Former defenseman Tom Laidlaw, 61, believes he’s better conditioned today than he was when he played for the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings from 1980-90.

Embracing what he calls a "True Grit" lifestyle, Laidlaw gets up every day at 3:30 a.m., makes his bed “perfectly," does a 2 1/2-mile march and then heads to the gym to work harder and smarter than he did as a player.

“I’m 20 pounds heavier but with more muscle,” he said. “I weigh all of my food every day.”

But he insists his dedication to fitness is not what landed him on the CBS show “Survivor,” which launches a new season, "Island of Idols," Sept. 25 with a 90-minute episode at 9 p.m. ET.

“I was pretty cocky,” Laidlaw said, laughing.

That was his intention when he had his first meeting in Los Angeles with host Jeff Probst and other producers.