Keeping Up With Jonesy: Morocco Edition

Mon 12 May 2014

Dan Jones, the mastermind behind your favourite cycling videos including Backstage Pass, the #OGERocks music videos and My Piece of the World, has embarked upon a personal challenge to get healthy. Nearly three months into the program and Dan is over half way to his weight loss goal. He’s feeling stronger and more energetic with each passing week. These regular posts are Dan’s attempt to share his journey with you. This week Dan updates us as to how he is being going over the past few weeks, including a short break to Morocco with his housemate and trainer, Andrew Gerrans. 

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Well it's been a long time between drinks since we last reported in with the blog. Some of you might have thought: “Oh man, old Jonesy must have fallen off the wagon?" I think with the team’s success over the last couple of weeks it was a perfect time to put the blogs out in the paddock for a 
bit of a spell, but now we’re keen to fire back up again.

Regarding the program, things are running really smooth now. The diet has become something that is just part of my everyday life. The fitness program is becoming more and more enjoyable and the overall sense of well being has made this whole experience one of the most rewarding things I have done.

The turning point in the entire program happened about a month ago when I went for a run in Girona. Normally I would run for about 1.5km, feel a bit of a pinch in the shins and then slow to a walk for about half an hour. However I can remember from the start Andy telling me to change my running style. I would hear: "Mate, I can hear your feet thumping on the ground, flick your heels back and run more from the balls of your 

To be honest this would start to get on my nerves a bit as changing your running style is actually pretty hard, especially when it’s a habit of over 25 years. Andy explained that I could reduce the bulk of my shin pain if I stayed committed to making these changes. I also had to work on some calf exercises to strengthen my entire ankle and lower calf area, because with the new running style they're the areas when you feel the strain the most.

So going back to the turning point I took off for the 1.5km jog. The sun was out, it was a cracker of a day in G town with the temp in the mid 20s. I had Roxette blasting in the ears, so I had all the tools were there for a good run.  After about 1km I could feel the shins a tiny bit but then I remembered "light on the feet mate!" I then started flicking the heels 
up and suddenly I felt really good. In fact, there was no pain. I felt like I was running faster and was really enjoying the run. I haven't enjoyed a run like that since 1999. 

After 30 minutes, I ran into the park to meet up with Andy for some circuit training. I had almost 4km in the bank and to be honest could have run another 4km no worries at all. I said to Andy: "That's it mate, its game over." I think he thought I meant that I was giving the program the boot because his face 
had a more shocked look on it that joy. I clarified: "I can run now with little if any pain and haven't enjoyed a run like that for 15 years. Mate, we’re cooking with gas!"

Since then the training has been great.  I am now incorporating swimming (which I love), tennis (which I don't really love because Andy flogs me every time) and a lot of general things to keep it all interesting.

We just returned from Morocco where we had the opportunity to go quod bike riding through the desert.  After 140km I was absolutely buckled. I was so stiff that night I was hobbling around like a 95 year old pensioner, but since making changes to the diet I woke up the next day fresh and feeling no soreness at all. I think if you fuel your body with great whole foods like veggies and cut out the crap, then the 
overall effects on things like inflammation and quality sleep are amazing. How I felt the morning after Liege is another story!

Also it was great to mix up the training in Morocco with a run, lots of big walks and a morning of circuit training.  Basically this is turning anything around the house into a gym. Andy will explain more of this in his part.

Thanks again for all the support with the program and to those who have made a donation to our Everyday Hero's page - Keeping up with JonesyRemember that all this is in support of Bravehearts and I know that all donations are going towards children who really need the support.  So catch you next week, guys (yes back to a regular schedule again.)


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Well it was a great few days holiday with Dan in Morocco. It also gave me the opportunity to teach Dan a few more tricks to keeping active when he’s away from his normal home environment.

The first thing we did after checking in to the hotel was scope out its fitness facilities. After seeing the crappy little room with a few old machine weights, I decided to show Dan what we could do in our own backyard. We rearranged some cushions and chairs and created a free circuit with six stations. The circuit started with Dan’s ‘favourite’ burpee exercise, followed by a speed crawl(yes crawl) on the grass to a step-ups station, then another crawl with a couple of obstacles to climb over, some planks, dips using a chair, double leg jumps over a stack of cushions, followed by a quick lap of the pool before starting the circuit again. We repeated this circuit for 20 minutes until Dan was struggling to do more than five push-ups by the last circuit. The point I wanted to make here with Dan was that with a bit of imagination you can create an interesting and challenging workout without using anything more than a bit of furniture in the backyard. The pool was a nice bonus!    

Another point was to highlight to Dan how much you can see if you throw in a pair of running shoes when you go away to a new destination. Where possible we stuck to the unsealed back roads and dirt trails, in part to keep the running surface a bit forgiving on the legs, but it’s also pretty amazing some of the different sights and people you see once you get off the main roads.

The last thing I wanted Dan to fully understand is the importance of a decent night’s sleep.  Good quality and sufficient sleep is vital for balancing those hormones important for mental wellbeing, general immunity and normal metabolic function.  In particular, chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to decrease insulin sensitivity, leading to increased hunger and appetite, which naturally will lead to weight gain.        

Here’s a few of the tips I’ve given Dan to optimise his sleep and ensure he wakes up feeling refreshed each day:


  1. Start to wind down the time on the computer a couple of hours before you want to sleep. Specifically the artificial blue light of a computer or TV screen makes it harder for your brain to recognise that it’s time to start shutting down at the end of the day.
  2. Keep the lighting to a minimum at night and where possible use more yellow/orange lighting from lamps or candles.
  3. Keep the bedroom temperature relatively cool, and where possible have some fresh air coming in.
  4. Cut out the caffeine after 4pm each day.
  5. Do not use the bed as an office space for editing Back Stage Passes. Keep the bedroom uncluttered and use it only as a place for sleeping (or social activities).
  6. Try to get into a regular sleeping pattern, going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, preferably waking up naturally with the light. As the temperature warms up here in Summer I’ll be at Dan to head out early for our training sessions before it heats up, so I thought I’d plant the seed on that one in advance!


Next week I’ll explain a bit more about the grief I’ve been giving Dan about his running technique and how it can minimise those common running injuries.

Until then,



Fueling a Fat Burner
Support Systems
One Month In
Staying on Track
Squats to Success