Joel Fry: “I’m What's Known as a Bad Gainer”

Joel Fry
(Image credit: Unknoiwn)

What’s your most impressive personal best?

A while ago I got pretty muscly quite quickly for a film called 10,000 BC – it was just me and a trainer really, the whole diet thing – eating all this grilled stuff and going to the gym every day. I didn’t really keep up with it – I play sports, but to be honest, the gym annoys me. I just quit my gym last week, because I wasn’t going in at all.

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

No, actually, I’ve been pretty lucky – touch wood – with pulling muscles. I can’t really think of any time I’ve properly done it. I’ve gone over on my ankle before – that was the worst thing that happened. I was playing basketball and on the first lay-up I immediately twisted my ankle. Although filming Ordinary Lies was quite physical in the end, and I did actually bash myself quite a lot during the fight scenes. Now you’ve asked me that, though, it’s probably going to happen. I’m going to run to catch a bus and my whole leg’s going to seize up…

Have you ever had a mishap on a yoga mat?

No, but I do a bit of yoga now and then – it’s a full body workout but it’s not strenuous. It’s tension and muscle conditioning, but with balance and stretching, all that stuff – you feel like your whole body is getting something out of it. It actually makes you feel better in your joints than going and lifting a load of weights every day. That might make your arms bigger, but it’s not so good for your body. 

Is it possible to stay in shape with zero work?

I’m quite thin, and I drink a lot of coffee! I’m kind of tall and gangly, so it’s hard for me to put on weight – I’m known as a bad gainer, but that’s the shape of my body. Today everyone thinks about getting the perfect body, but what are you going to do? You’re going to work out at the gym for months then get hit by a bus – it could end up being a pointless waste of time.

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What is your guilty pleasure?

Probably cider. There’s this brand called Westons, which you can get from the supermarket, and it’s ridiculously strong. Every so often, if I find myself grabbing one of those, I’m like “Oh no…” It’s actually too strong really, but that’s why it’s a guilty pleasure.

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

It’s never really happened. Ever. It’s not a great thing, but probably the only New Year’s resolution I’ve kept to, was when I decided I didn’t want to eat from any more of those gross fried chicken shops – any of them, they’re all shitty. And I managed to stick to that, which is not that much of a feat, but it is something. I don’t miss it at all, because they actually are disgusting, and bad for you – you never need to go to one of those places, ever.

What food would you not give up for a million quid?

I’m quite into savoury pancakes, so that vibe would have to stay…

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

I was kind of chubby when I was a kid and then I got tall and that was kind of it. There have been stages – I might be heading into one now actually, so I should probably get back into the yoga flex. I can see which way it’s heading and I’ll nip it in the bud and start playing badminton or whatever. But never really have I gone “Oh God, look at me!” You can normally see it coming.

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

It would be football. Just like 90% of men my age. Football, football, football! It’s a bit of a risky one for an actor though, because it gets a bit heated and before you know it you’ve hurt yourself somehow, so you’re limping around for a month. It’s difficult to do auditions and jobs if you’re incapacitated, so I’m a bit scared of it, I find. A kickaround is one thing but a match suddenly gets a bit different. I know actors who do play so maybe it’s just me, but they tend to play each other, so they’re in the same boat, going “Ooh, I don’t want to get hurt!”

Season two of Ordinary Lies can be seen on BBC One

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.