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Joe Wicks U-turn: Why fitness guru’s record shocked publishers


Joe has become a mainstay in homes across Britain since the lockdown, his 9am PE lessons for kids increasingly popular. Yet this was not Joe on the cusp of something great; the fitness guru had already published several books, played in Soccer Aid 2019, and even had his own TV show.

In 2016, Joe, also known as The Body Coach, became the UK’s best-selling non-fiction author.

His success was underestimated by his book publishers who never imagined he would sell in excess over a million copies.

Speaking on Radio 4’s The Food Programme, Joe, the lifestyle coach showed the BBC’s Sheila Dillon the award he received for selling a million books, and revealed how shocked his publishers were.

He said: “This is my gold pan for when I sold a million books.

“They said ‘if you sold 70,000 copies we would have been happy, it would have been a win, we would have made our money back’.

“And I sold 700,000 copies in about six, seven months.

“They were chuffed.

“That’s why they signed me to an 8 book deal.”

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He said: “I grew up on a council estate. My mum left school at 15, had my brother at 16, then me at 19, she wasn’t educated, she was always on benefits.

“My dad was a roofer and he was in and out of my life.

“I didn’t have a clue about healthy eating.

“My mum was a kid when she had us, so she didn’t know about nutrition, we’d have pasta and sandwiches every night, and lots of chocolate.”

Determined not to go down the same addiction path as his father, Joe focused on himself and his work.

His father eventually got clean and, last year, ran the London Marathon.

Joe continued: “I am proud of my story and I am so proud of my parents.

“Mum is a wonderful person, she really helps people in the community, and Dad is fine.

“He had been an addict for the majority of his life, but he is clean now, which is important.

“He’s there to support me and we have a great relationship.

“So many of his friends didn’t make it through addiction. I am just very grateful that he did.

“I became a great example of the fact that you don’t have to follow in your parents’ footsteps.

“You don’t have to repeat the addiction cycle, you can change the culture.”

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