17 years old. Vegetarian. All round good human. Bad ass.
I’ve been training with Dannie Jones for a while now, and I couldn’t be more proud of everything she has achieved so far!
We sat down to talk about what it means to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle while still in school and nutrition while eating a plant based diet.
Jd: Hi Dannie! How are you doing today?
Dannie: Hey, I’m good thanks, how are you?
Jd: Great. Thanks for sitting down and having a chat about your life. Let's start by telling everyone a little bit about you.
Dannie: I just graduated high-school. I’m seventeen, and I work three jobs and train every week.
Jd: Let's talk a bit more about that. What did an average day of the week like look like for you when you were in school?
Dannie: So at the start of the week I’d normally come into the gym and train with the classes here and then I’d go an do PT with Jd and my sister. Then after that I’d go to school for the day. I’d come back to gym in the afternoon and then head off to work most days.
Jd: Sounds like some big days. Did you find that draining?
Dannie: Yeah definitely, I would start to hit my downfall and I’d have to mix it up. Switching up my training. Or I would change up the days, how many times, and what time of day I would train.
Jd: I find that really interesting. Rather than just saying it’s all too much and giving up you were able to find a really simple way to stay engaged and motivated and that bought you that much closer to your goals. Speaking of, let's get into what it is you set out to achieve. What were you goals?
Dannie: My goals were to become fitter for my trip that’s coming up in the next few weeks. To also be able to go hiking and running at Glasshouse mountains, without dying.
Jd: Just general health and fitness? Good endurance as well. How did you go with that?
Dannie: I think i did pretty well. I went for a run the other day for five kms and didn’t have to stop once. So I hit my goal.
Jd: I suppose that’s where I come in a little bit. For a few months I’ve been working with Dannie, with her training and diet. Because she is a high functioning person, we looked at those things and as a result her performance has picked up big time. She’s lost fat and gained muscle - which brings me to the nutrition side of things. You are a vegetarian.
Dannie: Vegetarian. Vegan for a little bit there!
Jd: Vegan for a little bit, vegetarian now. A lot of the time people on plant based diets do struggle to get protein, which makes gaining muscle and maintaining it a little hard when losing weight. So, do you want to tell me a bit a bout that?
Dannie: So I tried a few things at the beginning and really did change my diet. Changed every thing I ate to a healthy substitute. I did a lot of research and ate a lot of legumes, a lot of beans and bean salads, and lots of smoothies - ALOT of protein powder.
Jd: [laughs] yep yep.
Dannie: I did really try to make my own foods, and tried to make everything from scratch so I knew what was in my food. As well as making it healthier by getting every type of food group I needed, making it easier for me to get protein without having to eat meat.
Jd: Bloody awesome. I sat down with Dannie we discussed her goals first and foremost, we came up with a calorie and protein target to hit on a daily basis for those goals. A vegan or plant based diet can be a challenge, especially to hit the protein targets. So we looked at what sources of protein Dannie actually liked and based on that we built a meal plan. Dannie absolutely knocked it out of the park. That was really good - Very proud.
Other than the training and nutrition which you have absolutely nailed, what is next for you my friend? You’ve got this trip coming up - did you want to tell us about that?
Dannie: So I’m going to Madagascar next week, which is kind of crazy. That was main goal actually. I’ll be living in huts in the middle of nowhere. I’ll need to hike, and be living out there. So that’s what I needed, to be able to keep up and not struggle through the day.
Jd: Awesome - so is it working trip?
Dannie: I’m volunteering to help rehabilitate turtles, and their nests. Helping with beach clean ups and teaching local kids to help look after nature and their community.
Jd: Do you mind if I start calling you Greta from now on?
Dannie: [Laughing] Might as well - I’m trying to get there!
Jd: I love it. So your trip is going to present its own health and fitness challenges. You aren’t going to have access to a gym or the food you have here.
Dannie: Yes, that is another kind of stress I’ll be facing. It’s a huge lifestyle flip. I will be working every single day, but it’s a different kind of work. And we only get fed what is locally sourced, so I won’t get to choose what I eat. It’ll just be about picking out what I want from a bowl. I won’t have time to train as I do now, so hopefully the hiking and the weekend travels will keep me fit!
Jd: In my personal opinion you are going to be just fine. You have the right attitude and work ethic to excel wherever you go. While you are over there of course you will be gone but not forgotten, and if you have any troubles, don't be shy to hit me up-
Dannie: I’ll send you a letter!
Jd: Yeah, letter or morse code. Whatever works. Pigeon? But seriously from all of use here at Big John Fitness and Anytime Fitness we wish you the best of luck!
Thank you so much for having a chat Dannie - or Greta!
Dannie: You are welcome!
I think this interview probably speaks for itself. Dannie Jones has got what it takes and I know she has put in the hard yards in the gym and kitchen and has set herself up nicely to achieve some really cool things. The turtles are in good hands!
Thanks for the interview Dannie you are a legend!
If you want to see the video version of this interview, head on over to my Facebook or Instagram page and check it out - @bigjohnfitness_