- Wasps and England star James Haskell eats 3,500 calories a day. Breakfast is his favourite meal and involves a protein shake, porridge, egg whites, and toast He told Business Insider he hasn’t had a cheat day in eight weeks.
32-year-old James Haskell is a rugby powerhouse.
Currently playing for Wasps in the Aviva Premiership and internationally for England, Haskell has an insane training schedule – and a 3,500-calorie-a-day diet to match it.
Speaking to Business Insider at an event held by peanut butter brand Meridian – for which Haskell is an ambassador (and big fan) – the Windsor-born athlete said he’s currently trying to hit 9% body fat and 117kg. While that’s currently his weight, he said he’s closer to 11% body fat.
“Last year, I was a bit heavier, and I was probably eating about 4,000 calories,” he said. “I’m just constantly on that kind of cusp of being slightly in deficit at the moment.”
And he’s incredibly committed. He said he hasn’t even had a cheat day in eight weeks. Yes, that’s two entire months without one unhealthy day.
Here’s everything Haskell eats and drinks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and in between.
Haskell told Business Insider he starts his day at 7 a.m.
“First thing on my agenda is always hydration,” he said, adding that he puts a hydration tablet into his two-litre water bottle.
“At the moment, because we have to be in the club a bit earlier, I end up having an Actimel, [and] I make myself a couple of coffees to go on the way,” he said. He added that breakfast is his favourite meal of the day.
“My girlfriend makes me a protein shake which is protein powder, greens powder, a banana, oats, Meridian nut butter, and then [she] makes me some oats – some porridge oats, some more nut butter, and something called Choc Shot which is a calorie-free fake chocolate thing.
“I take all of that in the car, drink it in the car, get to training, and then I have four egg whites and two pieces of toast. Depending on how I feel maybe some more porridge, but probably not.”
After training, it’s lunchtime. Haskell said the team has on site, but he usually has 200g of fish, 200g of brown rice, 200g of green vegetables, and “a load of water.”
“I train again in the afternoon, have a protein shake once I’ve finished training, go home, and have another meal,” he said. This often involves chicken and jalapenos with more brown rice, along with more water.
“I probably drink about eight litres of water a day,” he said.
- Joe Gough / Shutterstock
“I’ll have dinner later on in the evening,” he said. While this is often something similar to his lunch, he added: “The other night I had 5% oven cooked chips – there’s no fat in them – and some breaded fish.”
However, he still wasn’t satisfied. “I ended up having a protein mug cake,” he said. “My girlfriend makes it – it’s got protein powder and nut butter in a mug or a container with a bit of almond milk.”
“And that’s me done – about 3,500 calories a day.”
Consistency is key.
- David Rogers / Getty
Even on a match day, Haskell said he tries to stay “very consistent as opposed to doing a carb cycle or adding more carbs,” he said. “My whole week looks exactly the same.
“The only thing that might change slightly is after a game, while I won’t drink in the week at all, I may have a couple of glasses of red wine,” he added, joking: “Especially as Wasps are losing at the moment.”
However, he isn’t too fussed about the timing of his meals.
“The most important thing for me is to be hitting my macro count,” he said. “I would say make sure you eat [at least an] hour before training to digest, but always fuel your training.” He added that post-training hydration and refueling are also crucial.
He doesn’t believe in cheat days.
“I haven’t had a cheat day in eight weeks,” Haskell said. “But the thing for me is that I get to eat a lot of carbs anyway because of what I do. There’s a distinct difference between trying to get in unbelievable shape and being a performance athlete. I’m able to have calories, [because] I need to fuel what I’m doing, I need to fuel my recovery.
“I just haven’t had a cheat day because I like the dedication, focus until I see the results, I don’t want to do that.
“In the past, I would let my hair down and have a pizza and stuff, but at the moment I’m trying my best to stay in really good shape so I’m not even doing that.”