Exeter back-row Tom Johnson admits he is already playing "catch-up" with his team-mates after joining them for pre-season training this week.
The 32-year-old, along with new signing Moray Low, have been granted extended leave after they were both involved in recent tours with England and Scotland respectively.
Refreshed and revived, however, the duo are now back in harness alongside their team-mates as the countdown to the new 2014/15 season continues.
For Johnson, tackling the demands of an Exeter pre-season programme is nothing new and he says the work put in now by Rob Baxter's squad is key to how the club will fare during the demands of Premiership and European action.
"I've had a really enjoyable summer, especially going to New Zealand and facing up to the Haka and the All Blacks," he told Exeter Chiefs' official website.
"It was a real experience to do that and tackle all that culture and what that represents to the New Zealand people, but now it's nice to be back with the boys here in Exeter and getting down to the hard work.
"Right now they are flying, so I've got a bit of catching up to do."
The majority of the Chiefs squad are now into week five of their pre-season programme, but such is the nature of the modern-day game even in his down time, Johnson has been working hard to ensure his fitness levels remain to a high standard.
And with a new season and a World Cup on the agenda, Johnson knows it's vital he hits the new campaign firing on all cylinders.
"The World Cup is on the horizon, but like with any season it starts now with pre-season," he added.
The Premiership is such a tough league these days, you can't afford to be not at your best.
"The hard work has already begun for all the guys because you know every week in this division is going to be a battle.
"We've got London Welsh first up and we know how tough that will be for us, that's why it's crucial we get ourselves into the best shape possible now."