Jason Byrne: “Animal Flow – it’s the New Pilates”

Jason Byrne
(Image credit: Unknown)

Which excuse for not going to the gym/working out are you most ashamed of?

I’ve had the flu for about two weeks and my voice sounds like there are four men living inside my neck, it’s quite manly. 
But no excuses, I actually am still training, would you believe? If I sit around in the flat and don’t do anything, I’ll get worse. 
I have to because I’m 44, although I have a feeling that suddenly getting fit in your late thirties and forties might be 
a bit of a mid-life crisis.

Have you ever “let yourself 
go” at any point in your life?

When I was in my early twenties, 
I was always a runner, I did the 1,500m, then I stopped when I discovered comedy, drink and girls, but I had a great time. If I met that version of myself now, I wouldn’t talk to me, I’d think “What are you doing? You are so uninteresting.”

What’s the weirdest
 fitness regime you’ve ever encountered?

I saw Conor McGregor and a couple of lads in the gym talking about Animal Flow – it’s everywhere now, it’s the new Pilates. It’s an amazing way of moving your body, it’s basically imitating a gorilla, lizard or a crab – lots of crawling around, all that bollocks. But it’s just inches from the ground, so it’s totally intense on your muscles. It makes you use every muscle very slowly, so I can do that in my hotel room. It’s a cracker.

What’s your most impressive 
personal best?

The last big run I did was the New York City marathon, two years ago – I’ll never run that far again, it was for charity. 
I train at about 10km now, while I’m on tour and the tour manager is setting up the gear, I’ll just put my trainers on and go running – it’s the best way to have a look around town. But people don’t understand you can run wrong, I was coached how to run properly – stand up straight, head up, keep your feet under your arse. I see people running by me and I just want to stop them. No offense to the ladies, but they’re always throwing their feet out to the left and the right like penguins, and twisting their spines, it’s nuts.

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How do you avoid the lure of 
the service station pasty?

I don’t eat out of those shitholes. I’ll go there and get my water and stuff, but I’ll find somewhere near the venue where I can have rice, meat, veg or noodles. I’ll probably buy 
a wrap for straight after the show – that’s the dangerous part, you’ve finished the show and you’re 
starving, and the only place that’s open is a chipper. So you’ve got to pre-load on fruit and wraps for afterwards. Also, my typical rider 
is really boring, it’s nuts, fruit, maybe some sort of protein bar, but I’m not mad about them.

Is there any gym equipment 
you can’t live without?

I like to have the stuff I like, that works 
for me, and keeps me going. I changed my trainers for the marathon about 
two months beforehand because someone told me I should. Then on the day I put my old trainers back on – they had holes in them and everything, but thank God I did because I’d moulded them to my feet.

What’s the most extreme thing 
you’ve done in the name of good 
health or fitness?

In March just gone, I did a comedy snowmobile tour in Finland – it was 1,000km over eight days, we rode to each village and did a gig. The first day was 250km on a snowmobile, and you’d think that sounds great, but you have to stand up, lean and throw the thing into corners, you’re using every muscle for 10 hours. I nearly died. I would do it again, but over a shorter distance, because it was an amazing thing to do.

What’s the longest you have 
gone without alcohol in the 
name of good health?

While I’m gigging I don’t drink at all, but years ago I’d be in Edinburgh and drinking beers all the time. It’s like if you went to work and every day you had drink after your job, which is insane – you can’t do that. You’ll see comics walking around, hating the festival – that’s because they’re riddled and hungover with booze, they’re all miserable...

Former staff writer

Gary Ogden wrote for the print edition of Coach between 2015 and 2016, writing features, interviewing celebrities and covering entertainment. He has also written for ShortList.