Here at Lakeland we’re not big fans of faddy diets and starving ourselves, so when we found out that the first step of Joe Wicks’ ‘Lean in 15’ plan is to banish your weighing scales – Joe calls them ‘the sad step’ – and that you get to eat more… we were definitely interested! Joe, aka The Body Coach, has already helped hundreds of thousands of people transform their bodies and feel amazing with his first book, Lean in 15, which focuses on 15-minute meals and workouts to build a strong, lean body. His second instalment, The Shape Plan, is filled with another 100 delicious recipes, and we’re delighted that Joe has shared some of these with us.
We caught up with Joe to talk fitness, recipe inspiration and food – and find out what’s next for this man on a mission.
Check out the full interview below.
What are your top tips for beginning a fitness journey?
My mantra is ‘prep like a boss!’ – this means spending a couple of hours each week planning your meals, organising the best time to fit in your exercise, shopping for the right foods and preparing meals so that you’ve made it as easy as possible for yourself to stick to your goals. That way you’ve got no excuse not to stick to your routine!
You seem to place a real emphasis on having fun and not worrying if you have the occasional ‘off day’. Is this deliberate, and if so why?
I genuinely believe that diets don’t work, it’s about changing your lifestyle. Everyone needs a day off, we’re all human but the key is not to beat yourself up about it but to get back on the lean train the next morning! Life is for living, not calorie counting – have a cheat day every now and then, enjoy it, then get back on your training the next day.
What’s your absolute favourite recipe?
I’m a big breakfast person, so for me eggs are king! My favourite recipe at the moment is definitely Eggs and Kevin Bacon from my second book, Lean in 15: The Shape Plan.
And favourite HIIT exercise?
HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) is all about bursts of energy, followed by short rest periods. This can be anything from knee ups, running on the spot or burpees. It’s about getting your heart rate up – I’m usually worn out after hitting the burpees hard so I’d probably go for them.
You cook such a wide variety of foods and flavours, what’s your biggest source of food/flavour inspiration?
I love playing around with flavours and unusual combinations, but it’s definitely getting harder to come up with new recipes for my books. Each one has 100 recipes, but I enjoy the challenge of being creative in the kitchen – I’m such a foodie and I don’t think there is anything I wouldn’t at least try.
A huge amount of your recipes use Coconut Oil – why do you like to cook with it?
Coconut oil is a saturated fat and since around the 1950s onwards we’ve been told to steer clear of this type of fat for fear of high cholesterol and heart disease. Ironically, more recent studies have shown that saturated fats increase the levels of good cholesterol. Coconut oil is a great way to incorporate this into your diet; I love the taste and it doesn’t smoke at high temperatures like a lot of other cooking oils do.
What is the simplest piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to pursue a healthier lifestyle?
Well firstly, I’d say well done! If you’ve already set your mind to something you’re halfway there – keep thinking about how great you will feel and really focus on that goal. Know that if you stick to it, you’ll have the results you want, you’ll be full of energy, your skin will be glowing and you’ll feel great!
Can people really lose weight and get toned without having to give up their favourite foods?
Absolutely! Everything in moderation and like I said before, a cheat day every now and then is fine. One of the great things about my recipes is that they’re simple and really tasty, the biggest complaint I get from people on my 90 Day Plan is that they are amazed how much food they need to consume.
How fast can people expect to see results when following the Lean in 15 plan?
The best results come after 3 months of following the plan, but you’ll start to see results in week one as you’ll have been fuelling your body currently and getting the endorphins pumping around your body with your HIIT sessions. It’s really important to think of this as a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. You’ll learn how to balance your meals and exercise for amazing results and hopefully take that with you for a lifetime.
You say in your book, ‘Nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated.’ What’s the simplest approach to eating healthily?
It really is preparation. If you’ve thought out your week – where you’ll be, when you need to pack a lunch, when you will work out – you’re setting yourself up to be a winner.
How adaptable are your recipes? Can people adapt their own favourite recipes to fit the Lean in 15 plan, or substitute ingredients they don’t like?
In my books I always try to give alternative suggestions, like swapping different veg or meat if you don’t particularly like something. Each book has 100 recipes so there is a lot of variety and I really wanted to cater for everyone. My 90 Day Shift Shape and Sustain Plan is tailored to each individual, so allergies and intolerances are taken into account and I have a team of Lean Heroes who work with me who are always on hand with advice.
What is your secret for keeping people motivated?
I think it’s really important to celebrate success, no matter how big or small. My followers are brilliant – I call them my ‘leanies’. The online community we have on social is so inclusive and encouraging. I have absolutely no time for Moaning Minnies or Negative Normans!
You started on social media and you’ve now got a huge social following and a great relationship with your fans. How rewarding is it to see them sharing their results with you?
I love seeing the transformations, that’s why I’m constantly retweeting them on and sharing them on Instagram, it shows people that it is really that easy.
What inspired you to publish your books?
It was the next step for me, #Leanin15 was getting bigger and bigger online and people were really engaged and seemed to love it. A book was the next step in getting my message out there.
Did you expect #Leanin15 to take off like it has?
When I first started my mates thought I was mad – I was posting 15 second recipe videos on Instagram, hanging out of my window with finished dishes and shouting things like ‘Bosh!’ and ‘Lean in 15!’. I used to get hardly any viewers, but I kept going because I really believed in what I was doing. Gradually more and more people started to get involved, started sharing #Leanin15, and it snowballed from there. I used to be a personal trainer and used to see so many people training hard but with bad diets – you can’t out-train a bad diet and I wanted to show people how to eat properly.
What’s next for The Body Coach?
I’m on a mission to get the world lean! I’ll never stop giving away free content online so I’m always busy creating videos and cooking up recipes. It’s all a whirlwind – I just want to keep spreading the word about Lean in 15 and help as many people as I can!
Follow @thebodycoach online
Text copyright © Joe Wicks 2015
Photography copyright © Maja Smend 2015