I wrote this article pre-corona virus and have had it in my “to publish” section for a while. Since then, Joe Wicks has done some incredible things. Because of this, an old article I wrote about him is getting quite a bit of traffic. It was not the most flattering! Though I stand by what I wrote at the time. It no longer represents what I think about him as a fitness influencer (I always respected him as a businessman). Hopefully, this article will better reflect my opinion. Apologies to the Body Coach
The Body Coach has become the face of fitness in the UK, and back when I was a personal trainer that used to irritate me no end. His over-simplified (and often incorrect) nutrition advice, his poorly planned out training programs, and his high-pitched voice used to grate on me. Why was this guy doing so well, while I couldn’t fill my diary?
As you can probably see, my issue was not with the Body Coach it was with myself. The complaints I had still hold water. His high-fat, low-carb diet is not ideal for clients, and his HIIT programs will not suit the majority of people. But you know what? The Body Coach has helped tens of thousands of people to lose weight and build muscle, while me personally? Nowhere near as many.
See, I was getting bogged down in the details, more worried about what my fellow personal trainers thought than I was about inspiring my clients. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely tried my hardest. Many of my clients lost a lot of fat and built a lot of muscle. But maybe they could have lost more fat if I’d been prepared to deviate from what the science told me?
What I was suffering from was over-thinking. 90% of my clients wanted to lose fat, and they wanted a simple process to follow. The Body Coach gave them that. Eat these foods, they will be lower in calories than your regular diet, by exercising more you will create a calorie deficit and you will eventually lose fat.
Sure, there are people that this method will not work well for, but most people would get good results from a Body Coach diet and training plan.
I know exactly why I over-complicated things, I felt that I owed it to my clients. Tailored training programs, diet analysis, one-on-one training with me in the gym. Cleverly designed training programs that they could follow on their own. I don’t think that any of my clients could complain that they weren’t getting their money’s worth.
But I could have definitely simplified things. I could have given my clients more freedom to be aggressive with their calorie deficits. I could have helped more people more efficiently. It took me a few years to realise this, and I’m not sure that I would ever have realised this while still working as a personal trainer.
When it comes to fat loss, the journey (or story if you prefer) is so much more important than I (and most personal trainers) realised. People need to think that they are turning the page on a new chapter in their life, and it is the job of a coach to keep them in this mindset for as long as possible.
I was concentrating on creating small, simple steps that were easy to follow and would lead to long-term changes. This method works, but many people get fed up of this softly-softly approach and quit before seeing worthwhile changes.
The Body Coach follows a different method, and it seriously works. Change everything, don’t sweat the small stuff, and create real change in a short space of time. A high-fat, low-carb diet may not be the best diet to follow. But it is simple to understand, and it gives people the belief that they are disrupting the system.
I’m not certain that this is a sustainable model for long term changes, and it is too soon to say whether the Body Coach’s programs have succeeded long-term or not. But it has influenced my new model for fat loss.
Create big changes during the first twelve weeks, and then work on creating lasting changes. Psychologically this will work best for the majority of people. Most people are able to follow diets in the short term, even diets that are extreme in nature, the issue is the post-diet rebound.
If you can harness that initial energy and motivation. That ability to make sweeping changes and create some fat-loss momentum, then your clients will get great results. Your job then is to find ways to help your client create lasting change, to slow down that runaway train and inspire your clients to stay happy and healthy for the rest of their lives.
So thank you to the Body Coach (Joe Wicks) for changing my mind, Joe has worked his balls off over the last ten years and deserves all the success he has received.
Matt Smith is the owner of Beer N Biceps. He has a degree in Sports Science, 10 years of experience working in the fitness industry, and has written for hundreds of fitness websites. He is a lover of good quality beer and believes that drinking in moderation can form part of a healthy lifestyle.