We did the Joe Wicks workouts for a week so you don’t have to
Shredded? Probably not.
It’s safe to say that during the boredom of quarantine, exercise is not particularly high up on many people’s “to-do” lists. Why bother squatting or planking when you can stay in your PJs all day binge-watching Louis Theroux?
Saying that, however, not being able to lie to ourselves about this “finally being the day” that we dust off our trainers and head to the uni gym was beginning to take its toll. At least at uni, we could pretend that we were just so busy, that we couldn’t exercise even if we wanted to (we don’t). We could fool ourselves that we’d eventually get round to it… just in another month or so. At home, bored to the point that we’ve started to make forts out of discarded cardboard and applied to pick fruit in Chelmsford, this excuse was, distressingly, no longer valid.
Add to that the frankly insane level of popularity that Joe Wicks’ morning workouts have received, we decided we’d brave the bitter 9am wake up, put on our unworn tracksuit bottoms, and do our best to avoid trampling the dog as we squat, crunch and kangaroo jump our way through 30 minutes of pure torture.
The face of the nation’s favourite PE Teacher.
Wheel of fortune? Wheel of absolute shit.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For our first PE session with Joe, the cheeky bugger decided to introduce what will surely become a regular fixture in our nightmares, a spinning wheel, segmented into different exercises. Whatever it lands on, is the exercise you have to do. Some easy, some hard, all performed by Joe in a quite frankly dangerously tight magician’s suit.
From what we could make out, the wheel did not look friendly. Burpees? Press ups? Lunge jumps? Nothing short of magic is going to get us through this.
After a brief warm up, the horror began. For our first exercise… the mystery prize. One minute of squats? And one minute of burpees? We could practically feel our untested calves shiver in fear.
We finished this one gasping, flat on the ground, and with several unkind suggestions for where Joe could stick his magic wand. The fact that this was all set to the backing of One Direction only served to reinforce our pain.
Lunge jumps followed, then some bunny hops. We’re sure we looked absolutely mental to our neighbours, but it was too late to back out now. “Abracadabra, give us what we want!” Joe crowed.
A Big Mac?
“Bunny hops, AGAIN!?”
“What a workout! I’ll be back tomorrow with another bit of fun!”
aNothEr biT oF fUn.
“Good morning world!”
30 second jog on the spot started us off today, a nice, pleasant exercise that we could actually accomplish without nearly dying.
So, naturally, it didn’t last.
Squat down low, high knee to opposite knee, and repeat. Fairly… easy?
Only further reinforcing our misplaced sense of smug was the next exercise, star jumps. Piss easy, we used to do star jumps all the time in Year 7. Give us a challenge at least.
Did you say lunges? We take it all back. The workout is perfectly paced, please, for the love of God, can we go back to star jumps?
Push ups, swiftly followed by bunny hops (our old nemesis), running squats, a plank, Spider-Man lunges and crunches ensured we would never question the wisdom of the Prophet Joe ever again.
“This me at the start of the workout, and when I come through it to the other side, I’m a different person.”
Honestly, Joe can sell the workout to me like no one else.
Also keeping it new and fresh is Joe’s newest twist; card-based workout. Basically, there’s a row of cards on the mantelpiece, and if you flip a high card then you do a harder challenge.
I chose to do all the harder exercises, regardless of the cards. Potentially fatal? Maybe, but we’d been bit by the fitness bug, and not doing the harder exercises just felt like we were letting Joe down.
Yes, I’m aware this is basically squat based Stockholm Syndrome, but still, I ploughed on.
And what exercises they were. Squat jump, squat and kick, burpee tuck jump and push ups to name but a few.
We all suffer for our art, I suppose.
In all seriousness, I did not feel remotely as dead post-exercise as I did even on Monday, so maybe Joe is onto something… or maybe I’m just going mad and experiencing nerve damage.
Normally, I get irritated when YouTubers plug their merch in the video. Oh wow, you’ve got a YouTooz, do you want to go on wasting our collective finite time on this earth, or are you going to get to the point?
However, the fact that Joe is giving all of the profits from the YouTube channel, along with all the sales from his t-shirts to the NHS is actually an incredible gesture, so I didn’t skip through like I normally do.
So, what have you got for us today Joe? Jogging on the spot? Ha! Didn’t realise I’d tuned into the OAP workout. What else you got? L-lunges?
You’d think I’d have learnt to keep my mouth shut by now. You’d be wrong.
Star jumps followed, press ups came after, not nearly as daunting as they appeared on Monday morn. Even the crunches ceased to be the bane of my existence, though I am still a long way off the coveted six-pack, possessed only by the members of the Swimming Soc. One good thing about lockdown I suppose; no-one has to bear witness to that incredibly weird conga line of half naked men in Speedos who pose and flex on the way to Sugar.
He kicked the second half off with everyone’s favourite: mountain climbers.
I finished Thursday’s session on the floor, groaning like I’d been shot, while Joe stood gleefully in front of the camera, continuing to do shout-outs for his comment section.
Needless to say, we crawled away from this session with a new level of respect for Joe, and a sense of terrified trepidation as to what ‘Fancy Dress Friday’ would hold for us…
Okay… Joe’s dressed up as King Arthur, swinging his sword around with his free hand while cradling his injured hand and still managing to play with his 22 month old daughter, Indie.
The level of commitment shown by this man is nothing short of inspiring.
If you thought the handicap of an injured hand would stop Joe, you’d be incredibly wrong. Honestly, Indie running around while Joe vainly attempts to carry on with his workout is the absolute picture of chaotic energy, and just the thing we needed to get us through this final stretch.
The second half got more interesting as he squatted with Indie, so I figured I’d follow my new hero, and squat with my Indie stand in; my dog, Sally. As you can tell from the pictures, she was less than impressed with this development.
If I thought the comment section had turned into goo after Indie ran on, it was nothing compared to when 5 month old Marley made an appearance, carried by Joe, also in a dragon onesie. While clearly in immense pain, he still managed to squat for thirty seconds, Marley being held in his good arm.
All in all, not the triumphant conclusion we were expecting, although it was nice to take it relatively easy for once.
The One PE Teacher That Everyone Loves
Everyone, from the humble student, to Holly & Phil has tuned into PE with Joe, and it shows. The man is hugely popular, and admittedly, despite all the pain and torment, we too are hard-pressed not to walk away liking him.
Unlike other fitness channels, which can often come across as sneering if you can’t keep up with them, Joe genuinely seems to want everyone, from the fitness freaks to the coach potatoes that sneeze if you so much as mention bicycle crunches to join in and have fun. He doesn’t judge, or set truly unreasonable expectations; challenging, yes, but it’s a challenge you always feel like you can overcome, if you push yourself just that little bit harder.
In an interview, Joe said that PE with Joe has helped him “Become the teacher I always wanted to be.” Maybe, just maybe, PE with Joe has helped a whole nation realise that Joe Wicks is the teacher we always wanted.
PE With Joe runs every weekday from 9am. To join in, head over to his YouTube Channel, The Body Coach TV.
To buy a PE with Joe t-shirt and support the NHS, check out his website with this link.
For more PE with Joe, follow his Instagram.