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

Weird World of Sport

Related Topics

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...

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Lib Dem MPs have criticised David Cameron's decision to ask the retail tycoon Sir Philip Green (above) to lead a spending review when his Arcadia company is registered in the name of his Monaco-based wife  

So, the people who always support the Tories... are supporting the Tories? Has the world gone mad?

Mark Steel
Crofter's cottages on Lewis. The island's low population density makes it a good candidate for a spaceport (Alamy)  

My Scottish awakening, helped by horizontal sleet

Simon Kelner
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat