TV and Radio Host Dave Berry on the Simple Reason it’s OK to Skip “Leg Day”

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How are you getting involved in Sport Relief?

Obviously after Bradley Wiggins, the other most iconic cycling moment is Elliott riding his bicycle across the moon, with ET in the basket… so for Sport Relief I’ve climbed into a really tiny basket pretending to be a little boy, and worn an official Sport Relief T-shirt. Don’t get me wrong, it may not be the greatest achievement for Sport Relief, but it’s my small effort to help raise awareness.

Cycling moment

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What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done for charity?

A few months ago, I climbed one of the Piton mountains in St Lucia. It was something I just wanted to do, but I made a fantastic connection with the guy that drove me there. He was saying that he brings kids together to play football and how he’s been trying to raise money to get them all kits, so I ended up climbing the Piton for him. When I came back, I spoke to my friends at the Charlton Athletic Community Trust, and we’re going to supply the whole team with everything they need at the end of the season.

How do you relax after exercising?

For me, the king of anything after any sporting activity, is Lebanese food – a chicken shawarma will put the world right. In fact, tomorrow I’m having a kung fu lesson and I know that the tutor has been told to put me through my paces, which is great, but I’m already planning the chicken shawarma that I’m going to have after. It’s my little reward.

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

Yes, I have been in what can only be described as the throes of passion, and if anything’s going to ruin that, it’s cramp. I was hopping around and all I could feel was an excruciating pain down the back of my leg. I felt really ashamed after that, but then again, I’d rather risk that happening than being somebody who has to nip off beforehand to stretch. You never want to be that guy.

How often do you take selfies in the gym?

I did take my first ever gym selfie the other day, and I was actually quietly smug about it. It took me like 25 goes and a few filters here and there, but when I posted the results, I thought, “All things considered, that’s not bad!” It was a Monday motivation thing – I didn’t want to go to the gym, but you just need to suck it up and go. I had a lot of people saying “I’m going to do it now”, which was great.

Have you ever bought a piece of exercise equipment but never used it?

I have a generational thing with this, because my father spent a fortune on weights in the ’80s, which then went in the loft. Then I used them a little bit because I liked Rocky, and now they’re in my loft. So not only have I done that as a Berry, I’ve done it over two generations, and I can only hope that my children will do the same. Take the weights and put them in the loft.

What’s your policy on “leg day”?

I need to massively up my “leg day” game, in every way, shape and form. But if you can actually find the time to go to the gym, you just want to focus on the shoulders and the arms, don’t you? A very dear friend of mine called Phil Greening, the ex-England rugby player, said “Nobody sees your legs in a nightclub”, and that stuck with me a little bit too much. I’m blaming him for my really, really skinny legs.

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

What, gone full dad-bod, you mean? I’m 37 and I see friends of mine, and we’re all in very different shapes – you go past your mid-30s and it affects people differently. I’m a bit too vain to let it all go – I like clothes and tailoring, and I think I’d always like to look reasonable in a suit. The health benefits are just so obvious, too. You can see how sitting around all day eating chips and drinking fizzy pop is not the way to go for anybody. There’s too many sad stories to prove that.

Which health product would you rescue from a burning building?

The fitness app on the iPhone is amazing – seeing how far I’ve covered can be so rewarding. And so deflating. When you realise that over the weekend you only did 80 steps, and that was just from the sofa to the fridge, four times.

Which excuse for not working out are you most ashamed of?

If I’m not going, I’m not going. I get up early and I expend a lot of energy on the [Capital Breakfast radio] show, and if I just want to go home after and eat some Haribo and play some FIFA, then I will do that. I don’t really have a pang of guilt about it, because I’m not letting anyone down. My girlfriend has a yoga buddy and she’s got to go over to her house to do yoga, and she can’t let her down. So I refuse to go to the gym with anyone so I can only ever let myself down, and I can live with that. Jelly worms outweigh any guilt.

Dave Berry is working with Sport Relief to promote this year’s official merchandise, including the official T-shirt, available from Sainsbury’s (£10 with at least £5 going to Sport Relief). You can also sign up for Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games at

T shirt

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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.