I’ve always known I *should* exercise. I’m lucky enough to be able to exercise. I have had a few weeks together, over the years, when I’ve actually done some regular exercise – but nothing has stuck. Until lockdown, and the arrival of PE with Joe (more famously known as Joe Wicks, The Body Coach). Joe launched daily PE lessons for children, donating all of the YouTube profits to NHS charities and breaking a Guiness World Record into the bargain. He’s achieved something even more startling for me – five months later, I have a regular exercise timetable that I’m still sticking to. It’s unheard of. I can honestly say that at no point in my life have I felt in better physical condition (apart from those golden few months in your late teens, when you can run any distance and eat what you like without implications). So what has this offered that so many others have failed to provide? Here’s my Joe Wicks review…

 

I know, it was meant to be for the kids – and it was to begin with for us, as well. What a great way to keep the kids moving when schools shut! A PE class, available free and direct to our living rooms. But with school out, and homeschool very much in, and the twice-daily school run (walk) was whipped away, it quickly became a great way to get me moving, too. And as the weeks went by, little by little I felt stronger and fitter – and the surprising thing to me, is that I’m not tempted to give up, as I have been so many other times (even though the boys’ participation dropped away after a while). But why?

 

It’s short and it’s varied

20 minutes – that’s all it takes each day, and that’s with a two minute breather half way through. I’ve done DVDs by celebrities before that offer something similar, but the obvious problem with that is that it’s always the same – and it’s boring. Joe has released dozens of these workouts, as he was doing them every day during April, May and much of June, and then at a reduced number as some pupils started to return, so there are so many to choose from.

 

It’s intervals

Short bursts of 30-45 seconds’ exercise per minute (depending on how evil he’s feeling), with the rest of the minute to rest – then two minutes’ rest after 10 intervals, before the second half begins. I find it manageable, but a properly intense way of exercising – I am always out of breath after each interval, which I believe is the best way to do it!

 

Joe – he’s honest, authentic and likeable

Every session either went out live, or was recorded in one take. Joe is right there doing the workout with you, and he’s happy to admit that he’s tired too! There’s no smug, sweat-free instructor who clearly out-performs you in every interval, while secretly taking five minute shower breaks after every section. Joe does it all right alongside you, feeling the pain and encouraging you anyway. He’s honest about how hard it is, but also all the good things exercise does for you too – physically, mentally and emotionally, in the short term and the long. Have a listen to his Desert Island Discs episode, and you’ll hear the most frank and unexpected back story too.

 

I’ve figured out the right reasons

It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to realise this, but looking at exercise solely as a necessary evil to achieving weight loss is absolutely the wrong thing for me. Exercise is a gift not available to everyone, and it’s only now as I’m hurtling towards middle age that I’m realising what a gift it is. One of the things Joe has repeated throughout the sessions is “You’ll never regret a workout” – and it’s absolutely true. You may resent it while you’re doing it, but the feeling when you’ve finished is amazing, and the cumulative effect it has on your physical and mental health is wonderful.

 

So here’s my Joe Wicks review – the Body Coach’s message is one the most transformative and motivational incitements to exercise I’ve found – and I intend to remember it for the rest of my life, right up until I’m an old lady, streaming the Body Coach’s Workout for Seniors.

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