Joe Wicks – aka The Body Coach and the man behind the hashtag #LeanIn15 – is on a mission to make Britain fitter and healthier. Championing short workouts and plenty of carbs (and actually delivering big on results), it’s no wonder his no-nonsense programme is a global phenomenon. We caught up with The Body Coach himself to find out his top 12 rules for staying lean...
Eat Fat For Breakfast
If you’re having a manic morning and haven’t had time to prep some overnight oats, whizz up a quick fat-based smoothie in your Nutribullet. Blend a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt (always full-fat) with a handful of berries, a squeeze of lime juice and half an avocado and you’re good to go. Packed with healthy fats, this low-sugar smoothie will keep you going until lunch.
Have A Lunch Plan B
While it’s always better to prep your lunches in advance if you’re on a mission to get lean, we’re all human and it’s okay to get turn to your local supermarket if you’re low on lunch options. Make your own salad by buying some protein – perhaps some chicken, prawns or ham – and add to a generous portion of mixed salad and a dollop of hummus for some healthy fats. While I always advocate taking in leftovers over shop-bought salads, it’s not a bad second option.
Forget Cheat Days
Having a cheat day can be a dangerous mindset to have – instead, eat out a couple of times per week (that includes lunches at Pret). The trouble with cheat days starts with the wording – separating foods into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories merely encourages us to associate eating with guilt and shame, which will do your relationship with food no favours in the long run. While it’s fine to indulge a couple of times a week, you’ll soon learn how your body is affected by these meals and you’ll naturally want to cut back to see results and feel great.
Carbs Aren’t The Enemy
Carbs don’t make you gain body fat, it’s overeating and storing extra energy that makes you gain body fat. Post-workout meals should always be high in carbs and protein but lower in fat – this will help repair muscles and replenish their glycogen stores so you can go full throttle at your next workout.
Prep On A Sunday
Taking a couple of hours on a Sunday to prep for the week ahead is nothing new, but it’s worth its weight in gold if you’re on a mission to get your diet on track. Try to batch cook three meals and alternate them for lunches and/or dinners throughout the week – avoid having the same thing day in, day out, as this will only create boredom.
Stock Up On Protein & Fats
If you have the right ingredients in your fridge and cupboard, rustling up a quick meal at the end of a long day will be a breeze. In my fridge, you’ll always find plenty of protein (usually fish or chicken), Greek yoghurt, eggs and broccoli – and in my cupboards, coconut milk, coconut oil, nuts, a well-stocked spice rack, curry pastes and tins of tomatoes. Trust me, some of the healthiest and tastiest meals really can be cooked in 15 minutes if you have these ingredients to hand.
Don’t waste money on expensive superfood powders. Instead, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially greens. For example, broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables out there and just as good for you as a superfood powder. You’re far better off having lean and nutritious food on a regular basis rather eating rubbish and then having one superfood smoothie to cancel it out.
Smoothies Are Okay
While I always advocate proper food over a smoothie or a juice, they can be a quick and easy snack or light breakfast. The key is to avoid fruit-heavy blends – if you’re making your own at home, replace your sugars with fats, such as avocado or Greek yoghurt. If you’re buying a smoothie from a café or shop, double check what’s in it – so many smoothies are disguised as the healthy option when, in fact, they’re just packed with sugar.
Ditch The Scales
Try not to weigh yourself – as muscle weighs more than fat, you may put on a few pounds once you start training more, but that’s not always a bad thing. Instead, try taking monthly update photos – if you’re consistently working out and eating clean, you’ll see the difference in your body and that’ll be all the motivation you need. It goes without saying that you should forget about counting calories, too.
I’m a huge advocate of HIIT workouts – when done properly (you really do need to give it everything – if you feel like you can go every day of the week, you aren’t working hard enough), a 15-minute session can work wonders to burn fat and build lean muscle.
Take A Rest Day
Make an effort to take two rest days every week – this is crucial to let your body repair itself. If you don’t, you’ll soon start having aches and pains and could damage your muscles and joints. Stay in tune with your body – a rest day enables your body to recover so use it wisely to avoid injury and an even longer recovery period.
Nail The Burpee
It’s the one HIIT move people find tricky but when done correctly, will have you seeing results in no time. Remember to jump up fully to a standing position and don’t arch your back; when you get down the ground, make sure you kick your legs back fully. Practice makes perfect – the more you do them, the more of a pro you’ll become.
Joe Wicks latest DVD, Lean in 15 Workouts, is available on DVD and digital download from today