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

Derby Telegraph - - FOOD & DRINK -

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.

DADDY DU­TIES

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.”

FOR­GET CALO­RIES

“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

■ Joe’s 30 Minute Meals: 100 Quick And Healthy Recipes by Joe Wicks is pub­lished by Blue­bird, priced £20.

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