(Pocket-lint) - Joe Wicks - also known as the Body Coach - is probably best known for his Lean in 15 books, or possibly more recently his PE with Joe workouts.
The south Londoner also does a 90-day Plan and Graduate Plan tailored to each individual however - with recipes and workouts delivered in a PDF format - and there is an iOS app called Body Coach that arrived on the App Store on 10 December 2020.
We have completed the 90-day Plan and the Graduate Plan, but this feature is all about the Body Coach app. This is everything you need to know, including how much it costs, what you get for your money, how it works and whether it's worth signing up.
How much is the Body Coach app?
- 7-day free trial
- Three subscription options
- Annual, Quarterly, Monthly
The Body Coach app offers a 7-day free trial across all plans, with unlimited access to the app. Following the trial, there are three subscription options to choose from: Annual, Quarterly and Monthly. As with most app subscriptions, you save money by paying the yearly upfront cost rather than monthly, and it's quite a lot too - half in fact.
Annual is £89.99. Quarterly is £37.99, which works out at nearly £152 per year and monthly is £14.99, which works out at nearly £180. Each subscription will renew automaticallly unless cancelled 24 hours before the next payment date.
How does the Body Coach app work?
- Recipes tailored to you
- Choose plan level
- Choose kind of food
Like the 90-Day Plan, the Body Coach app offers a number of recipes individually tailored to you, based on your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which is calculated from the information you enter after you subscribe.
This information includes your height, weight, whether you have any pre-existing health conditions, what your lifestyle is in terms of how much you move on a typical day, as well as things like whether you are breastfeeding or whether you have been on a calorie controlled diet in the past year.
You also choose what level plan you want - Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced - and what kind of food you would like with four options available: Mixed Meals (meat, fish and veggie dishes), Pescatarian Meals (fish and veggie), Veggie (only veggie dishes), Vegan (plant-based dishes only). You can change either at any time so if you want to go Vegan half way through, it's no problem, but if you change the intensity of the plan, it goes back to cycle one.
After you enter the information, the app creates your plan. Your plan is split into cycles and each cycle is four weeks long. The cycles all come with seven workouts (five 25-35-minute ones and two shorter ones), warm up and cool down videos and a number of recipes, with new recipes and workouts for each cycle.
All the recipes offer portion sizes suited to you, as we mentioned, and the first cycle has 60 recipes - 27 Refuel Meals, 33 General Meals - as well as 12 Snacks. Cycle two has 40 new recipes - 18 Refuel Refuel Meals and 22 General Meals, along with six extra snacks. Cycle three has another 40 recipes - 18 Refuel Meals and 22 General Meals again, as well as six snacks. Refuel meals are designed to be eaten after a workout and include carbohydrates, while the General Meals are high in fats and low in carbs and designed to be eaten on rest days, as well as for the other meals in the day, depending on which cycle you're on.
Like the 90-Day Plan, it is recommended you eat one Refuel Meal after your workout and General Meals for the other two main meals in your day on cycle one, as well as two snacks. On cycle two, the recommendation changes to two Refuel Meals (one after a workout) and one General Meal on workout days, as well as two snacks, with three General Meals on rest days.
For cycle three, our recommendation changed back to one Refuel Meal and two General meals with two snacks on training days and three General meals and two snacks on rest days, but we suspect this may vary depending on your progress and your responses at the end of Cycle Two check in.
What is expected of you in the Body Coach app?
- Starting measurements
- Workout 4/5 times per week
You're encouraged to enter your starting measurements and photos to help you see progress as you move through the plan and keep you motivated.
These measurements are your weight, chest, hips, waist, right arm, left arm, right leg and left leg. The app explains where to measure to help you measure in the same place at the end of each cycle.
The photos are front, back and side, and while you don't have to upload photos if you don't want to, based on our experience, we would highly recommend you do. It's sometimes very hard to see the incremental changes on yourself, but we were very pleased with the results from the start of the 90-Day Plan to the end of the 90-Day Plan when we looked back in pictures, as well as the weeks between the beginning of cycle one and cycle three using the app.
The Body Coach app, like the 90-Day Plan expects you to workout four to five times a week. You are also recommended to drink around 3-litres (varies depending on person) of water on top of any tea or coffee you have, and eat two snacks a day from your plan, as we mentioned.
At the end of each four week cycle, you will get the Check In option appear. When you Check In, you'll be asked to tick boxes that apply to you in terms of changes you have noticed. These include things like "I feel happier", "I'm more productive", "My skin is clearer" and "I've got more energy", among others. You tick all that apply. You'll also be asked to enter your measurements and upload new photos. After you have completed the Check In you will get new recipes and new workouts.
Bear in mind that the first cycle doesn't require any equipment, but cycle two and three require a set of dumbbells. The Body Coach app doesn't specify a weight, but recommends something challenging but not too heavy.
What do you get with the Body Coach app?
- Tailored diet plan
- Create Your Own
- On-demand workouts
- Live workouts
- Planner tool
- Shopping List
In a nutshell, the Body Coach app offers an individually tailored diet plan, five workouts and two shorter workouts every four weeks that can be accessed at anytime to do whenever suits you.
There is also a live workout section with upcoming workouts that enable you to train with Joe Wicks in real time. January had bootcamp workouts, while February live workouts were based on a core challenge. Since then, March, April and May have weekend sessions with a Saturday Sweat and Sunday Stretch every week. The live workouts are then available in the On Demand section of the Live tab in the app so you always have a variety of workouts to do.
Additionally, the Body Coach app has a Planner tool that enables you to choose what days you want to workout and what meals you want to eat to make it easier to plan ahead and prepare yourself. When you fill this in, you can also use the Shopping List feature that pulls the ingredients from the recipes into a simple list so you know what you need from the shop.
There is also a Create Your Own section, allowing you to build ad-hoc meals using your tailored specific individual quantities for chicken, pasta, side sauces etc for when you don't want to use one of the recipes available.
How is the Body Coach app different to the 90-Day Plan?
- App instead of PDF
- No Swaps Tool for app
There are only a couple of differences between the 90-Day Plan and the Body Coach app now that a Create Your Own section is offered on the app and there's a shopping list on the app. The 90-Day Plan has a great Swaps Tool, which the Body Coach app doesn't offer yet. The Swaps Tool enables you to switch chicken for salmon in a recipe for example and know exactly how much to have, though the 90-Day Plan doesn't have a shopping list function.
The only other difference is that your plan is sent in PDF format on the 90-Day Plan, which is nowhere near as easy to use as the Body Coach app and the workouts are accessed via a link to the private YouTube channel.
Put it this way, we have all our tailored recipes from the 90-Day Plan and Graduate Plan and we still signed up for the yearly subscription of the Body Coach app, even though some of the recipes are the same.
How do you use the Body Coach app?
- Five tabs
- New features coming
There are five tabs in the Body Coach app: Today, Your Plan, Live, Library, Profile.
The Today tab is like a summary page of your day. It has Meal Inspiration at the top, or a section for Your Plan with your next planned meal or workout if you've used the Planner tool (within the Your Plan tab). For Meal Inspiration, a "Start Cooking" button will appear that will take you directly to that recipe. For the Your Plan tab, a "Start Cooking" or "Start Training" button will bring you to the recipe or workout you have planned.
Unfortantely, the app doesn't have a recognition section for when you've completed a workout or a place to tell it you've done one that day if you do a different workout to the plan.
Below the Meal Inspiration or Your Plan section is a countdown for your next check-in - four weeks from when you signed up or from when you started the next cycle. You can restart this in the Profile section if you want to, putting you back to the beginning of the cycle you were on.
Under the check-in section will be a section for Upcoming Live Workouts and a "Add to Calendar" button.
The Your Plan section if you haven't used the Planner tool, or the Meal Inspiration section if you have will then sit under the upcoming workouts section.
Your Plan tab
The Your Plan tab is the main tab really. At the top of the Your Plan tab are three additional tabs: Train, Eat and Planner.
Within the Train section is what is expected of you in the cycle, the equipment required and your workouts, with a brief summary of what the workouts entail, for example the number of moves, rounds and work to rest ratio. You'll also find the warm up and cool down videos and the quick workouts. Tapping on each workout will give you a more detailed overview of what is involved.
Within the Eat section is where you'll find how you should be eating in the cycle, for example two general meals, one refuel meal and two snacks on training days, as well as the Refuel Meal tab, General Meal tab and the Snacks tab. You'll also find the Create Your Own section here.
Clicking on the three different recipe tabs will then bring you to all of those recipes with each recipe card offering a picture, time to make it and there will also be a label if it is "Good on the go", "Family Friendly", "Good for batch cooking" or a "Longer recipe". The recipes are also conveniently arranged in time to make it order, with the quickest ones at the top.
Tapping on an individual recipe cards then offers the number of servings at the top with an ingredients tab and method tab below. There's also an Alternative Ingredients drop down at the bottom for some recipes, but this isn't as extensive as the Swaps Tool from the 90-Day Plan, instead telling you where you can use low fat over full fat and a different milk for example, rather than you can swap this amount of chicken for this amount of salmon.
Below the recipe tabs is the Create Your Own section, allowing you to combine different ingredients to make your own recipes whilst sticking to your tailored quantities. Within the Create Your Own section is a Create a Refuel Meal section and a Create a General Meal section. The ingredients you choose depend on the meal you're creating so under the Create a Refuel Meal section, you get Carbohydrate options, while in the Create a General Meal section Carbs are replaced with an Additional Fats section.
Within each section, you'll find your specific quantity, such as 200g of chicken breast for protein, or 20g of halloumi for additional fats for example. When you create a General Meal, you pick a cooking fat, protein source and additional fat as a minimum, while a Refuel Meal is a cooking fat, protein source and carbohydrate as a minimum. There are also side sauce quantities, vegetables and extras like herbs that you can choose to add too however.
The Planner tab allows you to decide what days you will workout and when, with options of First Thing (before breakfast), Morning (before lunch), Lunch (before dinner) or Evening (after dinner). You can then choose the recipes you want to eat that day, though while it recommends the workout to do, the app only reminds you of the eating recommendations rather than limit the choice to Refuel Meals only for the meal after your workout and General Meals the other times for example.
Tapping the arrows on at the top of your week allows you to plan for the whole cycle if you wish but you can do it by week too. Once saved, your plan appears under the Planner section. You can edit it if you want to, but otherwise tapping on each card takes you straight to the recipe or workout. This is where the shopping list feature can also be found.
Once you have created your plan for the week - which you can't copy to another week yet unfortunately - you can tap on the Shopping List button. From here, you can choose how many servings of each recipe you want to add and then tap on "Export Shopping List" at the bottom. This allows you to export a list to WhatsApp, Messages, Notes, Email, etc, and it breaks the list down into Fruit/Veg/Salad, Herbs/Spices, Dairy/Eggs/Chilled, Meat/Poultry, Cupboard, Tins/Cans and Bakery, giving you the quanities of the ingredients for all the recipes you have planned for that week.
The Live tab has two tabs at the top: Upcoming and On-Demand. It's quite self-explanatory. The Upcoming tab has the next Live workout with Joe Wicks, as well as the ones coming soon so you can see what date and time they are happening and add them to your calendar using the small blue icon.
The On Demand tab has live workouts with Joe that have already happened, as well as some extra workouts, such as a 30-minute Full Body equipment free workout.
The Library tab has two extra tabs: Train and Eat. Under each tab is a separate section for the cycle you are on - such as Intermediate. Train is where you will find workouts from previous cycles to allow you to go back and do any workout you like while you are subscribed to the app. Eat does the same but for recipes, building a catalogue of the recipes tailored to you.
Finally, the Profile tab is where you will find your plan selections, your progress including measurements and photos, your lifestyle and health choices, settings for the app and as we mentioned above, the ability to "Restart".
When you have completed a cycle and uploaded new pictures, you'll find your "Earliest" and "Latest" photos side by side under the Transformation Photos section. Stats are also presented side by side in the Stats section, helping you easily see how your body has changed. You can edit your stats by tapping on the Stats section and then tapping on the date of the stats you want to edit.
Within the plan selections, it is here that you can choose the food you want to eat, such as mixed or vegan. You can also choose beginner, intermediate or advanced, though if you change this, the plan will return to cycle one, your planner cleared and your check in timer reset.
What features are missing on the Body Coach app?
The Body Coach app is great but there are a few features missing that we would like to see appear in the future.
- Ability to 'favourite' recipes
- Ability to copy a weekly plan in Planner
- Swaps Tool for recipes
- Integration with Apple Watch and other fitness trackers
- Music service integration
- Place to logging workouts
- Ability to add a partner's plan
What devices does the Body Coach app work on?
At the moment, the Body Coach app is only available for iOS and iPadOS devices. Android is said to be coming in summer of 2021.
Where is the Body Coach app available?
- US coming in 2021
The Body Coach app is available in the UK, Ireland and Europe. It is said to be coming to the US and Australia in 2021 but no date or month has been confirmed.
Conclusion: Should you sign up?
So far, we are enjoying the Body Coach app. We saw some great results from the 90-Day Plan and Graduate Plan we did in 2020, as well the first, second and third cycle of the app, so we probably have some extra motivation to stick with the Body Coach app as we know it works for us.
If you do the yearly subscription, we think you get quite a lot for your money, as long as you are someone who sticks to things, though the check in idea does mean you have some accountability which is good for those who fall off the wagon easily.
The monthly subscription seems like a lot, but it's worth remembering you not only get the workouts but the tailored meal plan. Tailored being the keyword there. With apps like FIIT, the monthly cost is more and while the workouts are excellent, there is no food or diet recommendations, let alone an individual plan.
The Body Coach recipes are absolutely delicious from what we have tried so far and while there are a few things we'd like to see on the Body Coach app - such as integration with Apple Watch or other fitness trackers, some form of music service integration and a place to log workouts and what you ate - we are big fans of this app so far.
We will update this feature as we get through the next cycles and more features are added.