Idris Elba warms up before his first fight at London's Repton Club in a scene from the TV series Idris Elba: Fighter.
Idris Elba warms up before his first fight at London's Repton Club in a scene from the TV series Idris Elba: Fighter.

TV Insider: Idris Elba fighting fit and loving it

IF YOU'RE already struggling to keep up your New Year's resolution, then let Idris Elba be your inspiration.

Plenty of women will need no introduction to the hunky British actor, best known for his roles in The Wire, Luther, Prometheus and Marvel's Thor franchise.

At the age of 44, Elba spent all of last year training for his first professional kick boxing fight.

While he has always stayed in reasonably good shape for his film and television work, the 12-month challenge pushed him to his physical and mental limits.

Cameras followed his entire journey, which overlapped with his work on the films The Dark Tower and Thor: Ragnarok, and that footage now forms the basis of the three-part documentary series Idris Elba: Fighter, which debuts in the UK on Tuesday.

Sure most viewers won't strap on a pair of boxing gloves and follow in his footsteps but, as Elba recently told me on a round-table interview call, every person has their own mountain to climb.

"I think people can take away that if someone says you can't do something, that doesn't actually mean you can't do it. I think people might hopefully take away some sort of inspiration of challenging themselves," he said.

"Really, as well as my ego being massaged and this wonderful sort of journey of fighting in different countries and so on and so forth, the best part, I think, is watching or hearing other people my age say to me, 'Look, I've always wanted to ride bicycles and I've never done that and you know what, Idris, I think I might do that now'."

While he's unlikely to step back in the ring professionally any time soon, Elba's only regret is not doing it earlier.

"Honestly (for) about 12 years I never trained, (I never) did anything like that and I do regret wasting my time like that. I do regret not keeping myself as fit as I am now," he said.

As well as his physical fitness, the actor has completely transformed his diet.

"I kind of used to laugh at people that were very sort of conscious about what they eat. I used to feel like, 'Oh, well, whatever.' But now I'm one of those people," he said.

"I actually think it's really important. I mean, I think if people discovered how things affect them when they eat, they would be a lot more conscious."

Idris Elba: Fighter will premiere in Australia on Foxtel's Discovery Channel in April.