Keeping Up With Jonesy: Fueling a Fat Burner

Tue 11 Mar 2014

Dan Jones, the mastermind behind your favorite cycling videos including Backstage Pass, the #OGERocks music videos and My Piece of the World, has embarked upon a personal challenge to get healthy. Two full weeks into his journey, Dan is already noticing several positive changes. Not only has he lost weight but he’s feeling better. He sleeps better and has more energy. His attitude toward healthy eating and exercise has begun to shift, and he is learning more to make healthy choices. These weekly posts are Dan’s attempt to share his journey with you.

3 - Unnamed


We're well and truly into the swing of things now and finished the second week. Already from the change in diet, I am noticing a couple of obvious improvements.

The first one is my tastes for certain foods have changed. To be honest, (and trust me, these blogs will be), my relationship with vegetables was never a solid one. When I was around seven I used to throw a hissy fit when mum would force feed me beans and broccoli at dinner, followed with the threat of: "You can't have dessert till the entire plate is finished!"  

After numerous unsuccessful attempts to get the dog to eat my vegetables, I had to start eating them myself. The trick was to hold the nose and just throw it down - no chewing, just straight down the hatch. This worked for a couple of days but after overseeing a rather large chunk of broccoli and almost choking to death I was back to square one.

Fast forward 25 years and things have changed dramatically. I now enjoy the taste of broccoli! Tomatoes taste sweet and juicy. Salad is no longer something just to eat in-between two all beef patties, special sauce, cheese, pickled onions and a sesame seed bun.

Andrew said that on the new diet I might notice changes in the senses, particularly taste. As a result I now enjoy going to the Girona fruit and vegetable market to pick out the weekly fresh produce. For a while there I didn't even know Girona had a market!

I think the biggest road block for me in terms of weight loss has been lack of knowledge. I simply didn't know how to structure an eating plan that includes meals and snacks that taste great while helping reduce cravings for crap food. Regarding exercise, I didn't know how to train in a way that was sustainable.

I have suffered with shin splints for the past 16 years. Shin splints are to put it bluntly, a bloody nightmare. My understanding from Andrew is that they occur when the muscles become overloaded, stressing the areas where they attach to your shin, which leads to pain and inflammation. If you leave them long enough, and don’t get proper treatment, it can be really excruciating.  

I ended up getting stress fractures on my right shin back in 2001 from playing football on hard surfaces and could barely walk for about six weeks. So slap on another 20 kilograms, and the shin splints can make exercise a little tricky at times.

In the past, whenever I tried to get back into shape, I did the only thing I knew how: smash myself with regular runs to try and get the body going again. My ill-conceived plan would be fine for around two weeks, then the shins would flare up and it was back to square one.  A bit like how I took on the broccoli when I was a kid.  

After talking with Andrew, I have realised that I don’t have to flog myself to burn fat, and by listening to my body a bit better, I can pick up on any injuries that might be around the corner. Obviously cycling is great exercise, but believe it or not, I am not overly excited on riding. I think the riders would start to get annoyed if I started asking them about bikes and gearing, so I try to do other things.

Even with the bit of jogging and leg exercises that we are doing, the shins are holding up really well. The workouts are getting easier and the hour long walks around Girona are actually pretty fun.  All I need is an ipod and some Roxette, and I’m laughing!

In my next blog, we’ll talk about maintaining a routine on the road. I have arrived in Italy just ahead of the start at Tirreno Adriatico, and the fitness baton has been passed to Whitey. No more pie eating contents for him. He’s supporting my goals by watching what he eats as well. The next official weigh in will be when I get home to Girona but I’m confident the weight is still dropping!

Thanks again for all the feedback, donations to Bravehearts, Inc. and general support.  I look forward to checking in next week.  


4 - Unnamed


Well, we’ve reached the end of the second week of the challenge and Jonesy is right on target!

We have continued with our morning training sessions in the park this week as well as a long hike in the Girona hills to test Dan out a bit. Hiking is a great form of exercise as you can make it as easy or hard as you like. The variation in terrain is an excellent way of developing balance as well as strength in the feet and ankles.

We chose a challenging 12 kilometre return route for Jonesy this week which included a gradual four kilometre climb with a few steep sections towards the top of the hill. Needless to say Dan is not particularly keen to do this hike again in a hurry! I reckon we’ll give it a month or two before we do repeat the route and see how it compares!

Now, as promised, I’ll share a little more about the foods we are eating and why. As I’ve previously mentioned, we have eliminated all processed sugars and most carbohydrates from Dan’s diet. There are a whole bunch of reasons for this but for now we’ll focus on the most important reason for Dan, fat burning!

The level at which this metabolic process (known as ketosis) occurs will depend largely on how much you cut back on carbs, as well as exercise intensity. Lower level of exercise intensity is recommended while the body is adapting. Everybody makes the transition to fat burning with varying degrees of easy or difficulty.  In Dan’s case he had a few sugar cravings, some general tiredness and poor concentration in the first week, but has been feeling great during week two.

By reducing Jonesy’s carbohydrates, we have by default, increased the percentage of fat in his total daily caloric intake, in particular Omega 3’s. The whole ‘good-fat bad-fat’ topic is a more detailed discussion for another week, but the take-home message this week is basically to avoid the type of fats you’d find in the bain-marie of your local take-away, and opt for some of the foods on our shopping list below.

As well as fat, Dan has also increased his vegetable intake.  We all know the benefits of vegetables, especially the green leafy stuff. They become so much easier to eat when you have room for them on your plate!  In fact, by cutting out the starchy white carbs, vegetables have become the crux of our meals.

On top of that, the higher fat and protein percentage increases satiety (fullness), meaning we don’t need overly large portions Keep in mind here that Dan is NOT an endurance athlete, and we are in a weight loss phase of his program.

In addition to the granny basket full of fresh seasonal, nutrient dense vegetables, fruit, herbs, fish, meat, chicken, and eggs we buy each week, I have compiled a list of some of the staple, good quality foods you’ll find on our shopping list here in Spain.

Nuts - macadamias, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts.
Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseed, and chia.
Oils – extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil.
Full fat dairy – butter, natural yoghurt, parmesan, goats cheese, feta.

Other foods on the list include: canned sardines and tuna, almond butter, goji berries, 85% dark chocolate, coconut flakes... I could go on but this should give you an idea!

Thanks again for the messages of support and encouragement - in particular those who of have donated or joined our Everyday Heroes page to keeping up with Jonesy!

Please note: This blog is merely intended to share Dan’s journey with you.  Consult your local Dietician, GP, or Primary care practitioner if you are considering making any significant dietary changes. For further information, contact Andrew via twitter @Andrew_Gerrans or


Keeping Up With Jonesy offers up a record of Dan’s quest from his personal perspective as well as shares the perspective of the man behind his mission – Andrew Gerrans. Andrew, Simon Gerrans’ younger brother, is the team osteopath and a self-described fitness nut with a nutrition background, and he has been charged with overseeing this project.

We know many of you have your own personal health-related projects. Whatever your mission is, we want to support you. We’re offering up weekly prizes, tips and tricks, a fun team and a cause to rally around in your effort to achieve goals of your own. In the process of encouraging health and wellness, we’re also raising money for one of our favourite charities: Bravehearts, Inc.

Join our fundraising team or donate to your favourite fundraisers. Every dollar raised goes directly to Bravehearts, Inc. The non-profit is Australia’s only children’s charity holistically dedicated to the issue of child sexual assault. They offer comprehensive counselling and education for children and young people plus parental support for non-offending family members along with advocacy for adult survivors. Bravehearts also invests in extensive training and research developing strategies better able to combat the complex issues associated with child sexual assault.