King of the Jungle Kian Egan on what it takes to win I’m A Celebrity

The reigning I’m A Celebrity champion says this year’s campers should avoid playing games and prepare for a marathon, not a sprint...

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Kian Egan is the reigning King of the Jungle after storming to victory in last year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! The Westlife star and current Voice of Ireland coach saw off stiff competition from fashion designer David Emanuel and actress Lucy Pargeter, as well as former TOWIE star Joey Essex (who learnt all manner of things in the jungle, including how to tell the time and how to blow his nose the “professional way”).

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Rumours are rife about who is heading into the jungle this year for the Ant and Dec-fronted show, with actor Craig Charles, presenter Melanie Sykes and actress Gemma Merna among the famous faces expected to take on the challenge.

But before the new campers get down to the business of eating kangaroo privates and being buried alive with rats, we wanted to find out what Kian’s top tips for success would be…

Shrink you stomach and build your muscles

“I tried to cut my food down, I trained a lot to try and get muscle fit and built up muscle mass. I suppose I was very logical about everything, I’m a very logical person. I was like, OK, if you starve yourself your body eats your muscle, so I need to build some muscle so I still have enough muscle to do the tasks. I need to shrink my stomach. I need to stop drinking coffee. I need to try and stop doing all of these things that I know I’m not going to be able to do in there, to try and give my body less of a shock.”

Be mentally prepared

“It’s a psychological challenge more than anything else. [You need to be] mentally prepared to be cut off from the rest of the world, and the emotional challenge of being stuck with twelve other people that you don’t know, that are going to be going through similar experiences.”

Get ready for day five

“The first few days are really, really exciting. Once you get into three or four days, then the camp merges and it’s exciting for another day or two and then it just becomes like, ‘OK, this is real’. You realise you’ve only been in there five or six days and you know you’re in there for around twenty one days if you last the whole hog.”

You’ll be more tired than you can imagine

“I had two days of literally not being able to get out of bed. When you’re so tired and you don’t even have the energy to get up. Even when Ant and Dec come in in the morning to sit around and tell you what the challenge is or who’s going home, you’re to the point where you’re just dragging yourself to sit around the fire. As soon as that’s finished you’re straight back into your hammock and back to sleep. Not even to sleep, just back to lying there.”

Be yourself, don’t play games

“Anybody who doesn’t know they’re on camera in there 24/7 needs to get their head checked. You realise the only way to be is to be yourself. My attitude going in was always, I ain’t going to play no silly games, I ain’t going to play up to anything or get in any arguments deliberately to cause drama. I’m just going to be myself and if the public like me for that then great, if they don’t then they don’t. I accept myself for who I am and I’m not going to change myself for anything… I think if you’re a good, genuine person and if you’re just being yourself, you’re so much better off. Trying to play any sort of game, you can just forget about it. People see through that straight away.”

Prepare to be ignored

“It is the most secluded scenario that you can imagine. It is as intense as you can imagine, there’s nothing fluffy about it. You see the rangers the odd time setting stuff up, but they’re not allowed to talk to you. They even say to you before you go in, you can hug the rangers all you like, they are not going to talk to you.”

Be ready for all weather

“If it p***** with rain, it p***** with rain on top of you. It it’s cold, it’s cold. If it’s warm, it’s warm. That’s it. It is what it is.”

Get used to the dark

“It’s properly pitch black at night. There’s lanterns around the camp, but once they see everyone lying in the hammocks, they turn them off.”

The bathroom is further than you think

“Everything is quite far away from what it looks like on TV. It’s all quite spread out. To walk to the bathroom at nighttime on your own – a lot of people didn’t want to do that. A few people would get up and pee in the bushes, because they were too afraid. Especially the men.”

Attack the trials

“I wanted to smash every task that was out there. I was like, ‘Bring it on. I’m going to get every star that’s in there’, you know?”

Choose your luxury item with care

“I think Lucy had the best luxury item in the world last year. She had a pillow but very cleverly she had printed a picture of her family on it. Very clever.”

Plan for a marathon, not a sprint

“I think what happened to Joey [Essex] was the fatigue got to him. He burnt himself out. The first week and a half he was bouncing around camp like a bunny, he didn’t conserve his energy. He went in for the sprint, not the marathon. I think I had prepared for a marathon. I wasn’t prepared for a sprint.”

Be a team player

“I’m the type of person that likes to take care of people. I’m a team player and I think that benefits everyone when you’re in there. If you’re not a team player in there, it becomes very apparent very fast.”

So celebs, follow all those rules and, who knows, in three weeks’ time this could be you…

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! returns Sunday 16 November at 9:00pm on ITV

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PLUS: we want you to vote for your favourite jungle winner in our I’m A Celebrity champion of champions poll