Strictly Come Dancing professional Neil Jones can’t keep up with his “young” fellow dancers at the grand old age of… 39.
The dancer says he now has to go to the gym five days a week, even first thing in the morning before training with partner Nina Wadia to maintain his physique.
“All the other guys, like Gorka and Giovanni, they’re all young,” he says. “Even while we’re doing the show and training, I still go to the gym in the morning as well.
“The thing is, what happens is, we get really lean during the show, we lose so much weight because we’re dancing so much. So it’s really important at the moment that I’ve been trying to overload, I’ve been trying to work out more, that way as I lose weight, I’m not losing muscle as well.”
Gorka Marquez and Giovanni Pernice are both 31.
He continues: “I’m now the oldest of the male pros. I’ve stepped into Anton’s shoes now he’s gone to the judges. So I’m turning 40 next year and I just wanted to try and get myself in better condition. So I’ve got to be taking care of myself a lot more.
“I’m definitely being more active, so I was doing a lot of wakeboarding and wake surfing.”
Neil, who was previously married to Katya Jones, says he aspires to replicate Anton Du Beke as the suave, elder dancer among the pros since Anton joined the judging panel. “I’m going to be the statesman of Strictly now,” he vows.
“I always remember watching Anton walking in with his shirt and tie, and he’d come in with his cup of tea.
“I think I have to start coming in with shirts and ties as well more often.”
Neil and Nina will tango to the Eurythmics’ Would I Lie to You? on Saturday night.
Former Eastenders actress Nina, 52, has dropped two dress sizes from training alone, and says the intense regime has been a shock.
“I guess being possibly the most unprepared person in the world, this is a wake-up call to my body,” she previously said.
“My back is all taped up, my hip flexors are sore, I’ve got plasters all over my feet. Neil makes me wear the heels for training and when I take them off at the end of the day my feet are so swollen I can’t get them back in my sneakers. I’m a bit of a mess, to be honest.”