Hi! Welcome to my website! My name is Jack Jones and this site is a collection of my adventures. It is also a place for me to share my thoughts on proper fitness training and nutrition for ultra-long distance events like thru-hikes and bike-packing trips.
I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016 and this adventure lit a fire inside me. A fire to explore the world, to push my boundaries of comfort, and to live fully from my heart.
I was born in Lanzhou, China and moved to Missouri after I was adopted at the age of eight. My parents gave me up for adoption because during the 1989 Tienanmen Square protests my father, a political science professor lead a pro-democratic student protest on the campus he taught at. He was arrested and imprisoned for two years because of his actions and blacklisted by the government. My parents wanted a better life for me. I grew up in Missouri and attended the University of Missouri where I earned a Masters in Accounting. During that time I also enlisted in the US Army as an Infantryman because I felt very strongly that freedom is precious and that I needed to serve the country which had given me so many opportunities. I served for six years in the National Guard and when I got out I was a sergeant in charge of a fire-team. In 2012 I started my company The Healthy Gamer where I shared my struggles with gaming addiction and how fitness helped to literally save my life from suicidal depression. The Healthy Gamer has now impacted the lives of over 12 million gamers worldwide through articles and YouTube videos.
My mission is to live a life full of adventure and fulfill my wildest dreams and in doing so use my story to inspire others to pursue their wildest dreams. I want to help others face their fears and tackle every challenge that life presents head on. Because I’ve found that a vibrant life full of joy and expansiveness is only possible when we break through our perceived limitations of what we can do and who we can be.
During the really dark periods of my life I seemed to always come across a book, a quote, an article, or a video that would give me just enough hope to take one more small step forward. And it was those tiny steps that would help me to eventually pull out of the downward spiral of self-destruction. So I now plant these little pieces hope wherever I can. A YouTube video, a Reddit post, an Instagram photo, a documentary, an article, a book. From my own experience you never know what tiny thing could potentially help someone out in their time of crisis.
I tend to jump from one interest to the next but through the years a few passions have stuck with me: meditation, fitness, nutrition, videography, photography, writing, and speaking.
How’s an accountant qualified to talk about fitness and nutrition? Reasonable question. At 18 years old I started seriously bodybuilding. By the time I was 21 I had reached all of my fitness goals. I was 187lbs with 6% bodyfat.
During college I spent all of my free time researching fitness and nutrition. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve spent over 5,000 hours reading various books, articles, blog posts, and forum posts relating to fitness and nutrition. I’ve tried every workout regime and diet under the sun.
I got my personal training certification in 2012 shortly after I graduated from Mizzou and have been training clients off and on since then. In 2014 I opened my own CrossFit gym, CrossFit Audacity.
On the Appalachian Trail two things immediately jumped out at me:
- The lack of nutrition in the average hiker’s diet(just junk everywhere! Candy bars, sodas, ramen, pizza…)
- The high number of overweight and out of shape hikers on trail
The Appalachian Trail is infamous for the attrition rate of thru-hikers. By some estimates as few as 15-20% of those who start in Georgia will complete all 2,189 miles that they set out to hike.
I think this number could be doubled or tripled if hikers spent more time preparing themselves physically(and therefore mentally) and if they ate more nutritious food. I honestly thought most of the AT was quite easy physically(except for southern Maine and the White Mountains!) because I had my years of fitness experience to draw upon. I’d conditioned my body and my mind to withstand the discomfort of physical exertion so hiking wasn’t a big deal.
So I hope to share my thoughts on fitness and nutrition for these long-distance events on here along with my adventures. Thanks for dropping by and if you feel so inclined please leave a comment. I really do enjoy reading your comments.