MI6 investigates 007's fitness regime, to find out how secret agents and fans alike can maintain fighting form...

Fit For Duty

21st November 2010

Ian Fleming's James Bond - he's a 60 a day smoker, a hard drinker. He lives life to excess, indulging in fine food and he certainly enjoys the company of women.

For many, this is the fantasy lifestyle. After all, who wouldn't want to live life like Bond, free to enjoy all the pleasures of the world without their repercussions? Sadly, for us mere mortals, our indulgences have a habit of catching up with us.

So, for those of us who would like to enjoy the lifestyle of Bond but also want the toned physique of the world's most famous super-spy, what is the answer? Just what exactly can you do to keep in shape, just like Bond?

"'...Well,' said Bond. '...I could do with a spell of your training. I'm not as fit as I ought to be.'" - Dr. No


Despite being given these numerous vices, it does appear that Fleming also gave Bond a healthy fitness regime on top of all that excess. He is, after all, described by Fleming as hard, lean and exceptionally fit.

Ben Williams takes a look at the lifestyle that helps Bond stay the hard man of action and just what you can do to keep in shape like James Bond 007.

Bond is a natural athlete and outdoorsman. We know from "Goldfinger" he's a passionate golfer with a handicap of nine. This not only gives him a good workout, but it also keeps his mind sharp as he works out all the angles. We can't all afford the green fees, so you might consider finding a driving range.

Bond swims whenever he can as well as being an expert SCUBA diver, as is demonstrated in "Live and Let Die" and "Thunderball". Swimming is great for developing strength and stamina, as well as giving your body a full workout.

You might not live by the ocean, but there are plenty of SCUBA courses available at reasonable rates. Also, check the Internet for your local pool. If you can find one, I'd recommend joining a gym with its own pool.

Bond is a skilled climber and excellent skier as well, as we see in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". As with swimming, climbing is good for your whole body, but particularly upper body strength. Climbing can also be a mental challenge, so it will help to focus your mind.

There's no real substitute for actual skiing, so check out some of the deals online. However, if it's out of your price range, there may be a dry slope nearby. Alternatively, try some of the cross-trainers at your gym. They'll give you a similar work out.


Climbing on rock is very different to climbing on a wall, but if you don't have an available mountain, you could see if there are any bouldering groups near you. Alternatively, look for a good climbing wall. At least there will be no Apostis waiting for you at the top.

One of Bond's passions is unarmed combat. Indeed, in "Goldfinger" he is writing a handbook entitled "Stay Alive!" on the various types of unarmed combat gleaned from the Secret Services of the world.

There are many good self-defense and martial arts classes available. You could opt for Judo, as in "From Russia With Love", where we learn that Bond is at least  proficient in the basic holds. Or, if you prefer something a little safer, opt for Stage Combat. Here you will learn everything from unarmed combat to knife and sword fighting in a safety conscious environment.

007 also described as a boxer, so we know he must get in the ring from time to time. Sparring with someone else will keep you mentally alert and encourage your competitive edge. You might find a boxing ring, but you're more likely to find boxing classes at your local gym.

"I recommend that No. 007 should take it easy for two to three weeks on a more abstemious regime, when I believe he would make a complete return to his previous exceptionally high state of physical fitness.' - Thunderball

Bond also does practical, bodyweight resistance training, as variously described in "From Russia With Love" and "OHMSS".

These consist of: Push-ups, lying leg raises, stretching, squats, lunges and various chest expansion exercises. I'd suggest throwing in some dips, pull-ups and some abdominal crunches to give yourself a full workout. The great thing is, all these exercises can be done comfortably in your own home. Remember, Bond always likes an icy cold shower, so finish up with one of these afterwards. Invigorating!

Should you find yourself on a beach holiday, get yourself up nice and early and swim a mile or so up the beach, as Bond does in "Live and Let Die". This is a great workout, but do be careful not to get into any rips. Dry yourself off by running that mile back along the beach through the wet sand. Running on sand is a great strengthening exercise and will help you develop better balance and support.

If you can't do this, go down the gym and use the pool, followed by a run on the treadmill using interval training (varying the incline and the speed every couple of minutes) and then finish up with your resistance workout on the power plate. The power plate will mimic the uneven surface of the sand, building strength and developing your supporting muscles.


Bond also is a strong rower, as shown in "You Only Live Twice." As with everything else, there's no substitute for the real thing, but in lieu of a boat, try the rowing machine at the gym. Set the resistance high and row for at least 2000 metres.

So, at the end of all this vigorous exercise, you'll have earned your caviar and vodka Martini, but should also have the strength to take on all of SPECTRE single-handedly.

Article by Ben Williams.

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