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Can someone please cancel Joe Wicks?

March 24, 2020 - 7:00am

Can someone please cancel Joe Wicks? I don’t know, find some puppy he pulled the tail off a couple of decades ago or something and make him a social pariah. I’m in pain.

I know we’re supposed to think he’s our national hero for promising to do daily PE classes for children shut out of their schools. But did you try it? That wasn’t PE.

My memories of PE are very clear. It involves standing in a queue for 5 minutes; then climbing a ladder, kicking a ball, or walking along a balance beam; and then walking around to the back of the queue to wait for your next turn. Occasionally, PE means playing a team game where you wait in a fielding position to catch the ball, or wait in a queue to hit the ball.

PE does not mean leaping about the room for a High Impact Interval Training routine for a solid half an hour, to the point where you are causing physical damage to your rug with the dripping sweat.

At one point, Joe paused to say: “This is intense. I’m a fit guy. I’m 35 years old and I’m working up a sweat here.”

“Thanks Joe,” wailed all the out-of-shape, tired parents struggling to keep up. “We noticed.”

Of course, you might say: just let the children do it. You can watch. But that’s not how my children see it. This is a family activity at our new home school, and chubby old Mum (who’s never felt so chubby or so old) has to play along.

Honestly, all these celebrities and TV channels are getting the lockdown vibe wrong. They’re so aspirational. Joe thinks now’s the moment when we’ll all get fit in our living rooms. Jamie Oliver is on Channel 4 every day telling us now’s the moment to polish up our cooking skills. The BBC has doubled down on its educational programming. Amazon has released free audio books of everything from Peter Rabbit to Atlas Shrugged.

I don’t want to live my best self right now. I want to set the bar as low as it goes. There are only a few spare minutes left in the day between working and looking after my children. I want to devote them, wholeheartedly, to wallowing. And it’s hard to wallow when all your muscles hurt.

Please Joe, just once: sit and have a cup of tea and let us all join in with that instead?

Polly Mackenzie is Director of Demos, a leading cross-party think tank. She served as Director of Policy to the Deputy Prime Minister from 2010-2015.


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Julian Fletcher
Julian Fletcher
4 years ago

Polly get with the programme. I’m a 54 year old guy who thought the Joe Wicks PE was fantastic. Sure I’m hurting like hell today, but its got me moving again and reminded me how hard getting fit is to make sure once I’m fit again not to regress. Lift those knees!

4 years ago

“Hold tight New York!” He’s adorable. And I love the fact he gets out of breath too!