Ross Noble on the Alternative to Bothering with the Gym

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What’s the best way to spice up a boring jog?

The one I’ve got into of late is listening to audiobooks because you can go on a really long run and get a couple of chapters in. Or I run the same trail that I would on my bike – you have to jump over fences and it’s basically like you’re escaping from prison, you can fantasise that you’re running from the police.

What’s your fitness weakness?

I have a theory: anyone who has children under the age of five, who isn’t a bit fat, is a terrible parent. If you’re not exhausted with kids under five then you’ve either got a nanny or you’re doing something wrong. Also, it’s very hard to buy ice cream for your kids without having some yourself… I took them to a birthday party and my three-year-old ate half the cake and was like, “I’m fine.” And I’m there just shaking, sweating and looking at it going, “Put it in the bin, no, eat it…”

If you could be a professional at any sport, what would it be?

Well, I actually ride enduro [off-road motorcycling]. For anyone who wants to get fit but can’t be bothered going to a gym, then it’s the best thing you could imagine – you can burn 1,000 calories an hour. It’s all core and strength – it’s like doing a week’s worth of gym work in an incredibly small amount of time, but it’s enjoyable as well.

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

My biggest thing with fitness is that I do quite a lot of exercise, but I also just look at it and go, “Oh brilliant, I’ve done an insane amount of calories, now I can eat that amount of calories in just chips.” So it’s tricky – I go through phases. I spent 14 weeks where I took up boxing and I lost loads of weight, but when I stopped I continued eating the same amount to keep up with the previous schedule. You suddenly go: “Oh dear, I seem to have put on two stone…”

Have you ever pulled a muscle in less-than-heroic circumstances?

I bought these shoes called Mud Claws, with big mountain bike tyres on the bottom of the shoe – they’re designed for running in mud. I came into London the other day wearing them, but the shiny floor of the train platform is not designed for mud shoes; it was like walking across a dancefloor in crampons. If you want to perfect the perfect lunge, then you need to wear mud shoes on a shiny concourse – I slid my way across the entire platform.

Have you ever set out for the gym, walked right past it and gone straight home?

No, once I put my trainers on, that’s me committed. Although I’ve put them on at 8am and it’s got to 3pm and I’m sat there watching Judge Rinder. When I’m on tour I’ve insisted on putting my room next to the gym and the pool just so I’ve got no excuse – you can smell the chlorine.

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

It’s been exactly 40 years, because I’ve never had a drink in my life. I started doing stand-up when I was quite young and I would borrow my dad’s car to drive to gigs, so I never really started. I’ve given up meat as well – I’m a non-drinking vegetarian, so if there’s anyone who doesn’t like me already, there’s two reasons to just hate me.

Is there a piece of gym equipment you can’t live without?

I’m obsessed with my Garmin fitness tracker. I’m constantly fiddling with it – in fact, I deliberately ran up some stairs just to see what my heart rate would do. I’ve done 2,200 calories today, which means I can have two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, or four-and-a-half cans of rice pudding.

What’s the worst type of gym behaviour?

The worst example of it, I was actually the perpetrator. I was in a hotel gym with two of my crew, and there was an iPod dock so I said, “Shall we have a bit of music?” This woman came in and got on the treadmill. Now, in my defence this was shortly after he’d just been prosecuted, so I hadn’t yet deleted The Best Of Rolf Harris from the iPod. Jake The Peg comes blasting on…

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Comedy legend Ross Noble takes his live show, Brain Dump nationwide from September 22 – December 17. Tickets are available at venue box offices and Ticketmaster. For a full list of tour dates and updates visit @realrossnoble

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.