‘It becomes uncool to exercise when you’re a teenager’

The Tes reports that Body Coach Joe Wicks has gone from teaching assistant to social media fitness sensation. Now, he tells Eleanor Busby, he’s going back to where his career began to try to help tackle children’s lack of physical activity – and to get teachers moving, too

Fitness and nutrition advice have made Joe Wicks, aka “The Body Coach”, a star for the YouTube generation. But his original ambition was to become a PE teacher. He managed a short spell as a teaching assistant. But it was not long before Wicks decided instead to pursue a career as a personal trainer. Today, he is a social media sensation.

But the exercise guru has unfinished business as far as schools are concerned. This month, he hopes to become an online PE teacher to a million pupils around the world – and improve the health of their teachers while he’s at it.

“It is kind of weird that it’s what I have come back to doing,” he says. “I have sort of become a PE teacher, but an online one.”

Wicks will lead free HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions live on YouTube every morning for five days to encourage more young people in schools to get moving.

Wicks worries that PE is being “pushed back” in the school curriculum. He sees it as “really scary”, especially as childhood obesity in the UK is on the rise. 

“I don’t think you can ever start them too young really,” he says. “If you can get them to like fitness just before they go to secondary school then they’ll be more likely to carry it on.

Wicks says that his “dream” is for all pupils every week to carry out a few workouts in the morning, as well as learning how to cook one healthy recipe in school. “I want this to be my mission and campaign for years to come. This isn’t just about me doing it online and that’s it. I want to try and get involved with schools and the NHS and make an impact.”

Read more ‘It becomes uncool to exercise when you’re a teenager’

Why don’t you get your class involved? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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