RickyIn an exclusive interview, Ricky Gervais tells MH how he ditched the excuses, burnt off the belly - and kept his sense of humour.

He thinks it was the eleventh sausage that did it. Staring down at the greasy, empty plate, Ricky Gervais knew he had to seriously reassess his lifestyle.

"Eleven Sausages," he repeats with a smile. " I couldn't stop eating them. I felt really ill, really bad. I had to lay there for a couple of hours, like a snake just to digest them."

The comedian's pork nadir occurred just over two years ago, during Christmas 2009 at his home in Hampstead, north London. As he chewed and swallowed that final sausage, he says, something simply clicked inside him.

"I just thought, this is getting fucking ridiculous," he says. "I had hit 14 stone."

The sausage meltdown was a high-water (and weight) mark for the controversial writer, actor and Golden Globes host. From January 2010, he committed himself to a healthier lifestyle, and a routine that has subsequently seen him slim down to a svelte 12 stone. For 50-year-old Gervais-who talks of "turning my life around at the last minute" - it is something he takes extremely seriously. It's belated wake-up call, but one that fits a clear pattern in his ever unorthodox life.

"I didn't have a proper job until I was 28," he says. "I didn't get into comedy until I was 38 - and I didn't start exercising until I was 48." The message is so clear that even the hopelessly self-delusional David Brent, couldn't fail to spot it: "It's nerver too late," says Gervais. "Never, ever too late,"

Gervais' routine is basic, but effective: he's spoken frequently of how is 55-minute cardio sessions have been key to his impressive weight loss. "It's a psychological thing," he explains. "If it's under an hour, you don't feel like it's taking up a huge amount of your day, and you can do other stuff. So it fits into my life."

Indeed, it's the "other stuff" that drives him on: the carrots that help him stick to his fitness goals. The ultimate aim, he says, is to "stay alive" - but in terms of mid-session motivation, he is also fired up by knowing he can "eat more cheese and drink more wine".

"I read sometimes that I'm doing this so i can play a Hollywood leading man," he says. "Yeah, right I play fat putzes. If anything, this could ruin my career!"

Fundamentally, the secret of his stellar weight loss mirrors that of his career. "I dug in," he shrugs.

"Since The Office I've realised that the hard work is the reward; just that in itself. Win, lose or draw. Finishing something, doing it. It's invigorating."

Over the last two years, Gervais has experienced that same sense of invigoration from running.

He's regularly spotted pounding the streets of north London and enthuses about running in New York too-where he has a second home. His favourite route is to circumnavigate the reservoir, pretending he's Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man.

"It's so easy," he says. "Get out there, do it and enjoy the results Why does it always take me so long to work these things out?"

Gervais describes his routine as a classic' 50s high-school gym workout". Try it for yourself with MH's retro sesion (right) created by British Military Fitness instructor Logan Ovenden-Clarke.

SLIM-DOWN STRATEGY
Know your goal.
Gervais isn't trying to chisel out abs. For him "it's about living longer, never about vanity".

Strike a balance.
"I tend to think 'I'd better get a sweat on if i want to open a bottle of wine at six,'" Gervais says.

Bin the excuses.
"I do it in all weather. Thats's the rule. Press-ups, sit-ups...it's an army workout really."

Burn Fat like Ricky Gervais

If he can do it, anyone can. For whole-body definition, warm up, then do 10 reps of moves 2-8, followed by 9 reps, then 8 and so on.

Cardio

1. Cardio (WARM-UP)
Start by running with your knees high for 1 min. Focus on keeping your core stables as you bring alternating knees up to your chest. Now move straight into jumping jacks-do this for another minute. perform three times.

Prison

2. Prison squat (GLUTES)
Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows back (A). Squat until your thighs drop just below parallel to the ground (B). Push back up. You're just getting started.

Jumping

3. Jumping lunge (QUADS)
Take up a lunge Postion (A). Your right knee bent to 90 degrees in front of you. Drive up through your glutes and thighs. Switch legs (B) and land with your left leg forward and right leg back. Perform on each side. That's one rep.

Dumbbell

4. Dumbbell row (BACK)
Time to work your upper body. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend forward, back straight, arms hanging (A). Pull the dumbbells until your wrists reach the bottom of your ribs (B), then lower them slowly with control 1 sec up, 2 sec down.

Arnold

5. Arnold press (SHOULDERS)
Hold dumbbells with palms facing shoulders and elbows under your wrists (A). As you raise the dumbbells, turn the weights 180 degrees so your palms face outwards (B). Reverse on the way down.This is ditching your fat and building a V-shape too.

Pike

6. Pike press-up (CHEST)
From press-up position, step your feet in towards your hands (A). With your hips lifted bend at the elbows. Stop when your forehead is just above the ground (B) and push up with your shoulders until your arms are straight.

Press

7. Press-up plank (CORE)
Adopt a plank position weight on your elbows and toes (A). Tense your abs and shift your weight from your right elbow to your right hand. Repeat on the left, pushing up into a press-up position (B). Then reverse. Nearly there now.

Braced

8. Braced sit-up (ABS)
Lie with your righgt know bent and your left leg straight (A). Use your abs to lift your head and torso (B). Pause at the top beforeslowly lowering. Complete 10 reps on each side. You've earned a break, and that leaner physique.