Saturday, 12 July 2014

As fit as a fiddle

In which G.M. Norton works up a sweat in the name of gallantry.


Aware of my ever-expanding waistline after too many good lunches, pieces of cake, chocolate, biscuits, crisps, cheese and carrots, I recently made the decision to cut down on the carrots and start exercising.

I must confess, I’m not a very active sort of chap, preferring to plant my bottom in a comfortable armchair than on some form of fitness contraption.

However, it would appear that a few jackets have recently shrunk in size and I’m becoming more self-conscious about my protruding abdominal area. So, it was with some trepidation that two weeks ago, I started a new fitness regime – thirty minutes of good old-fashioned exercise every day. And I must say, after a fortnight of huffing and puffing, I feel much better.


I think it is important that a gentleman keeps fit and trim. Of course, it’s not about having bulging biceps or a six-pack stomach (although should I become the victim of these horrifying examples then so be it). No, ladies and gentleman - it’s about being ready for whatever act of gallantry lies ahead.

So without further waffling, here are a few of my thoughts on diet and exercise, plus a rather nifty exercising incentive.

Diet

Remember, everything in moderation! If you are going to indulge, make it worthwhile. Especially home baked treats.

Avoid packaged foods, loaded with a whole host of preservatives and additives. Instead, base your diet around fresh, whole foods.
Kill two birds with one stone - support your local butcher and greengrocer and improve your diet too.

If you can, supplement this with homegrown produce in your own garden or window box. You could also impress the special person in your life and try your hand at baking your own bread. Unless that special person is a master baker – in which case, it’s probably wise to leave the dough in their expert kneeding hands.

Exercise

There is an alternative to the gymnasium and your £40 a month membership. Ladies and gentlemen through the ages have kept fit by venturing out in the great outdoors.
If walking or hiking appeals, it allows you the freedom to search for the biggest stick you can find and carry it round for the afternoon.

You could also play a gentlemanly sport such as cricket, golf and tennis. Not only are there usually refreshments provided during the breaks but you also get to utter things like “Good show, sir!” and “Hard cheese, old fruit”.

Take up Bartitsu – A form of mixed martial arts developed in the Victorian age by pioneer, Edward Barton-Wright. This gentlemanly art of self-defence is a perfect way to keep in tip-top shape – and it means you are prepared should a cutpurse or footpad attempt to remove you of your pocket watch. The scoundrel!

Get cycling – Horrified by lycra? Bored of carbon fibre? Fear not, there is a refined and stylish way of cycling that means you can keep fit and look just the ticket. Pashley make fantastic British hand-built bicycles, perfect for a gentleman on the move. No lycra, more tweed!

Four gentlemanly benefits of keeping in tip-top condition

1) Never have trouble opening a jar.
2) Effortlessly carry a lady’s luggage up four flights of stairs when the lift is inevitably out of order.
3) People will remark how good you look. You will know this already but please feign surprise.
4) The next time you’re at the seaside, you can don your stripy Edwardian swimming costume without feeling remotely self-conscious.

I will now also reveal a top tip that I have recently found useful – when dropping down and partaking in push-ups, position a goblet of your favourite tipple in front of you as an extra incentive to lower yourself down.

Heed these wise words and at the end of an effortless day doing things befitting of a lady or gentleman, you can indulge in your favourite cocktail with a slice of lemon, safe in the knowledge that it’s going towards your five a day.

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of ‘Norton of Morton’

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