Lewis Moody talks to Sky Sports rugby union writer Tony Curtis about undertaking his greatest challenge - the Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 12/12/12 5:17pm
This festive period might signal the first Christmas away from professional rugby for Lewis Moody but there is no chance of the former England skipper stuffing himself full of turkey and all the trimmings.
Moody brought the curtain down on his long, distinguished career back in March, when a lifetime of putting his body on the line for Leicester, Bath, England and the British and Irish Lions finally took its toll.
But despite now being free of the constraints placed on a professional player, there will be no celebrating - with Moody set to embark on an eight-day 300-mile trek through the Arctic, where temperatures will drop to as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius.
Moody has agreed to team up with Alan Chambers and Phil Wall to tackle the Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon in February.
The three-man team are hoping that their efforts will see them to raise £300,000 for the HOPEHIV charity - with the money being used to help street children across sub-Saharan Africa.
And the gruelling trek means the 34-year-old has had to shed some weight and sacrifice some festive celebrations.
"Training is going well or it was until I had a mosquito bite that got infected and I had to have an operation to cut it out. It left a gaping hole in the back of my calf"
"I've lost a bit of body weight as I didn't want to be 17st and walking around the Arctic," Moody told Sky Sports. "I've lost 5kg and will be losing a bit more before we go.
"It is my first Christmas away from rugby so I've had a few more invites than usual to go out but it will be a case of just being a bit sensible. But having spent so long as a professional player, I am used to the diet and training regime over Christmas."
Moody's all-action style of play on the pitch and his battle off the pitch with the inflammatory bowel disease Ulcerative Colitis meant he has seen his fair share of doctors over the years.
However not even a post-retirement visit to the treatment room can stop Moody - with training plans back on schedule after an unexpected hiccup.
"Training is going well or it was until I had a mosquito bite that got infected and I had to have an operation to cut it out," said Moody.
"It left a gaping hole in the back of my calf but I am back to using the rowing machine and bike again and building up the lower legs.
"You do your rowing for overall fitness, the bike for lower leg, as well as squats and that.
"But more importantly it is about getting out there as a team and gelling together. It can be a bit monotonous when you are walking for 16 hours a day so you will need to know who is doing what and how things will work out."
Moody is not the first former player to attempt to tackle a gruelling challenge after hanging up his boots, with former team-mate Josh Lewsey and current Bath coach Toby Booth among those to test themselves to the limit.
Booth along with Neal Hatley and Justin Bishop were forced pull out of the Yukon River Quest after 212 miles due to sleep deprivation and hyperthermia affecting the crew of their canoe, while Lewsey was forced to abandon his attempts to climb Mount Everest 152m from the summit due to equipment failure.
Moody has chatted to Booth and Lewsey about their experiences as part of his preparations.
Moody added: "I spoke to Toby as they did the Yokun row but had to give up at the first checkpoint because of hyperthermia.
"I have spoken to Josh, too as his mask and oxygen packed up 100m from the top of Everest so it shows that all these types of things can go wrong. But for me it is not about winning, it is about completing it and raising money for HOPEHIV."
Lewis Moody, along with Alan Chambers and Phil Wall, will be tackling their greatest challenge of the Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon in February to raise money for HOPEHIV. To follow their progress or to sponsor them visit the website at www.mygreatestchallenge.org