Joe Wicks: How lockdown changed people’s attitudes towards exercise

Lockdown caused a “massive shift” in people’s attitudes towards exercise and encouraged parents to work out in front of their children, Joe Wicks has said.

The personal trainer, who shot to fame during the first lockdown thanks to his online PE lessons, said the British public had realised they could exercise at home without expensive equipment.

The 34-year-old, known professionally as The Body Coach, raised £580,000 for the NHS through his sessions and was subsequently made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Joe Wicks BUILD Series event
Joe Wicks (Ian West/PA)

During the Wired Live 2020 event, he said: “I really think there’s been a massive shift in people’s attitudes and habits towards exercise.

“I think there was always that tradition that mum or dad will go to the gym, on your lunch break, or before or after work and it wasn’t really done in front of the kids, or they did PE in school and I think lockdown and PE With Joe definitely brought families together for the first time and it removed that resistance of the commute – getting to the gym – the hour there, the hour back.

“People now realise they can have a great workout in their living room, or their bedroom or their garden with no equipment, and that’s really what I’ve been trying to achieve, to make fitness accessible and sustainable for everybody and I really hope that people realise that you don’t need an expensive gym membership and loads of equipment to stay fit and healthy – that’s really my goal.”

Speaking to Wired UK’s editor-in-chief Greg Williams, Wicks detailed how his broadcasts during lockdown had influenced how he subsequently developed his new fitness app.

He said: “I’ve always been promoting home workouts, so it’s not like I’ve just come out of it with this idea of home fitness, I believe that home workouts are the future for many people.

“Obviously there will always be gyms and boutique platforms, but I think for the general population, training at home is so much easier and so much more sustainable.

“So we really took that into account, you know very little equipment, very little space, so that it could be done in a tiny little bedroom or it can be done in a kitchen.

“It’s about utilising the space you’ve got with really accessible workouts. And they’re also progressive so before I just had one level of fitness plan for everybody.”

“Now I’ve got a beginner plan, intermediate and advanced. So it’s really progressive and I like the idea of in the future bringing in family workouts and getting kids involved so it’s really a product for everyone it’s not aimed at one type of person.

“But I do believe that there has been a huge shift.

“So before lockdown, I used to get two million views per month on my YouTube channel. I’m now getting six to seven million views a month so the behaviours have changed and they’ve stuck.

“I think overall the population of people are going to want to exercise at home in the future.”

Joe Wicks spoke at Wired Live 2020 with Wired UK’s editor-in-chief Greg Williams.

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