(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 also an iOS app called Body Coach that arrived on the App Store on 10 December.
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?
- Three subscription options
- Annual, Quarterly, Monthly
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, though it’s £69.99 until 10 January. Quarterly is £37.99, which works out at nearly £152 per year and monthly is £14.99, which works out at nearly £180.
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-minutes 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. 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 for the other two meals in the day, or the three meals on a rest day.
If the Body Coach app works like the 90-Day Plan, it is likely we will be recommended to eat two Refuel Meals and one General Meal on workout days and three General Meals on rest days for cycle two, rather than the one Refuel Meal and two General Meals on workout days and three General Meals on rest days, on cycle one, though we will let you know when we get there.
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 the first 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.
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 3-litres of water on top of any tea or coffee you have, and eat two snacks a day from your plan.
At the end of each four week cycle, you will get the Check In option appear. This is where we expect you will answer a few questions based on how hungry you were during the first cycle, how you found the workouts, as well as 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 requires 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
- On-demand workouts
- Live workouts
- Planner tool
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. 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. There isn’t a shopping list feature that pulls the ingredients from the recipes into a simple list as yet, but Joe Wicks said it was coming soon.
How is the Body Coach app different to the 90-Day Plan?
- App instead of PDF
- No create your own section for app
- No Swaps Tool for app
Based on our experience so far, one of the main differences between the 90-Day Plan and the Body Coach app is that you don’t get a Create Your Own section within the Body Coach app for when you are making your own meals and not following one of the tailored recipes.
The 90-Day Plan offers specific individual quantities for chicken, pasta, side sauces etc, which makes doing an ad-hoc dinner or lunch but staying within your limits nice and easy. There is also a great Swaps Tool in the 90-Day Plan so you can easily switch chicken for salmon in a recipe for example and know exactly how much to have.
Your plan is sent in PDF format on the 90-Day Plan though, 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 the next upcoming live workout at the top if there is one, with an Add to Calendar button, which will enable you to create a new event to remind you if you give the app access to your calendar.
It then has a section for Your Plan, though this is at the top if there is no live workout planned for that day. If you have used the Planner tool (within the Your Plan tab), you will be able to swipe through the recipes you have chosen for that day and the workout recommended. For the recipes, there’s a button to “Start Cooking” taking you directly to the recipe card, while the workout has “Start Training” that takes you to the workout section where you can choose the warm up video first or just play the workout. 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 Your Plan section is a countdown timer to your next check in date – four weeks from when you signed up. At the moment, it isn’t possible to change this, though Joe Wicks said on his Instagram Stories that it was something that was being worked on. There is also a meal inspiration card that shows you a recipe from Your Plan.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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 we’d like to see a shopping list feature implemented.
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. 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 and settings for the app.
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 clearer and your check in timer reset.
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 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 a shopping list function, the ability to change the check in timer, 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.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle.