Meet Joe Wicks. A year ago you probably didn't know him. Fast forward 12 months and he's one of the biggest names in food and fitness, with his own Channel 4 show
Over the last year Joe Wicks has become a social media sensation, helping millions of people to eat healthier and get fit. Now he'll be trying to help many more people change their lives with his new Channel 4 show.
When you started putting your meals and exercise methods on Instagram, did you ever imagine the Joe Wicks fat loss plan would take off like it did? "Absolutely not, it’s bonkers! If you’d said to me a year ago I would have two books published, a TV show on the way and over a million followers on Instagram I would never have believed you.
"When I first started, my mate's thought I was mad – I was posting 15-minute recipe videos on Instagram and Twitter, hanging out of my window with finished dishes and shouting things like ‘Bosh!’ and ‘Lean in 15!’ I used to get hardly any viewers, but I kept going because I really believed in what I was doing."
You'll be training people over 30, 60 and 90 days. What was that like? "The best part is always seeing first hand how happy people are with their results. My methods are a lifestyle change, so although the show is broken down into 30 day chunks I really want people to take what they’ve learned beyond that and to enjoy being lean, fit and healthy throughout their lives.
"With the show I checked on the participants a few times a month and even in short spaces of time you can see transformations – they had more energy, their hair and skin improved and they were getting leaner."
It must be hard when people are struggling, but also very rewarding when they reach their goals? "It’s a different situation for everyone. Some people needed more motivation than others and that’s absolutely fine, its just about finding what works best for them and giving them the support that will get the best out of them. Whenever anyone hit a rough patch on the show I encouraged them to look back on their progress and see just how well they were doing."
As you got to know them, you must be even more determined to help them succeed? "Of course, once you get to know someone and understand their reasons for wanting to get fitter and healthier you can’t help but be invested in them. That said, I’ve helped over 100,000 people with my online plan and I don’t know all of those personally, but I still want every single one of them to achieve their goals. I’m always buzzing to celebrate lean success stories, the fact that these guys get to share their results with the country makes it extra exciting."
You organised a work-out flash mob at Heathrow, how did that go? "The flash mobs were so much fun, you’ll have to watch the show to see how they all turned out, but put it this way, it’s lucky I’m not easily embarrassed!"
What other locations did you use? "You’ll have to watch the show to find out - you’d have never thought Heathrow is a good place to exercise, so expect the unexpected!"
What kind of advice would you give someone who desperately wants to get in shape, but doesn't have much spare time? "My mantra is ‘prep like a boss’. This means spending a couple of hours each week planning your meals, organising the best time to fit in your exercise, shopping for the right foods and preparing meals in advance so that you’ve made it as easy as possible for yourself to stick to your goals."
You have over a million Instagram followers, do you get recognised by people when you're out and about? "Sometimes people come and say hello to me, I’ve had people shout 'midget trees!' at me too, along with the odd selfie, but I can still go the shops and walk down the street without anyone saying anything."
You want to help people get fit for summer. What kind of holidays are your favourite? A beach break, or is that not your scene? "I absolutely love holidays, but it’s quite difficult to find time to get away. Recently I went to Croatia with my mate and just totally chilled for a week. I even left my phone in the safe during the day, which is something I never do, but it was nice to properly relax."
What's your guilty pleasure, to eat or drink, a treat that you know you'll have to do an extra intense session to burn off? "I only go big on a cheat day once or twice a month these days, otherwise I really suffer the next day. My favourite drink on a night out is a G&T and I’m a sucker for ice cream!"
You're pretty handy in the kitchen. What's your speciality? "I love a curry! At the moment my go-to is my special Lean in 15 Chicken Korma from my book, it’s a classic and I’ve kept it low carb so it’s a great one to eat on rest days."
Are your friends and family always eager to come round for dinner? To get something that's healthy and tasty as well? "Yeah, strangely a lot of people do seem keen to ‘drop in’ for dinner! I’m into cooking though and its nice to be sociable – I just bought a new dining room table so I’m more than happy to host!"
Joe Wicks the Body Coach premieres on Channel 4 on Monday, August 29
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Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.
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