Cowboys forward John Asiata.

John Asiata has credited an off-season fasting program for making him fitter and lighter on his feet than ever before.

The North Queensland Cowboys utility had an operation on a broken hand at the end of last year's NRL season and put on weight as a result.

"Because I had the operation I was limited to what I could do with my training until I could start running," Asiata told NRL.com.

"So I did some intermittent fasting for two weeks which helped me lose some weight and body fat.

"I got up to 106 kilos before I started fasting and by the end of it I was 101.

"I'd eat in an eight-hour period and then did 16 hours of fasting and by the time pre-season came around I was ready to roll.

"I'm a lot fitter than last year, moving better and I'm feeling a lot more mobile and lighter on my feet."

Asiata, now back to his playing weight of 103kg, showed immense courage in last year's Telstra Premiership finals series after breaking his hand in the first final against the Cronulla Sharks.

"I had to make the decision to keep playing or have my operation but I decided to play on and try and get to the grand final with the boys," Asiata said.

"We did that and it was probably the best decision for me even though I missed the World Cup, but I got to a grand final which not many players get to and I've been able to do that twice in my four years at the Cowboys.

"It was tough, and my hand was physically sore after ever game and through the week, but it was something I had to do for the team."

Asiata had needles before the game but trained and played through the pain.

"I think that whole experience made me mentally tougher and helped me to grow as a player because I know I can play through the niggles," he said.

Asiata played in the halves when he was at school at Patrician Brothers College and is one of the few players who is equally at home at prop as he is at halfback.

Asiata had a chuckle when he said he was a front-rower who tried to emulate Johnathan Thurston.

"I have played everywhere except wing, centre and fullback," he said.

"As a junior I loved passing the ball and everything that went with playing in the halves and I looked up to JT.

"Then I got the privilege to come up here and play with Johnno and everything he does I watch very carefully and learn from. He probably doesn't know how much I have implemented into my preparation and game from what he does.

"As I got bigger I moved into the forwards but that didn't mean I had to get rid of those ball playing skills which I still use in the middle."

That versatility has made Asiata an invaluable member of Paul Green's bench and a genuine 'Mr Fix-It'.

"I'm learning virtually every position and if I have to play there at any stage in a game I am ready to go," he said.

So does he see himself as a front-rower or a halfback?

"If I was 30 kilos lighter I'd say I was a half," he grinned.

"I'm not, so I probably belong in the middle at this stage."