THE dieting industry has been transformed in the past few years thanks to one man – Joe Wicks.
The 31-year-old from Surrey transformed his small personal training business – The Body Coach – from a one-man operation into a multi-million-selling media empire.
His Lean In 15 books are a must-have for anyone looking to get in shape for the New Year.
The latest book, The Fat-Loss Plan, is out this week.
He told iN10’s Stevie Gallacher about his rise to the top – and how we can get fitter in the New Year.
What advice would you give to any of our readers who don’t do “healthy eating”?
I think healthy eating has got a bit of a bad reputation – everyone thinks it’s all mung beans, lentils and green foliage that they can’t identify!
But actually, you can be healthy eating curries, pies and pasta dishes – pretty much any of your favourite meals can be healthy, except for anything deep fried, obviously!
My number one piece of advice is to cook your meals at home, then you actually know what’s going into them.
Where’s the best place to start?
Get rid of the ready meals – I have tonnes of really tasty recipes that only take 15 minutes to make, so it’s really easy to start eating properly.
Do you ever feel the craving for a kebab, or a sneaky burger? What junk food do you miss the most?
(Laughing) What, do you mean those kebabs that look like elephant legs? I like real meat, not the processed type. I do like kebabs but not those kind, I like the ones with lovely lamb, pitta and marinated chicken.
As for burgers, if there is a burger fan club, then sign me up! I love a burger, but for me it’s got to be really big, juicy meat, with all the trimmings – I don’t like the taste of those fast food type restaurants.
I don’t think they do the best burgers and so when I do want to have a blow out and a burger, I make sure I get the tastiest one around.
Do your pals from pre-Lean In 15 fame stay in touch? What do they say about your life now?
I’ve got eight really, really close mates – some from primary school and kids my brothers and I grew up with from secondary school – so I’ve got the same friends now as I did when I was running personal training classes and no one would turn up!
They’ve all been on this journey with me. They are totally supportive but sometimes they take the mickey!
We’ve got a Whatsapp group and they will be the first to rib me if there is a cheesy photo of me in a magazine.
My brother now works for the business, as do two of my best mates, which is great.
My family and friends mean everything to me and I’m really lucky to have those eight in my life.
Your mum is half Italian – how much did she influence your cooking, and what does she think about your success?
My mum is so proud of me and my brothers. Honestly, there isn’t a day goes by that she doesn’t tell me how proud she is of what I’ve achieved.
She comes to my book launches, my public speaking events, all of it.
She’s got three of us boys, and she is really proud of every single one of us.
I think she’d laugh at the suggestion she influenced me when it came to cooking though – she was a terrible cook when we were growing up! If anything, it’s been me teaching her how to cook!
Do you ever get tired of being asked to take your shirt off, or fielding questions about your abs?
(Laughing) Look, my nickname is The Body Coach, so there are, of course, going to be times when I need to show people my body and how I look, to show I practise what I preach.
When I get asked to do naff stuff, in silly costumes with my chest out, I say no. Mainly because my mates would crucify me!
But for fitness pieces, I’m happy to whip my top off as I’m proud of my body.
You’re a bit of a sex symbol now. Are there any examples of fans trying it on or going too far with a saucy proposition?
Being described as a sex symbol is hilarious!
I don’t see myself like that at all. Because of what I do, people of all genders send me photos of themselves in their underwear everyday – that’s part of them documenting their transformation process on my 90-Day Plan.
I’m quite relieved that I don’t get anything saucier than that…
Would you be interested in doing Strictly Come Dancing or other reality TV show?
I have been asked by a few different programmes to do stuff, but right now my diary is crazy – everyday I’m making Lean In 15 videos, running Body Coach HQ, training, doing interviews, or filming.
There is just no way I could commit to anything like that right now.
How do you wind down? Away from fitness and healthy eating, what do you do to relax?
I go out for nice meals with my family and friends and I put my phone on do not disturb.
Because so much of my life is online, I have to be strict and give myself a digital break.
I also love travel, and like most of the population I think that David Attenborough is a total legend!
So a Sunday night with Blue Planet is proper relaxation in my book.
You’ve come a long way in the past few years — what are your plans for the next few years?
I’m on a mission to get the world lean.
So far I’ve reached millions of people and helped transform hundreds of thousands of bodies.
I want to continue that journey. I want to show people that exercise can be easy and enjoyable and that you don’t have to starve yourself on stupid diets.
I’m about exercising less, eating more food and burning more fat!
The Fat-Loss Plan, by Joe Wicks, published by Bluebird, is out now.
Joe’s Top Tips
1) Make small adjustments to your normal routine
The first mistake people make in January is they try to cut everything out.
It’s really about making small adjustments.
Begin by planning your workouts, so you might do three or four sessions a week so you know it’s coming, and start to cut things out.
2) Stay hydrated
Most people don’t drink enough water. I recommend 2-4 litres a day.
As well as hydrating you, it improves digestion and the metabolism of fat. Cut out all fizzy drinks and juices.
You’ve got to prep like a boss, which means preparing your own meals, so when you’re leaving the house, your lunch and dinner is sorted.
4) Embrace the fat
A lot of people don’t eat butter and eggs and saturated fats as they think it’s unhealthy, but it’s actually really, really good for you.
5) Throw away the scales
“The sad step” is what I call the scales. I have seen people in the gym and they look really happy, they’ve just done a workout, they walk to the ‘sad step’, they stand on it, and say: “Hmm!”
6) Get your essentials
These are products you need in your house to make really healthy meals on the go. Things like curry powder, coconut milk, Thai green curry paste, chillies and eggs. If you get store cupboard essentials like that, you can always make a healthy meal.
7) Treat yourself
Don’t be afraid to get a bit guilty at the weekends. If you like having a drink and a little tub of ice cream, it’s fine. You know – moderation, balance. Lean In 15 is a lifestyle, it’s just me trying to encourage you to take control, prepare your own food, and you’ll feel great.
8) Ditch the diets
If you really want to transform your body, ditch the low-calorie, quick-fix diets – they just don’t work in the long-term. More often than not you will return to your old eating habits and put any lost weight back on.
9) Find a friend
Training with someone else is great way to keep motivated and to help you stick to your training schedule. If you commit to training with someone you are less likely to skip a workout and you can also push each other to train harder.
10) Keep exercise short and sharp
High-intensity interval training workouts are the best to stick to long-term because if you’re really busy, it’s 25 minutes of work, you can do it anywhere.
You get so fit so quick, you burn loads of fat. It’s the best thing you can do and feel awesome afterwards.