James Haskell: How to get started with fitness

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How do I start getting fit? This is probably the question I get asked the most. In this day and age everyone has a basic understanding about the importance and need to take some regular exercise. However if this involves  more than walking the dog then there is stuff to know and learn if you want to do things properly and get benefit.

So let’s assume you want to get fit and in shape, but don’t know how to get started?

This is something that luckily hasn’t been an issue for me over the last 12 years as a result of having been a professional rugby player during this time. At the outset I had people to help and guide me, sadly not always providing the best advice, which is why I am keen to share my 12 years worth of insider knowledge and experience with you, to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes as I did.

Like everyone I had to start somewhere and it can be a tricky choice. I want to help make that a whole lot easier and simpler for you. So whilst I haven’t had to make this decision in general for a long period of time. I am always embarking on new projects and new hobbies. A lot of these out-of-rugby activities involve training, like jujitsu and boxing. So like non-sportsmen I have to look at where to start, how to get in shape for it and who to work with as well as determine the right questions to ask.

So unless you want to take up a team sport, you are going to need to choose the right gym and start in the right way, to get the results heading in the right direction. Having said choose a gym. There are of course many exercises you can do at home without recourse to a gym. You can find details on this on my website.

Within this feature I am going to give you a simple session to get started and some advice on what to do.


First we have to address the most common initial mistake. No doubt like many people your New Year’s resolution was to get fit and of course again along with a great many people you thought that signing up for a gym membership was the answer. I have a couple of questions for you…

How many times have you gone?

What did you do when you got there?

Let’s make something clear right from the outset, there is no point in paying for a gym membership if you don’t know what you’re doing. Just signing up for it and seeing that monthly payment coming out, doesn’t mean you get fit. It’s like people wearing training gear all the time and never actually working out. Sure you feel better but you still aren’t actually doing anything. So my first piece of advice is to make sure you take up the free PT session/consultation, which I am sure were no doubt offered with your membership. Some gyms even offer a series of Personal Training sessions. I would definitely initially look at this over anything else.

Taking the time to get a simple explanation of how the gym works. What sort of work you could be doing and ultimately the right technique, is so important. The Internet is awash with people who have no idea what they are doing and subsequently lift and train very badly. This is through naivety more than anything.

Then there are the other group of people who are too proud to ask advice and think they have it all worked out. You see gyms all the time full of these people, doing half reps or obscure exercises. Bizarely  they are often the first people to offer unwanted advice. So you can see why it’s important to seek out professional advice. This should help make your gym membership investment go a little further. Of course you need to first do your research to make sure the trainers are any good!.

Luckily we live in a world of social media and the Internet where you can find out if a gym is any good and the trainers within it. There will be some forum, somewhere which will have the information you need. So please don’t just rush out and sign up for the first gym you find. It doesn’t matter if it’s just round the corner from you, or on the way to work. It has to be right for you!

Another key point when choosing a gym to get started is to make sure you aren’t lulled by the glitzy cardio machines. Once you develop your training knowledge and your goals change, you are going to want to spread your wings. You want a good selection of weights, free and machine. You don’t want to just jump on the treadmill because it looks the simplest bit of kit. Trust me even people get performing exercise on this wrong too!

If you are really serious about getting into shape and you want to invest some money, then I would purchase a course of personal training sessions. Obviously with someone who knows what they are doing. (Read my previous comments about doing your due diligence on trainers).

You may not even have to purchase a gym membership; you could just go to a PT gym. You pay for the PT Sessions, use the gym and facilities for free. This can often be for the more serious person as it’s quite hard core.

You turn up, you train, you shower and you leave.

However I have probably written enough for one session. There is a lot to consider and think about. So I will leave you to reflect on all I have said and will continue in the same vein next week!

There is of course our award winning supplement range, which has all you need to boost your training. All the supplements are tested so there is no unwanted rubbish or chemicals in there. They are safe for members of the armed services and elite sport.

If you would like to know more about Health, Nutrition and Fitness then please visit our website:- where we have a host of free material, content and videos to help you or follow us on Social Media  @jameshaskellhf