have had a better chance of living to see his 75th birthday.

With the help of actor Jim Kitson, Elvis left Graceland and came back to life at a North East fitness centre to try out a new range of activities and get some dietary advice, courtesy of a health and wellbeing team.

The first port of call for Mr Presley was the Louisa Centre’s Lifestyle Fitness gym in Stanley, County Durham.

With a wide range of equipment, the aim of the fitness suite is to enable members to achieve a total body workout, by using weights machines, cardio machines, free weights and floor work.

Elvis kick-started his gym workout on the brand new Power Plate.

Gym instructor Steven Pevller said: “The Power Plate uses a series of rapid vibrations to trigger a continuous sequence of involuntary muscle contractions, aiming to increase and improve core body strength and increase motor skills.

“The benefits of this should increase stamina and muscular endurance and enable Elvis to provide a show with a little less conversation and a little more action.”

Elvis said: “Oh my God! I’m all shook up now! Oh that’s real good! That gives me ringing in my ears, boy! Well I sure got good vibrations. Priscilla would appreciate one of these.”

Next, Elvis tried out the BOSU ball.

Steven explained: “The BOSU ball is a balance and co-ordination trainer that will help Elvis’s core stability. Combined with using free weights, this will also help with muscle tone.”

Elvis said: “I could fall off this thing. It reminds me of a giant pimple! I really liked the weights though. They’re about the weight of the burgers I eat, so they’re just perfect.”

The fly machine was next, to help muscular strength and endurance across the chest, which would also be helpful for Elvis’s flexibility during his famous stage poses.

“I really liked that. It helped me stretch out my arms. It would help me reach around for my big Dr Pepper and fries,” Elvis said.

To round off the gym programme, Elvis tried out the Stretch Mate – a web-like apparatus to help create elasticity in muscles.

So, what did Elvis think to his first gym workout?

He said: “Elvis is lookin’ good and stretching out. I feel limber, lean, rough ’n’ tough”

Although Elvis’s gym programme was provided as a taster, fellow gym member Ray Smith, 41, from Stanley, County Durham, was confident The King would soon become a regular.

Ray said: “I’ve been a member of the Lifestyle fitness gym for three years now and it is definitely one of the better gyms in the area, it has everything you need and the staff are fantastic.”

I asked Ray why it is important for him to keep fit and what motivates him to workout on a regular basis.

He said: “I like to look after my body – male vanity really.

“I was once told by the Louisa Centre manager Rob Walsh that ‘there’s no feeling like feeling fit’ and that has really stuck with me. It might not mean much when you’re young, but as you get older you realise how important it is to look after yourself.”

After sweating it out in the gym and to vary his activity programme further, Leisureworks tennis development coach Michael Hume, invited Elvis to take part in a spot of morning tennis.

Michael said: “Tennis is a fantastic sport as it can be played by lots of different age groups meaning parents and grandparents can bring younger members of the family and take part together.

“As tennis is a cardio activity it promotes weight loss and will also improve hand and eye coordination, which should help Elvis with his dance moves on stage.”

But what did Elvis think?

Elvis said: “When I first started I thought the net was a bit of an obstacle, but after my expert coaching from young Michael I’m a whole lot better. I’ve kinda warmed to it, I move like a cat, I prowl, I’ve perfected The King’s backhand.”

Aerobics is a social activity that Elvis could do with his whole entourage to get them in the mood for any impending stage show.

Mixing cardio with stretches, aerobics classes can be tailored to suit all levels of fitness.

In addition, the Louisa Centre runs a range of fitness classes, from traditional aerobics to body combat and kick boxercise to x-biking and pilates, ensuring customers never tire of the same old routine.

Carole Chadwick, fitness instructor for Leisureworks said: “We have a huge variety of fitness classes at the Louisa Centre from full-throttle hardcore workouts to yoga and pilates, designed to condition your body through stretches and controlled breathing.”

Elvis was renowned for his unhealthy dietary habits. A typical day could be loaded with excess fat, sugar and calories in the form of fizzy drinks, enormous fat-laden sandwiches, burgers and other fried foods, possibly including chitlings – pigs’ intestines – or fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

However, while Elvis definitely needs a decent calorie intake to get him through his gruelling stage performances Carole Chadwick, GP referral consultant for Leisureworks, suggested a healthier alternative.

She said: “Elvis needs to balance his diet. At the minute his carb, sugar and fat intake is too high. I would recommend some fat-busting alternatives and making sure he eats his recommended five-a-day of fruit and veg while drinking plenty of water.

“With new food packaging it’s really easy for everyone to count their carbs along with fat and sugar intake. If he takes my advice, and reduces portion size, he should see his waistline decrease and his energy levels increase significantly.”

With this in mind, The Louisa Centre café served up a nutritious meal of baked potato and tuna, salad and coleslaw, washed down with a delicious fresh orange as a contrast to Elvis’ usual fizzy drink.

Elvis said: “Coleslaw! I recognise this! I’m not used to seeing these greens and tomatoes though. And I’ve never been partial to fish, which is what I believe this is. I think the whole meal would be better covered in mayo, with fried onions and served between two sesame seed buns. The OJ ain’t too bad though. But I am used to more fizz and sugar.”

Carole advised Elvis that he would need to cut out the fizz, sugar and excess fat and fried food in order to keep fit and healthy for his stage performances. However, it seems it could take a fair bit of mentoring to encourage Elvis to stay away from his favourites.

Elvis has now left the building!

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