Dom Joly: Why home gym didn't fix it for me

Weird World of Sport
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The Independent Online

I'm back from Canada, feeling bloated and unfit after five weeks munching on moose-burgers and roast beaver. I really need to go to the gym.

The problem is that gyms and I don't really mix. I did join a local one about two years ago. I got my induction, a bag, a water bottle, a tiny towelette and an electronic key with which to chart my progress into Charles Atlas. I went every day for five days and then got bored and stopped going. I think this is a pretty standard annual gym attendance for most people.

They guilt you into joining and then bank on you giving up and being too embarrassed to resign and ask for your money back. Actually, I'm not sure if you can ask for your money back. I didn't really read the small print so I'm probably signed up for life. Obviously I'm too embarrassed to go back there. They all know I'm a quitter. There's only ever two types of people in gyms anyway – those who don't need to be there and those who shouldn't bother. The first are the narcissistic types who already have the body beautiful and spend the whole time squeezed into tight shorts staring at themselves in the mirror.

They grip huge weights in their hairy hands and tense their veiny arms admiringly – and that's just the women. Then there are the morbidly obese who sit on exercise bikes and pedal very, very slowly while looking out of the window at Waitrose planning what they're going to scoff when they get out.

The crazy thing is that I do actually have a pretty good gym of my own at home. I went a bit nuts with a royalty payment some years back and invested in some serious equipment. I bought the stuff from some very swanky shop in Marylebone. Weirdly, they gave me a fabulous discount as long as I agreed to pose for a photograph that they intended to display on the wall. I wasn't sure if they were thinking of using said photo as a warning to prospective shoppers: "This is what could happen to you if you don't purchase some of our stuff, sharpish..." They made me wear some boxing gloves and pretend to punch some Boxercise machine. Said photo eventually went up on the wall alongside Al Pacino and Pierce Brosnan. I bet they're chuffed that I've joined the club.

Anyway, one of the joys of living in the country is that I have some outbuildings and I turned one into my fitness palace into which I crammed said equipment. The idea was that I would have no excuse not to visit the gym if it was just over the courtyard. This also started promisingly – I got a trainer and went in every other day to work out. Then, after five days, I got bored and stopped. I started to screen calls as I was afraid of my trainer. I'd answer in weird voices – "No Señor Dom, he no here, he die een bad acceedent, very sad, adios..." Every time I looked out of my window my gym would stare back at me in a sneering manner. It was pathetic.

The whole concept of the gym is dumb – exercise bikes for instance. I understand that for most people it's difficult to go skulling on a river so rowing machines make a little more sense. Why, however, did I buy an exercise bike? I live in the middle of the beautiful Cotswolds. Why didn't I just buy a bicycle?

I have no answer except, possibly, for a fear of having to wear Lycra and shave my legs. Exercise bikes remind me of an old Jack Dee joke. He used to wonder why people stopped at motorway service stations to play driving games in the arcade. "Surely it would just be easier to keep driving and throw fifty pence out of the window every two minutes?"

What I need is a gym buddy – someone to work out with me. We could motivate each other and give high, big, whooping fives and then we could go to Waitrose together and buy lots of food and eat it all guilt-free in the car park. Who knows, I might even last a month and then write the "Dom Joly Waitrose WeightWatcher Programme." It'll be in the shops for Christmas – I might even do a fitness video with Nigel Lawson. Actually he could be my gym buddy. I'll keep you posted.

Bring on the beards and cakes – I want to do TMS

I've been an avid cricket fan all my life. My first Test match was the famous Headingley Test in 1981. Now, Stephen Fry and Lily Allen are on 'Test Match Special'. Surely I'm next? Come on Aggers, Tweet me...