The record-breaking “nation’s favourite PE teacher” Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) chats with our new Celebrity Editor Angela Sara West @angela_sara_west about how to improve your physical and mental health, his top exercise tips, and how to boost your mood with food through Joe’s brand-new book, ‘Feel Good Food’!
The HIIT workoutKnown to millions of fans as The Body Coach, Joe’s effective fitness method uses short, intense High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Inspiring both kids and adults alike, his infectious enthusiasm and boundless energy enticed me to give ‘PE With Joe’ a go, so I’d joined in with my son, Harry, that morning of my first chat with Joe, just three weeks into lockdown, fully aware, following chats with friends, that a Spiderman-suited Joe might soon have my little boy (at least) bouncing off walls!
“Your motivation isn’t going to be waiting for you at the start of a workout, it’s usually at the end,” Joe advised me. I’d found it hard to keep up with Joe, who moves at mile-a-minute breakneck speed… Thankfully, Joe’s YouTube channel, The Body Coach TV, offers hundreds of free workouts to choose from. From gentle exercises, to hardcore HIIT workouts, he tells me he’s devised workouts suitable for all levels and ages. “There’s everything from beginner and low-impact classes, to full-body advanced, and you can do these great workouts with no equipment in the tiniest of living rooms.”
As an authority on health and fitness, the wellbeing king says exercise doesn’t have to mean burpees, sprints or mountain climbers. “ALL movement is good and can really boost our mental health.”
A tip top food & drink author
In fact, Joe sits at no.6 for top all-time food and drink authors, holds the seventh fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time, and the fifth fastest-selling food and drink book.
The UK’s first Instagram superstar, he’s the second-most influential person in the food industry and author of the UK’s second-best-selling cookbook of all time – just pipped at the post by Jamie Oliver.
Joe’s chart-topping book ‘Lean In 15’ sold a cool 77,000 copies in its first week alone.
He’s the only non-fiction author to have secured three No.1 titles in one year with ‘The Shift Plan’, ‘The Shape Plan’ and ‘The Sustain Plan’, while ‘Joe’s Family Food’ went straight to the top spot on its release. His first foray into kids’ books, meanwhile, saw him create ‘The Burpee Bears’, his debut book for children.
Chock-a-block with nutritious baby/toddler recipes for time-pressed parents, and jam-packed with practical advice, Joe’s goal with his ‘Wean In 15’ book, released in 2020, was to get kids and families eating healthily together, the doting dad of two happily helping new parents to healthily feed their flock. “Parents should try to role model through the food and cooking process and sitting down together,” he told me. “And lockdown definitely made people come together!”
Out this March, his new cookbook offering, ‘Feel Good Food’, focuses on eating to feel good, taking Joe in a new direction. His inspiration for pivoting to writing about food to feel good? “There’s been a massive shift in my narrative over the last couple of years, especially through the pandemic and the links that have surfaced between mental health, the food we eat and the exercise we do,” Joe explains.
“There’s always such a big emphasis on food for fat loss and getting lean by cutting things out, but actually, I think the most important thing that draws people back to healthy food and home cooking is the feeling they get when they spend time in the kitchen, creating wonderful recipes with their family and enjoying the food and the energy it gives you.”‘Feel Good Food’ is fit to bursting with bounteous tasty, healthy recipes devised by the fitness champ. “I’m so passionate about helping people to eat well, live well and feel fantastic. I want to bring a bit of joy back into eating and home cooking, and for me now, and moving forward, my approach is about promoting good mental health, too.’
In ‘Feel Good Food’, Joe Wicks has created tasty and easy meals which are quick to get on the table, and will have you and your family feeling your best. He says there’s a big conversation that needs to be had around just how much food impacts our mood. “I think people often believe adequate exercise and sleep is enough to feel fine, but if your diet consists of mainly heavily-processed foods, then this isn’t going to give you energy, and will instead bring you down. ‘Feel Good Food’ is about getting in the kitchen and enjoying the process of prepping food, understanding what you’re putting in your body and how this can benefit our energy levels, focus, attention and mood.”
Feel good & feel energised
He says now is more important than ever to start eating food that makes you feel good. “We’re in a time where it’s so easy to get fast food delivered to your door, or to grab a ready meal from a supermarket, but these meals have such highly-processed ingredients that they aren’t going to give you energy, and an excess can hold you back from really feeling your best self. When you have great ingredients in your cupboard and access to recipes that you can bang out in 15/20 minutes, it’s going to set you up for a day of energy, leaving you feeling more focused, calm and tolerant.Childhood inspiration
A difficult upbringing and often-absent father influenced Joe’s future career and family choices, motivating him to be a healthy, hands-on dad. “Loving fatherhood”, Joe adores being a parent, telling me he now “has a purpose”. “And working from home, I can be present, engaged and involved.”
Following in his fitness footsteps, his young children, Indie and Marley, love learning from him, “Watching me exercise, picking up the guitar… Indie’s just started learning to skateboard…”
As for himself, with a passion for health and fitness, Joe was also inspired by a very special teacher. “I loved, and had a great connection with, my PE teacher at school… one of the reasons why I love being a PE teacher today,” he explained to me. Local lad Joe also attended Epsom’s Blenheim High School and NESCOT technology college.
Itching to teach PE wherever and often as he can, pre-lockdown he toured the country’s schools, educating in healthy eating and fitness which, he divulges, is his “favourite thing to do.”Make 2022 your healthiest year yet!
Joe’s message for readers looking to make 2022 their healthiest year yet? “It can feel quite scary and complicated or confusing, but really it’s just about making small daily choices and being consistent. I enjoy a chocolate bar and a gin & tonic just like you, but I stay active and I mainly cook healthy food at home.”
“Try to shift your mindset from being about body weight, fat loss or body image, and focus on your mental health. When you do that, you’ll realise what exercise and healthy food really is about. Then, when you live that lifestyle long enough, you will get stronger, leaner and fitter.”
He says the most incredible thing about the human body and mind is that we have the power to change it. “We can work on anything we want, and achieve anything we want when we commit to it.”
“As we go into 2022, I want people to acknowledge their mental strength and their ability to change.” he says. “Regardless of how physically fit or unfit, or how unhappy, you may be feeling, it is only temporary, and things can, and will, get better when you start making small changes, one day at a time.”
Plus, of course, ‘Feel Good Food’ will help us well on our way. “I can’t wait to get this book into people’s hands so they can get excited about food again. I’ve also got top tips in there where I share how to prep and store things. The mission with this book is to get people feeling good and to allow families and friends to sit together and enjoy food whilst connecting.”
So, maybe 2022 will see Joe finally knock Jamie off his long-standing perch with his forthcoming cookery book ‘Feel Good Food’!
Joe’s top exercise and nutrition tips:
· Definitely visit The Body Coach on YouTube for loads of workouts… from beginner and low-impact, to more advanced. You can do these great workouts with no equipment in your tiny little living room. If you’re after something else, other experts do yoga, Pilates… there’s so much content online that’s free!
· Be that person who takes control. Set yourself some goals, no matter how big or small, and go and smash them. Take the first step. Enjoy the journey and believe in yourself.
· Choose a workout, press play, just do something, even if it’s 10 or 20 minutes. You’re going to feel better, more energised, and your motivation will be waiting for you right there at the end when you’ve finished that workout!
· Focus on the little wins – all big journeys start with small steps.
· Finally, focus on getting a good night’s sleep and having some good food in your body, because without good sleep and nutrition you’ll be tired, sluggish and have no motivation to train. So, it’s a case of getting your food, fitness and sleep sorted, taking them all seriously, and getting them into your life as best you can!
‘Feel Good Food’, published by Harper Collins, is out on 17th March 2022.
Written By: © Angela Sara West 2021| @angela_sara_west
Youtube: The Body Coach