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Talking to Joe Wicks, you get the sense that he genuinely can’t believe people know who he is. But unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll know all about Joe and his fitness empire.
He first became an Instagram sensation thanks to his Body Coach plan and ‘Lean in 15’ recipes. Lockdown saw him transform from social media influencer to household name, thanks to his daily workout sessions for children, called PE With Joe, and he now has more than four million followers. His reach was so wide, he was awarded an MBE for his services – and the royal seal of approval doesn’t stop there.
“I met the Duchess of Cambridge at Wimbledon,” Joe tells OK! during our exclusive chat. “She said George had a go at some of my workouts during lockdown. It was pretty amazing.”
Here, Joe, who turns 35 this week, tells us more about that huge pinch-me moment as he opens up about life at home with wife
Rosie and their two children, Indie, three, and one-year-old Marley, and his exciting new work projects…
Hi Joe. Have you had a chance yet to take in your crazy year?
Even now, it’s still settling in just how many people took part in PE With Joe. I was just in my living room with a camera and a tripod, so I didn’t really have a perspective on how many people were enjoying it. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, really.
You received an MBE for your work. Has that sunk in yet?
It feels really surreal, especially because nothing happened for me. It got announced in the press but there was never a ceremony or anything like that, so it’s like it didn’t really happen. Hopefully, they will do a ceremony or something in the future.
Have you met any of the royals before?
I met the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, at Wimbledon. She turned around and told me that George had a go at some of my workouts during lockdown, which was quite nice. It was quite mad to think that the royal family even knew about my workouts. It was pretty amazing.
Now you’re working with kids again on a new project, The Workout Badges series…
I’ve got a daughter and a little boy, so when the opportunity came around, I jumped on it. There are 13 videos, each five to six minutes long, and each episode earns a different workout badge, like the Star Jump Badge or the Marching On The Spot Badge. There’s me and the two children and we all do the exercises. At the end of it, Duggee [from the CBeebies series Hey Duggee] gives us a badge to say “well done”. I was on set with big cardboard cut-outs, and sending pictures to Indie and Marley to show that I’ve been working out with the squirrels and Duggee.
Do you usually get your own children involved in keeping active?
They’ve always watched me training in the gym, running around the garden or doing a workout in the living room, so they’ve always been exposed to it. But the more I show them how we can exercise or cook together, the more it becomes a family thing rather than a chore. We go upstairs and do a little workout together. They’re only messing around but they’ll hang on the pull-up bar, or lie on the foam roller and do funny little things like that. So it’s become a fun game where they’re trying to beat each other’s times and see
who can swing the highest.
Your little girl Indie seems so grown up already…
We’ve been going to soft play recently, so I’ve realised just how advanced she is. She’s like a seven-year-old – I don’t know how she’s so smart! She loves reading, learning and doing her handwriting, so we just constantly encourage her.
How has she adapted to becoming a big sister?
She’s quite maternal. She looks after and takes care of Marley, so I think it’s just in her nature. I think she gets a lot of that from Rosie because she’s quite affectionate. They have their little arguments, but most of the time she’s holding his hand and making sure he’s safe.
With such a busy work schedule, it must be important to maintain family time…
Yeah, I’m looking forward to having a good holiday soon. I haven’t had a proper break since March last year, so hopefully I can take
a week or two away somewhere with Rosie and the children to really connect with them.
You’ve achieved so much over the last few months, you must be very proud. What’s next on your bucket list?
It’s hard because PE With Joe was such a career-defining moment that I think that’s probably going to be the peak of my career. But I still have so much ambition to work with children and young people. I’ve got a real passion for it and I think they need a lot of support, guidance and inspiration. So the next few years will be dedicated to children’s health, fitness, mental health and nutrition.
You’ve also teamed up with Louis Theroux for a new documentary. Tell us about that…
Louis Theroux has a production company called Mindhouse, so he and his team are helping with the edit. It’s a really powerful and emotional documentary around mental health. It’s looking at my family, and my journey with parents with mental health issues. I go to charities and certain people to see how they’re affected, and how parental mental illness affects children and the whole family.
How has filming been?
It’s been quite intense. There are things I don’t remember that I’m getting told about, so it’s quite emotional and tough. But I can’t wait for that to come out later in the year.
Your parents must be so proud of you and your achievements…
My mum and dad are both proud. We’re still a close family. My mum and dad are not together but we still hang out a lot. My mum comes round quite a bit, and I’ve got motorbikes so me and my dad do that together. They’re constantly saying how proud they are of me because you wouldn’t have expected anything from me as a kid. I was quite distracted and a bit of a naughty kid. So to go on and do the stuff I have, and help so many people – they say they’re really proud.
The Workout Badges will be available on The Body Coach TV YouTube channel and YouTube Kids app from 22 September.
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