Introducing James Haskell: The England rugby star shares his lifestyle philosophy

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We are delighted to welcome International rugby player James Haskell to The Sloaney team. James joins us with a wealth of experience in the areas of health, fitness, sport and nutrition. In his opening piece for The Sloaney, James discusses his lifestyle approach…

“Admittedly, I may not be someone you immediately associate with the luxurious and refined brand that is The Sloaney. As far as individuals go, I think I fit more into the rugged, brash, overly large and extrovert category, which isn’t a bad thing for a professional rugby player.  Although I may be unfamiliar with some dimensions of the luxury market, I am really excited to join The Sloaney team and have the opportunity to write about all things relating to health, fitness and broader male topics. My aim is to provide you with some valuable insight into how to achieve the figure and healthy lifestyle that you want, while also having some fun along the way!

My background is a pretty varied one. I have been a professional rugby player for just over 10 years and I have played all around the world in every league, including Japan and the super 15 in New Zealand. As well as playing domestically, I have also had the honour to pull on the brilliant white and red of the England Rugby colours, 50 times.

I started my career at London Wasps; from there I went to Stade Francais in Paris, the team of pink shirts and naked calendars. For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about, please feel free to Google Dieux De Stade and all will become very clear. I then travelled to Japan to play, which was a life changing experience, followed by a season in the super 15. This is the league that is made up of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. I have recently returned to play at London Wasps in the UK.

As you can imagine, 10 years in professional sport means that you learn a little something about becoming fit and progressing as an athlete. Ultimately, you develop a laundry list of what to do and what not to do in regards to nutrition and training. These challenges are shared by everyone, not just a professional sportsman. Whether you are a busy city trader or a hardworking mum, it can be difficult to get the correct lifestyle balance.

As a result of all the globetrotting that I have done, I have enjoyed the chance to work with an abundance of different coaches, fitness trainers and nutritionists. I have been directed by numerous mentalities that range from the ultra professional to the frankly bizarre. I have seen the most left-field ideas succeed and some pretty straight forward thinking fall flat on its face. The one resounding lesson I have been taught is that you should never stop learning or developing.

It is for these reasons that I set up JH Body Fire to share the knowledge I have gained over the years and to impart my own personal mentality when it comes to training and nutrition. I have also asked other leading sportspeople to contribute their ideas. I am lucky to have been blessed with a good physique and as a result of my day job and passion to look good, I am very committed to maintaining my figure. Obviously there is an element of vanity that drives my mindset but I refuse to turn into the standard middle-aged man, shuffling around with a huge belly, telling everyone who will listen how I used to be in shape!

One of the main reasons that I launched my website and fitness business was down to the fact that I get asked a lot of questions about fitness. Whether it is through my Twitter or Instagram, social media users are keen to pick my brain for tips. These questions range from advice on supplements, men looking for pointers on how to increase their muscles or ladies looking for help with losing weight.

My approach to health and fitness is not complicated. It’s not rocket science. The most successful training methods are clear and simple, with a large dollop of common sense. Although there is a significant scientific element, for the most part, you don’t need to drill down to these depths of detail. A clear regime that provides results is the ultimate goal.

If you tell five people in the street what you eat, or what you do in the gym, everyone will have an opinion and tell you to do something different. It is important to stay focused and not be influenced by other people’s regimes. I believe that nutrition and diet are 70% of everything we do and training makes up the remaining 30%.

I want to make it clear that I am not a qualified personal trainer or nutritionist; instead I have learned through experience. Everything I share with you is a suggestion or something that has worked for me. Luckily, because of my position, I have access to some of the leading experts in all the wonderful fields of training and nutrition. So if I don’t know the answer, I will know someone who does.

I am not inflexible about my beliefs regarding training and nutrition. Not one person has the answer and there are no miracles, as far as I can see. Everyone is different and what works for one person does not always work for another. Anyone who shouts too loudly about some methodology or dismisses every other program or product because theirs is the “best” or “only” way is someone I try to avoid.

To start a healthy lifestyle you need to give everything a chance, you can’t expect instant results without some form of dedication and time. The way I live all areas of my life is based on this equation. You may think it is a little cheesy but it works for me.

E+M= D

Embrace + Maximize = Domination

If you embrace every opportunity you are given, maximize it with hard work and dedication you will ultimately dominate that opportunity and get the best out of it. Results and success will follow.

Over the coming weeks I will be writing more about my philosophy to health and fitness. In my next feature, I will be sharing some important tips for those of you who are about to start a health kick or a change in regime. However, seeing as I am new to The Sloaney team, I am also interested to know what readers would like me to discuss. Products? Training? Nutrition? Places to eat healthy food in London? Healthy holidays? Please submit your questions to or Tweet @TheSloaney and I will try to help answer them through my features.”