Train hard and eat well. That, as long as you stick to certain criteria, will lead to success. That is the philosophy of Joe Wicks, who today is effectively the 'king' of fitness and nutrition. With 1.4 million followers on Facebook and 1.1 million on Twitter, Wicks is perfectly at home on social media.
Qualified in Sport Sciences at St Mary's University in Twickenham, a third level personal trainer and also a coach in advanced boxing, Wicks has helped tens of thousands of people to reach their goals in the world of fitness with his special method, which involves moving less and eating more.
"The book is called 'Lean in 15: 15 minute meals'. It is full of exercises to make you active and work your body, but it also contains recipes which are delicious and also very nutritious. The recipes are easy to make and you don't have to spend much time in the kitchen," says this popular 'body coach'.
This first book by Joe Wicks, which has already sold more than 700,000 copies, has become the most successful debut cookery book since 2006. It reveals how to modify and eliminate fat from your body by eating more and doing less exercise, exactly the opposite to the advice we have been given for decades. How is that possible?
'Lean in 15: 15 minute meals' is a guide which teaches people how to become stronger and maintain (or lose) weight simply, healthily and effectively. Wicks' system of physical activity is one of the key features.
"I am very much in favour of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which is a training method using phases of high intensity. These enable you to train to the maximum for just 30 seconds, then rest for another 30 or 40 seconds. In total, you spend 20 minutes working your body hard. It is a type of training which considerably increases heart rate, in such a way that you burn fat for up to 18 hours after doing it," explains Wicks.
This is known as the post-training effect. The body strives to replace this lack of oxygen and that increases your metabolic rhythm so more fats are burned and, therefore, more calories. "That's why there has to be maximum effort," he explains.
In his book, Joe describes two types of HIIT, one cardio and the other strengthening, in which the sit-ups, push-ups, combat exercises and the famous burpees take you to your limits. The idea is to achieve the fittest physical form possible and for that he says you need to combine both types of training, be consistent and forget about weighing scales.
"Muscle weighs more than fat, so the more toned you are the more you weigh, but you feel, and see yourself as being, better than ever. Sometimes taking a 'selfie' is a better way of measuring your progress than scales. It's better to use your own eyes, instead of numbers. My advice is to take photos every month to see the real progress in your body, and not obsess about it," he explains.
The other aspect of his famous method is nutrition. In his book, Joe Wicks shows how to eat in accordance with your body's energy demands and how to combine foods and intensive exercise. "It is a way of life which is going to transform your body and your way of eating forever. It is not like going on a diet," he explains.
The book contains 100 recipess in two main sections, those which are low in carbohydrates and those which contain a high amount. "Dishes which are full of carbohydrates are ideal when you have done a session of HIIT and your body needs something powerful, like a burrito or a fantastic chicken pie. If you train for 15 minutes five times a week, you can eat carbs knowing that you have already beaten them. At a psychological level, this is important. In my opinion, the bad reputation of carbohydrates is unjustified and false. The recipes which have hardly any carbs are for the rest of the day, when you don't need as much energy, and for the days when you don't do the exercise. It is also important to reinforce this type of food with a good amount of proteins every day," he says.
His favourite method of doing that is to eat a 30-gram spoonful of vanilla-flavoured protein powder with 15 grams of honey, 100 grams of baby spinach leaves and plenty of water.
Finally, Wicks says he has not forgotten about the occasional tempting treat, something which other physical trainers tend to rule out of an eating plan.
"They are the third section in my plan. I talk about snacks like spiced cashews, peanuts with wasabi or spicy nachos. Everyone deserves a treat sometimes. It liberates the mind. Otherside, eating could become a bit boring," he says.