Balloons, bunting and a ‘thank you’ banner decorated Joe Wicks’ living room for this morning’s emotional final edition of PE With Joe.
After 18 weeks and 78 live YouTube workouts, Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach has decided to end the exercise classes aimed at kids and families that he began in lockdown, saying that it’s time for him to “take some rest and recharge my batteries”.
The 30-minute sessions have proved hugely popular during lockdown, racking up more than 80 million views, and they’ve helped thousands of people discover both the joys and the hardships of home workouts.
Here’s what we’ve learned from PE With Joe…
1. Just because it’s for kids doesn’t mean it’s easy for adults
‘How hard can it be if it’s designed for kids?’ we thought confidently on day one, and we soon found out when, after less than five minutes, we were out of breath and dripping with sweat.
That’s the power of HIIT (high intensity interval training). The short sharp blasts of exercise really get your heart rate – and your temperature – up. But we felt better whenever Wicks or his wife Rosie complained they were struggling too.
2. HIIT makes you ache like nothing else
Within 48 hours of our first session we had discovered what the experts call DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and it felt so much worse than after any other type of exercise.
Reaching up to get something from a kitchen cupboard made our arms ache, and walking up the stairs was a Herculean effort. But you know what they say: no pain, no gain…
3. You get used to his voice after a while
These days, we haven’t got a bad word to say about Wicks, but at first we found his squeaky voice, strong accent and perky personality a bit much first thing in the morning.
Gradually, we learned to love his energy and enthusiasm, and now we’re actually going miss him barking commands at us every day.
4. Fancy dress Fridays were hilarious
Wicks started dressing up in kid-friendly costumes on Fridays and the results were hilarious, from Fred Flintstone in a big black wig to Harry Potter, complete with Hogwarts wizard uniform and magic wand.
Not only did we love seeing the fitness guru jumping around dressed as Spiderman, Superman and Scooby Doo, watching him sweating even more than usual in his elaborate outfits made us feel thankful we had stuck with our gym kit.
5. Wheel of fortune workouts were fun – but hard
Sometimes Wicks would bust out a workout wheel of fortune which he’d use to decide what move to do next.
It was fun watching the colourful wheel whirring round and guessing what was coming next, but obviously it was going to land on crunches right when our abs were in agony and plank when our shoulders were killing us.
6. We got really competitive with other parents
We know that PE With Joe was meant to be all about having fun and getting fit with the kids, but we may have got just a little bit competitive about it.
Not with our families – with other parents. Instead of comparing how many glasses of wine we’d had that week we found ourselves boasting about how many PE sessions we’d done and how badly we ached – so at least it’s a healthy kind of competition.
7. Exercise is amazing for your mental health
It’s not just the physical benefits of fitness that we’ve discovered, it’s the post-workout endorphin boost too, something that Wicks is always keen to stress.
He ended the last session today encouraging everyone to go back to the previous videos (all the PE sessions are on YouTube) and continue with daily workouts as a family.
“This is all about mental health, you’re going to be living a healthier and happier life if you exercise together, so please keep it up.”