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Joe Wicks's tips for getting lean in 2019

Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is a social media sensation and one of the world’s most influential fitness stars.

In the Don’t Tell Me The Score podcast, Joe tells Simon Mundie how he went from running small boot camps in Surbiton to breaking the world record for an outdoor high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session.

And he shares his insights on food, fitness and how to get lean in 2019. Here are some of Joe's tips:

Joe Wicks interview

Joe shares his food and fitness insights with Simon on the podcast. Listen to the Joe Wicks episode

1. You don’t need to join a gym to get fit

You don’t need to have a gym membership or expensive equipment to get in shape, says Joe. His philosophy is based on equipment-free exercise for all and he believes working out at home is key to long-term, sustainable fitness.

If you own the morning you win the day.
Joe Wicks

We’re so busy these days that joining a gym and going every week can simply feel like too much pressure, says the Body Coach. “Doing it at home, in your living room and in 20 minutes is going to get you results way quicker.” Whoever you are, says Joe, you can get a great physique doing HIIT training and bodyweight stuff.

2. The early bird catches the worm

Joe believes that the best time to train is first thing in the morning. “If you own the morning you win the day,” he says.

Doing a workout in the morning, and just getting it done, is going to make you more productive and more focused: “You’re going to achieve more, you’re going to be in a better mood and you’re going to eat better food.”

Joe Wicks chats to Simon Mundie for the Don't Tell Me The Score podcast

3. There are workout moves you can do anywhere

There are certain workout moves that Joe believes consistently work: squats and lunges are really going to benefit your legs and lower body. And you’ve also got press ups and plank and triceps dips against a chair or bench: “These are exercises that use lots of muscles, activate your core and improve your posture.”

It’s important to do them in a way that’s suitable for you, says the Body Coach. “If it’s too easy, do squat jumps. If it’s too hard, do slow, low and controlled ones” without any weights.

4. The buttocks are important!

Many people do a lot of squats and work on their quads but you shouldn’t neglect your posterior because the muscles in your buttocks help stabilise and support your body. They can weaken with sedentary desk-based jobs which can lead to back problems, particularly when combined with shortened hip flexors.

Joe suggests trying kettle bell swings, reverse lunges or lying on the floor and creating a bridge where you keep your bottom off the ground and squeeze your glutes. “Exercises like this will really strengthen that part your body.“

In addition, Joe advises putting one knee on the floor and pushing into your hip flexor – it’s a good way of opening it up and strengthening the back.

Joe Wicks working out in his studio. (Photo by Conor McDonnell)

5. You should do the exercise you enjoy

Joe loves doing pull-ups and press-ups, and working the big muscle groups with bodyweight moves but, he says, the important thing is to do what you enjoy. If you’re someone who loves CrossFit you should do that; if you love spin classes then stick to them: “There’s no wrong or right with fitness. It’s whatever you enjoy and whatever you can keep up and keep doing.”

There’s no wrong or right with fitness. It’s whatever you enjoy and whatever you can keep up and keep doing.
Joe Wicks

6. Calorie counting isn’t the answer

Joe’s basic food rule is that “you want to look at your plate and see a source of protein… some vegetables and a source of carbohydrate, whether that’s rice or pasta or noodles.” It’s not about calorie-counting: “I’m not someone who… counts calories or tracks macros; I’ve never known how many grams of this and that and how many calories I eat.”

He doesn’t over-think it: “I think it can be so complicated and people can be baffled with numbers and science and diets and stuff but it really is a case of cooking proper nutrient-dense food.”

The key to getting lean, Joe says, is portion control, healthy home cooked food, cutting out the treats and just training a bit harder.

7. You can be veggie and still get enough protein

Joe still eats meat but he’s now cooking a lot more veggie meals in the evening. His new book – Veggie Lean in 15 – has helped him realise “how yummy veggie food can be.”

You can get a decent amount of protein from vegetarian food, says Joe. An animal source like chicken is a full protein source: it has all the amino acids, which you can’t necessarily get from a vegetable. But when you combine things together – like quinoa, pulses, chickpeas and lentils – then you can get the complete amino acids. Combine with nuts (and eggs and cheese if you’re not vegan) and you can still build that lean muscle, he says.

8. It’s never too late to get fit

“If you’re really unfit and you want to get into fitness, just starting at home with some really basic, gentle stuff is going to build up your confidence and your fitness. This way, if you do decide to join a gym, you’re not going to be really intimidated and just run out the door.”

Crucially, says the Body Coach, “it’s never too late to get fit; it’s never too late to feel good and confident and change the way you eat and train. Just give it a go and momentum will take you the rest of the way.”

“Get up, give it a go and get yourself lean in 2019.”