Peak Physique: James Cracknell

You//Fitness and Health


James is one of Britain’s most successful athletes of all time, with 2 Olympic Gold Medals and 6 World Championship titles. His epic rowing finals in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 were two of the most watched sporting contests in history but it is since retiring from his 13 year international career that James has distinguished himself as a very special and inspiring sportsman, athlete and adventurer.

The Essential Cyclist recently caught up with James to find out exactly how he stays in Peak Physique.

What is your sport? 

Rowing was my sport, similar to cycling in that you do it sitting down and a good set of heart and lungs are pretty useful but aside from that there's not too much the sports have in common.

Are you a good trainer? 

We trained far more than we raced so if you didn't move on in training there wasn't the opportunity to 'race yourself into form'.  I always believed in doing the schedule to the best of your ability rather than just doing the programme. 

What motivates you for training? 

Knowing that if I didn't do it properly I'd have to listen to someone else's anthem and since retiring knowing how frustrated I'd be if I finished an event knowing I could have done so much better if I'd only…

What is your favourite exercise and why? 

Running, surprising as I'm built for comfort rather than speed but the flexibility it offers – just chuck a pair of trainers in your bag.

What is your least favourite and why? 

Even though I know how important it is stretching.  I blame my old rowing coach who wasn't keen on us doing anything where we weren't seating.

Your number one exercise tip? 

Know what you're aiming to get out of every session and use a programme to ensure you don't waste any workout.

What is your weakness when it comes to training? 

Despite knowing it's true not believing that "less is more"

Are there any sports you would love to try but can't because of your training commitments? 

When I was competing we weren't allowed to go skiing so I'd love to be standing at the top of a slope knowing what I should be doing on the way down.  That and big wave surfing but my inability to do that is a lack of skill, guts and coordination rather than training commitments.

How do you prepare for an event/game? 

Set your goal from a long way out and plan a pathway/series of steps in order to get to and perform at that level.

What do you do to relax away from sport and training? 

I always used to say "leave the boat at the boathouse" there wasn't anything I could do before I got back the next day so don't spend 20hrs worrying about it.  My kids don't allow to dwell on anything but movies, books, music and going to concerts.

Protein shake or milkshake? 


Marathon or sprint? 

I'd like to say sprint but as I don't possess any fast twitch fibres I'll have to say marathon!

Chocolate or cheese? 

Mature cheddar and parmesan just edge a Biscuit Boost – pure class I am!


James Cracknell is a brand Ambassador for ActiVeman, the new sports nutrition range for men available online from  Boots stores nationwide and

James is also Conservative MEP candidate for South West England and Gibraltar. You can follow him on twitter @CracknellSW


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