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Going to the gym has passed its sell-by date

The word 'gymnasium' literally means 'a place to be naked', and like a lot of things revolving around nudity, it has its origins in ancient Greece, where people would partake in physical education in the nip. In Eastern Europe, nowadays, 'gymnasiums' are schools providing secondary education -- not in the nip. So gyms are places for both intellectual and physical stimulation. Which is a bit like the Celebrity Big Brother house this year, if you think about it.

You have the Jedward twins seeking any sort of intellectual stimulation, which includes pulling down Amy Childs' bikini bottoms to look at her gym-toned bumcakes. Then there's the paparazzo from Down Under, Darryn Lyons, who gives the illusion of having had contour surgery on his abs, but admits he needs to work on the rest of himself. Then there's Tara Reid, who once compared her nipples to goose eggs after too much physical manipulation; Kerry Katona, who burnt all her Iceland tucker in a rage after she was sacked; a big gypsy bloke called Paddy Doherty, who once claimed to have eaten his boxing opponents "like bars of chocolate"; former Baywatch beach bum David Hasselhoff's ex-wife Pamela Bach, who once starred in a movie called Nudity Required, and a couple of other male models.

Just like your average characters down the gym then, which is one reason why I stopped going a long time ago.

My reasons for going in the first place were much the same as so many celebs -- the 'binge and purge' programme of fat-burning and to burn all the money I made in the good old days of the boom through exorbitant membership fees.


In the boom times, a casual weekend binge would amount to double figures of pints, jumbo breakfasts and Indian takeaways on a Sunday night, so the gym purge Monday-Wednesday was all par for the course.

There was free Sky Sports on the screens, free spring water in the drinks dispensers, free hygiene wipes because nobody ever bothered to clean the machines after using them and plenty of free Eastern European totty if you fancied your chances.

Those days are gone.

The money to burn is gone. The Eastern Europeans have gone and the recession has put an end to all the freebies as pockets are as tight as . . . Amy Childs' bumbaps.

And as the men of the boom have gotten older, the bingeing is reduced to red wine, rib-eye steaks and rocket salad with Parmesan shavings (mmmm) but only on payday (boo-hoo) so the inclination to ming it up down in cut-price gyms has dissipated, just like . . . Kerry Katona's Iceland tucker?