Joe Wicks: ‘Other personal trainers think I got lucky’ | Life and style

I was a hyperactive child. I wasn’t very academic and I had a very short attention span. I was a bit of a class clown and was always messing around. My school reports used to say: “Joe has great potential if only he stopped chatting in class.” The only thing I was good at was sport and before I became a personal trainer, I wanted to become a PE teacher.

You can have an awesome physique by doing just 25 minutes exercise a day. That’s all I do. I was always a very skinny kid. From the age of 16, I tried to build my frame. I used to do a lot of weights. I’d probably spend about an hour and a half in the gym every day, but as I’ve got older I’ve cut that down.

The occasional drink is my only vice. I probably get drunk twice a month, if I go out with friends. I used to like going out and partying, but now it’s more often a nice dinner, cocktails and home by midnight.

I wasn’t born ambitious, but I am ambitious now. My mum is a social worker and my dad’s a roofer. My brother Nicky and I were the first two in my family to go to university. When I started to grow my audience and connect on social media and achieve certain things, like the book deal, then I became way more ambitious. The minute you have a little bit of success, you think: “I can do more and I can reach more people.” So as I’ve achieved more, I’ve become way more focused.

I may appear famous on Instagram, but I’m not someone who is going to red carpet events and has loads of celebrity mates. I haven’t let that affect me. I just do my thing. I lead a really private life away from that and I’ve managed to keep a balance. What matters is friends and family and community – actual relationships.

You have to become antisocial to become a social media star. In the early days, I was addicted to social media. I had to be on it and be engaged. When I was with my family and friends I was just constantly on my phone, replying to everything. But now it’s much more able to sustain itself although I do still probably post 10 times a day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. It’s a hamster wheel.

I’m really not a sex symbol. People might leave cheeky comments on Instagram like, “I’d love to marry you,” but it’s not like I’m going out to clubs and meeting loads of women. It’s not real. It’s just a social-media thing. I’m in a happy relationship, so I don’t need that or crave that attention.

The most negativity I get is from other personal trainers as they think I got lucky. I love a success story, but some people get jealous. I don’t ever engage in negative stuff. I just ignore it and keep spreading my message.

The Joe Wicks Café opens as part of the Lifestyle Lab at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City from 3 May, uk.westfield.com/london

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