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Joe Wicks reveals dream to have four children and crack America

He also spoke about meeting Kate Middleton

Emily Horan
Emily HoranEntertainment Editor
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Joe Wicks has long been social media's favourite foodie hunk. His perky personality, motivating workouts, and easy-to-follow recipes have become a staple in homes across the globe.

But during the pandemic, Joe – aka The Body Coach – became a certified household name when he stepped up to help parents entertain their little ones and keep them active with PE With Joe. His fun, child-friendly weekday workouts on YouTube were watched religiously by millions and raised over half a million pounds for the NHS.

GALLERY: Joe Wicks' family home is epic - see inside

In an exclusive interview with HELLO! and starring on our Digital Cover to celebrate the release of his new book Feel Good Food, the dad-of-two - who has just announced he's expecting his third child - tells of his dreams to crack America, have four children, and what it was like to meet the Duchess of Cambridge.

Congratulations on your new book, Feel Good Food. Tell us about it…

"My recipes have always been about healthy food, but this book in particular is about understanding how food can help our mental health and make us feel happier and more alive. I love cooking, it's my passion. I started six years ago with my first book Lean in 15, which was very much based around getting lean and changing the way you look. Over the years, my personal narrative and motivation has shifted. Fat loss and body image are always going to be on people's minds, but I've noticed that what keeps people coming back to healthy food and exercise is how it makes them feel. The mental health benefits."

READ: 19 diet books people swear by for weight loss

SEE: 19 intimate photos of celebrity parents with their newborn babies

WATCH: Joe Wicks reveals top 10 foods he always has in his fridge

What influenced this shift in motivation for you?

"In my younger years I wanted to be bigger, stronger, leaner. But now as a parent, I've noticed that when I exercise, I'm a better dad and I'm in a better relationship with Rosie. I like being lean and strong, but the mental health benefits are what gets me up at 6am in the gym doing my workout and eating healthily. I'm not Mr Motivator every day of my life, I don't want to exercise all the time. But I know if I do, I'll feel better."

joe wicks book

Feel Good Food by Joe Wicks, £10, Amazon


Tell us about the recipes in this book.

"What I love is every single recipe is photographed – so it's a visually beautiful book. I've gone through and said what is good for batch cooking, what is good for kids and families, and so on. The main thing I think people like my recipes for is the simplicity. This is all my favourite food in a book."

joe wicks making juice

What does your daily exercise routine look like?

"I do 25 to 30 mins a day, high intensity, to get it done. I've found that since I've become a parent, I don't want to be training at 6 or 7pm at night. I want to train in the mornings so that my evenings are freed up to be with the kids, to do bedtime and bath time."

What do you typically eat in a day?

"For breakfast, I keep it quite simple. My favourite breakfast is porridge with berries, peanut butter, and some crushed coconut or nuts to give it a bit of crunch. Lunch – I usually have a veggie stir fry. I always have those bags of veg in my fridge, which I chuck in [the pan] with some chicken or prawns, then a bit of soy sauce and sweet chilli.

"Dinner is normally a pasta, risotto or a homemade veggie curry, like Thai Green curry. Something I can batch cook and have it for mine and the kids' lunch the next day. Having healthy leftovers in your fridge tees you up for success and I find it stops you reaching for junk food."

READ: 7 best juice cleanses to try this year

joe wicks stretching

Apart from exercise and food, what else do you find helps your mental health on a daily basis?

"Definitely getting out in nature and being with the kids. We go walking with the kids for half an hour, we take them on their scooters or bikes. Also, you'll think I'm mad, but I love ice baths and showers. Every other day, I start the day with an ice bath. It's a physical and emotional challenge, but you feel so good afterwards. It's a new thing I got into last year. Some days I can't bear it and last for 30 seconds, and other days I stay there for ten minutes. It depends what mindset I'm in. Everything feels a little bit easier afterwards."

joe wicks fridge

Do you road-test your recipes on the kids?

"Yeah. A lot of my ideas come from eating out with the kids, or from travelling. They enjoy my black pepper prawn stir fry with noodles, from Feel Good Food. It's not spicy but it's got lots of flavour and veg. I'm getting all this wonderful veg in their diet without them having a whole bowl of it.

"Getting my children involved in the cooking is one of my passions. The greatest thing we can do for our kids is encourage them to exercise and to enjoy food and be adventurous in the kitchen. In the morning, sometimes they'll top their porridge with berries. Or if we're making pasta, I'll let them roll out the pasta on the machine."

joe wicks kids

Copyright: Dan Jones, Feel Good Food

Is it nice to see Indie and Marley's sibling bond grow stronger as they get older?

"They're so close in age – only a year and a half apart – so it's nice that they're like best friends. Indie is very nurturing and affectionate, it's lovely to see. When she comes out of nursery, she runs up to her brother and says: 'I missed you so much Marley, I love you.' I think she's got that from me and Rosie."

You've just announced you and Rosie are expecting again - congratulations! What makes you want a big family?

"Me and Rosie are definitely visualising a big family so we'll have more to come in the future. I am one of three and I just think it's cool having a big family. I love when they're little and learning to walk and talk. I'd hate to think that Marley is my last baby. I definitely think we'll have at least four kids. We'll go for the next one and see how we feel after that. Four kids is a proper mob. We can do lots of fun stuff together. You can't have a cool car when you have four kids though, you've got to have a minibus!"

joe wicks family shot

Copyright: Dan Jones, Feel Good Food

You and your family spent some time in the US at the end of last year… What was that like?

"I had such a busy two years over lockdown, I wanted to slow my life down a little bit, be present and enjoy my family's company. It was a really lovely time, just hanging out. Nothing was pulling me to work. We had a special time together."

Would you ever consider moving to the States full time?

"I have a house in Santa Monica, and I'm happy there for a few months a year, but ultimately I'm only really happy when I'm surrounded by my mum and dad and my brothers. Unless I could take every one of them there, I don't think I'd move [to America] full time. We're close as a family, so we need to be together."

joe wicks kitchen island

You reached a global audience with PE With Joe… Is cracking America in your career plan?

"I'd love to go to America and do a PE With Joe tour in US schools. At the moment, I'm focussed on the UK – but Feel Good Food is being published in April next year in the US, so I will do a little trip over there then."

How has PE With Joe during the pandemic changed you?

"In my head, I don't feel famous, I don't have a celebrity mindset, so whether I've got 1,000 followers or four million, I don't think it's affected my ego or my personality, because it's not really what I'm here for. I'm not trying to be famous. I genuinely just share my life how I'm living it."

joe wicks drink

Your Instagram following has grown a lot over the years. Does that come with extra pressure?

"I never really had an intention of growing my social media audience. I definitely didn't plan on having 100 million people doing my PE With Joe workouts [on YouTube]. That was quite a surprise. It's not a pressure but more like I think I've got this opportunity to keep momentum with this stuff. I don't want it to stop. I have an ability to connect with toddlers and also with grandparents. When I realised I could do that, I just went all in on it. I'll keep doing it, sharing videos, and encouraging people to move. Food and fitness are what I'm good at, and that's what I want to keep sharing."

joe wicks brick wall

You were awarded an MBE in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours list. When will you be able to collect it?

"It was an amazing surprise. I'm officially collecting it at Windsor Castle this month, with my brother Nikki. I could only take one person and the reason I'm taking Nikki is throughout every PE With Joe workout, he was in my ear, doing shoutouts, reading the comments. I'm not sure who's going to give it to me. I'd love it to be the Queen. It wasn't my aim to get the award or recognition, but it's lovely to celebrate the moment… I've got to dress up in a suit and longtail coat haven't I? I'd better rent one!"

This won't be your first time mingling with royalty. You met the Duchess of Cambridge at Wimbledon last summer. How was that?

"She was sitting right in front of me [in the royal box]. It was amazing. She turned around to say hi and congratulations for what I'd done. I was like, 'Wow.' I couldn't believe she even knew my work. It was nice to meet her briefly. I'd love to know if the Cambridge children have done my workouts. Because if they did, that means they might have told their great-grandma about me. That would be nice!"

joe wicks sitting

What is next for you?

"I'm really passionate about live events and workouts and building my community. I want to do more PE With Joe tours, visit more schools, and keep the momentum of that mission. I want to continue that legacy of PE With Joe past the pandemic and long into the future. I want to get at least one person in every school who is really pushing fitness and workouts."

Would you ever be tempted to sign up to a TV show like Strictly Come Dancing or I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!?

"I'm always asked to go on The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer but I'm not passionate about that stuff. I'm not someone who will take the opportunity just because I can. I was away from my kids for one night recently and I really missed them. I wouldn't want to be away from them for weeks. It's not my thing. Unless I could take them with me. Maybe they should do a family version of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! That would be madness."

Feel Good Food by Joe Wicks is published on 17 March with HQ, HarperCollins (£20).

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