He’s known to millions as ‘The Body Coach’, and he’s possibly the most famous PE teacher in the world, but it’s the titles of ‘dad’ and ‘husband’ that Joe Wicks loves the most
Earlier this year I found myself, alone, bunny hopping around my living room, pretending to be Spider-Man, and pulling stars down from the sky. No alcohol was involved, it was before 10 in the morning, and I was just one of more than 800,000 people across the world doing the same thing at that time, led by Joe Wicks (AKA The Body Coach) from his home in south-west London.
‘PE with Joe’ started at the beginning of the lockdown, featuring weekday HIIT sessions, fancy dress Fridays, and guest appearances from his wife Rosie, daughter Indie, and son Marley. Between March and June, Joe raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the NHS, made exercise accessible and fun, and gave families a reason to get up, move, and smile every single day.
Although all of this is a massive achievement, Joe is quick to turn the attention and praise on to those who’ve taken part. “This time has been tough, especially for parents who are having to homeschool and do academic subjects,” he says. “I’ve got a lot of respect for parents who are having to step up and be teachers when they haven’t got that experience.
“So I thought it would be nice to offer my services as a trainer, just to try to get people active, and start their morning off in a way that could give them energy to be more productive and focused throughout the rest of the day.”
Joe’s workouts have had the desired effect. Households up and down the country have shared photos and films of their daily sweat sessions, and the hashtag #PEWithJoe brings up thank you notes from parents, pictures of Joe drawn by children, and groups happily posing with the certificates he has provided for participants.
Seeing this joy means everything to Joe. Mood and mindset, he says, are the most important factors when it comes to children’s relationship with exercise. “It’s not about competing with other people, it’s about coming together to have fun, lift your mood and your energy – it’s just a really good way to elevate your mindset.”
Joe is also very aware of the positive impact exercise, as well as healthy eating and behavioural role modelling, has at home, too. It’s something he has worked hard to embed in the Wicks’ own routines.
“As a kid we didn’t sit down for a family dinner,” he says, reflecting upon his own childhood. “It was very chaotic, and my mum and dad didn’t exercise in front of me, I got into it myself.
“I’m now realising how much my own behaviour, and how I interact with Indie, affects her and helps to sculpt her personality, so I really love reading with her and doing flash cards. I love teaching her to be emotionally stable as well – if she’s having a tough time, I don’t raise my voice, I try to demonstrate that you can communicate and stay calm.
“I also believe in role modelling through cooking together, eating together – and obviously the major one – through exercise,” he smiles. “Parents who exercise in front of kids help them to see the benefits, and they might be more likely to try it themselves.”
To read more of Joe’s exclusive chat with us, pick up the August issue of Happiful in our shop now, or subscribe to read for free online
Join PE With Joe on The Body Coach TV YouTube channel.
‘Wean in 15: Up-to-Date Advice and 100 Quick Recipes’ by Joe Wicks, out now (Bluebird, £16.99)