November 20th 2016
How Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach’s new Shape book measures up
June 16th 2016
Photography: Maja Smend
“Eat more, build muscle, burn fat” - is Lean in 15-The Shape Plan by Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach a must-read? We picked up a copy to find out
When it comes to sequels, the pressure to meet or exceed expectations is always a tough ask - especially when the original was a HUGE bestseller. That being said though, if anyone has enough muscle to produce yet another popular page-turner, no one is probably better equipped than Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach.
With his first book, The Shift Plan, sending the Instagram icon’s star into the stratosphere (it was an instant smash as soon as it went on pre-sale), his charisma, sense of humour and ability to make healthy living hugely accessible and enjoyable too, he’s filled a much-needed void in the wellness industry that’s proven to be hit across all demographics - from young to old, men to women.
“My aim is always to keep things quick and simple because I know that life gets busy and we don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen every day,” he says in the introduction. “With Lean in 15 I’m going to show you that you can have a busy job and family life and still find the time to stay lean.”
And therein lies his massive appeal - quick, easy, healthy meals combined with fast yet effective exercise routines to help keep us on the road to weight loss success both in the short and long term. So has The Body Coach produced another bestseller? We picked up a copy to find out.
How does the second book differ from the first?
In his first book, Joe set his sights on helping shift unwanted body fat through a combination of high intensity cardio sessions and carbohydrate-centric post-workout refuelling. This time round though, he’s shifted focus towards shaping and building lean muscle through resistance work and a new mixture of reduced-carbohydrate and carbohydrate-rich meals to suit training and non-training days.
Do you need to have read the first book to read this one? Not necessarily. It definitely helps, but the principles, nutrition plan and workout recommendations can be put into play irrespective of how familiar you are with his method.
What’s the main message?
Essentially, that fitness and nutrition needn’t be needlessly difficult in order to yield results.
Angered by the low-calorie and low-fat fallacies the diet industries have fed us over the years, Joe provides a macronutrient roadmap at the beginning of the book to separate the fat from the fiction and provide an easy-to-digest opening line to his plan. The reasoning behind his meal methodology? Ensuring the body is using the correct fuel source at the right time - fat for rest days and carbohydrates on training days - a system he’s found hugely effective for both himself and his clients in terms of increasing both lean muscle and metabolic rate when teamed with a suitable workout regime.
From a fitness perspective, the plan consists of four new workouts (comprising of weight training with HIIT cardio) - targeting arms, the chest and back, legs and shoulders - to be done four times a week with three non-negotiable rest days, devised to help build lean muscle and increase fat burn.
Who is it for?
Those who are intimidated by the thought of making a healthy living U-turn, those who don’t think they can fit fitness in and those who think healthy food is all swampy green juices and sticks of celery. His enthusiasm to change preconceptions is infectious, with his humour and down-to-earth tone of voice making the prospect all the more palatable for a wider, multi-generational audience. Although Joe does make a few ingredient swap recommendations for vegetarians, those who do eat meat will benefit most from his recipes and those who are gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free may struggle. However, with ingredients that are easy to source, 15-minute cooking times (some are a little longer, but they’re more the exception than the rule), the book acts a great way to learn healthier habits, without completely taking your taste buds out of their culinary comfort zones.
Workout-wise, the routines and number of reps are pretty challenging however, the weight used and type of cardio exercise done can be modified to suit most abilities and fit a range of different fitness levels as a result.
What will you need?
A workout bench and dumbbells. Oh, and a blender too.
What will I learn?
Joe puts it best: “Nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t need to starve yourself to get lean.”
Any final takeaways?
With its principles taken from Joe’s hugely popular 90 Day Shift Shape and Sustain programme, the book provides a useful template for readers to use to create their own regime. Joe is a big advocate of ditching the one-size-fits-all approach in favour of a test and adopt attitude instead. Throughout the book, Joe prompts the reader to try different things out to better gauge what fuel they run best on and encourages them to listen to their bodies, not to go hungry and make small adjustments when needed.
In terms of other types of exercises, Joe’s main principles are pretty HIIT-heavy however, he does suggest incorporating some stretching or mobility work too, e.g. yoga and Pilates after workouts to keep joints and muscles mobile and flexible. The exercises can be done at home or in the gym and although gym classes may be out the window, one look at the legion of loyal ‘Lean Winners’ on his Instagram account and in the last chapter of the book proves that doesn’t really matter as far as his fans are concerned and confirms that the Wicks wagon is at no risk of slowing down any time soon. In fact, it’s sure to pick up more than a few extra recruits, as buzz around this sequel’s launch continues to gather speed.
New DVD announced
In August 2016 BBC Worldwide announced a new DVD deal with the Lean in 15 star, set to be released on Boxing Day 2016. The DVD will feature Joe guiding viewers through his HIIT workouts, as well as adding new routines for those who are already on his programme and lots of healthy eating tips and recipes. The Joe Wicks: Lean in 15 DVD is available to pre-order now on Amazon for £13.99.
Lean in 15 - The Shape Plan is £16.99 and available to buy online here.
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