GRAB A WICK BITE
THE BODY COACH IS BACK – THIS TIME WITH A BATCH OF 30-MINUTE RECIPES. HE TELLS LAUREN TAYLOR ALL ABOUT IT
AS bestselling cookbook authors go, Joe Wicks is a bit of an anomaly. He’s not had any professional chef training, never even worked in a kitchen – and in fact only learned how to cook a steak medium-rare a couple of years ago.
Yet he’s just released his sixth recipe collection, Joe’s 30-Minute Meals, and has the UK’s second bestselling cookbook in history under his belt (Jamie Oliver holds the top spot), overtaking many Michelinstarred and celebrity TV chefs.
So how has he done it? A thoroughly modern star, Joe built his – now multi-millionpound – empire through social media, posting short videos of himself working out, or throwing his healthy dinners together. His chirpy personality, along with his trademark style of shouting the ingredients as he throws them in, has helped the PT with gravity defying curls gain an audience of 2.3 million on Instagram as The Body Coach.
Joe’s’ latest book sees him move from ‘Lean in 15’ – the concept that catapulted him to the top of bestseller lists – to meals that take double that time but are still quick and easy, and show off what he says is the evolution of his own skills in the kitchen. “I’ve kind of progressed a bit as a cook [he won’t call himself a chef] and I wanted to introduce recipes I’m enjoying now,” he says. “I used to think risotto was the hardest thing on earth to cook.”
That’s perhaps what’s so charming, he’s no Raymond Blanc and isn’t trying to be. Joe was brought up on frozen chicken nuggets and fish fingers and it wasn’t until his 20s that he got into cooking, alongside his love of fitness.
JOE and his girlfriend, model Rosie Jones, welcomed their daughter Indie in July.
“She’s just the cutest, I can’t wait to go home and see her,” he gushes. “She’s been a joy – even if she wakes up in the night she makes the cutest sounds.”
SPEED AND EASE
HE describes his latest book as “a bit more grown-up”, written with whole households in mind. The 30-minute meal concept has, of course, been done before, most famously by Jamie Oliver (one of Joe’s’ food heroes and now friend) – but fast, easy healthy meals was a trend Joe helped grow in the online world, when Instagram first took off. Not that success came overnight, and he acknowledges he captured his audience at just the right moment. “It’s taken years of [building] trust and giving out all this content. If I started today with my Instagram, with the same idea, exactly the same personality, I would have nowhere near the success I’ve had,” he reflects. “I had a good idea, at the right time.”
THE CARB FACTOR
EACH recipe in the new book is marked either ‘reduced-carb’ (higher in fat and protein) or ‘carb refuel’ (lower in fat, higher in carbs), a concept Joe’s fans will be familiar with. The idea is that you eat the former on days when you do less activity, and the latter after a workout: “Your muscles enjoy that refuel process.”
“MY biggest criticism from anyone – I always get stick from personal trainers – is always the fact that I don’t list calories and macros [macronutrients]. I’ll always stand by it – I don’t believe in calorie counting. I don’t think it’s a healthy relationship to have with food.
“Back in the day, before we understood what calories were, we were fine! We ate intuitively, we exercised,” he adds. “Weighing yourself every day and counting calories... You can’t hit a daily target – your body doesn’t work like that.
“People like realistic, they like having a treat and not feeling bad. If you ate a little bit more food today, that’s fine – get up and have a workout, and be a bit more sensible tomorrow. There’s no perfect day.”
Joe Wicks still refuses to call himself a chef, despite selling huge numbers of recipe books