Over Christmas, I had an epiphany. I needed to get off my arse. So, I formed the GOYA club, and oddly, we have members worldwide.



The coronavirus saga has seen all gyms closed, people urged to stay home and personal exercise programs thrown into chaos. In Melbourne, where I’ve started my own Get Fit walking program, there was a serious hiccup when they closed the Botanic Gardens. But more people are out walking, and walking their dogs, than ever before.

Now, before you answer your own question about why you would even bother to read (let alone believe) a health and fitness story written by an old bleep like Derryn Hinch, let me make a confession.

In the indulgent, long lunch, seemingly invincible, smart alec days of yore, I had a standard joke. If your doctor suggested you start doing some exercise just change doctors. Boom, Boom!

That is why my epiphany is so extraordinary. I spent Xmas and New Year having a wonderful, lazy, peaceful, book reading, holiday at an Airbnb in Torquay, Victoria. My house guests went to the Front Beach daily. I didn’t. I was working on finishing a film script. 


This sedentary sod has been getting off his…couch and walking at least five kilometres a day. More than 35 kilometres a week.


My guests were all vegan or vegetarian. Food and health became a recurring topic in conversation. I decided, as my New Year’s Resolution for 2020, to start walking. I would aim for five kilometres a day.

I was well aware of the FBF syndrome when talking about New Year’s resolutions. It means Failed By February. So, I formed a mythical group for my personal Facebook page and called it the GOYA Club. An acronym for Get Off Your Arse.

And I did get off mine. Back in Melbourne, I started off with daily morning walks up the Punt Road hill, but then transferred my attention to the Botanic Gardens where I found many dirt tracks to explore amongst the jungle of trees. And you are usually alone off the sealed paths.

Along the way, on my daily treks, I took photos of flowers, trees, and quirky stuff, for my Facebook page followers.

Unexpectedly, but excitingly, people started to contact me on Facebook and by email to see how they could join the non-existent (free membership) club. Even a couple from Los Angeles, one from China, and some from New Zealand. Hundreds of people.

Sounds like a joke. But it has been working. This sedentary sod has been getting off his…couch and walking at least five kilometres a day. More than 35 kilometres a week.

In three months, I have lost 10 kilos; and the man boobs have gone! (attention, Bill Shorten).

Every year, since January 2013, I have set a weight target of 86.0 (according to my computer weight chart). Every year I have failed. When I made that resolution in Torquay this year I weighed in at 96.0. Yesterday I made it. Well, to be honest, 86.3, but that’ll do. Thanks to the GOYA Club. 


Also on The Big Smoke


Nearly a decade ago, when hospitalised for an organ transplant, I weighed 104.3 kilos (that’s 229.4 lb which equals 16st. 3 lb.) I know because, despite what the diet experts tell you, I weigh myself every morning (have for decades) and record it on my computer.

I’ve tweeted, and Facebooked, about some other walking tips. Like. If you live in an apartment (as I do) you could spend two or three minutes waiting for the lift after you push the button. Especially when one lift is, often, out of order. Fill that time walking, back and forth, while waiting for the lift. That’s an extra 50-100 steps a trip.

And walk early. Before you find excuses not to.

Somebody asked me what I listened to on my daily GOYA walks. Podcasts or music? They looked bemused when I said: ‘Neither. I don’t even own headphones’. Don’t even have one of those weird white things hanging out of my ear. I just walk.

Which reminded me of my father’s favourite saying, which I have adopted (and which I have just discovered was actually a Winnie the Pooh quote), and which I was recently given, framed, as a birthday present. ‘Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits.’

Well, I just walks. Do it. Join the club. 




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