Interview in Sports Magazine
James Haskell was interviewed by Sports Magazine, and discusses turning 30, altering his training and nutrition programs, dealing with rumours, and of course - Rugby.
You’re 30 now. Has your approach to fitness changed as you’ve got older?
“I’ve realised I have to look at things not just in terms of aesthetics, but in terms of recovery, longevity, joints – general health. I’ve got a bit of a workaholic personality, too. I do media, training, I’ve got a fitness business, I write for lots of people and obviously I’m a young male so I’m always out and about.”
What did you change?
“I started working with a nutritionist called Aidan Goggins. He did blood tests and found I have high testosterone, as you’d imagine – but my body showed signs of stress. He upped my level of vitamins, greens and antioxidants. Always having a colourful array of food on my plate has made a big difference.”
What’s the best aspect of your physique?
“I’ve got quite big arms. I joke about selling ‘two tickets to the gun show’. I’m pretty pleased about my abs, too. I don’t eat or train to have a good body though – I do it to perform. Sometimes it can be frustrating, because you see these cover model guys and are like: ‘Pffft, I’ve got the right basis, I’d like to be amazing.’ But first and foremost, my job is rugby.”
What’s the best try you’ve scored?
“It was against the Barbarians at Twickenham [in 2010]. I came down the blindside, got the ball, dummied someone – unbelievably, they bought it – and ran through the full-back. Then the winger came across so I dummied to kick it and they both ran into each other while I ran around them to score. I didn’t really celebrate, but now I think: ‘Christ, I haven’t scored a try in such a long time.’ I don’t know why I didn’t.”
You can watch only three sports for the rest of time. What are they?
“Rugby. UFC because I love Colin McGregor. He backs up being an absolute character - something which in life and general sport is being squeezed out – with being bloody good, which is the perfect ticket. And women’s volleyball. Beach volleyball.”
What’s the most ridiculous rumour you’ve read about yourself?
“One was that I was dating Kelly Brook. Or that I describe myself as ‘The Brand’. I’ve never called myself that. I think it came from an ex-coach who was bitter that I’d left the club. Now when people want to throw stones at me, they use it.”
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
“I ran into the post [instead of diving over the line for a try against Wales in England’s opening game this year] during the Six Nations. I also tripped a French guy up in the last game. That was pretty embarrassing, too. I cringe at things I did as a kid. Whenever anyone gave me any attention, I was like: ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ It’s painful.”
Have you ever had a nickname?
“Not a good one. Ask your readers if they can come up with a decent one. When I was in France, they described me as ‘Le Machine’. I’ve also had ‘Dot Com’, because I was the first player to have a website. So it’s nothing good, and I’ve never invented my own because that’s the lowest form of anything.”
If you could change one thing about your sport, it would be...
“They shouldn’t show replays of foul play on the big screens. It influences the crowd, and referees are only human – so they react. My trip against Jules [Plisson] at Twickenham [in March] was a yellow card, but they replayed it about 1,000 times and it was like: ‘Okay, can you stop playing it now?’”
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