DIGITAL STORIES

FUTURE OR FAD? -JOE WICKS

The fallout of Coronavirus has been devastating to loved ones, events and economies all around the globe but there are a number of sectors which have thrived. While the bonus’ for pharmaceutical companies and delivery services are plain to see, individuals offering home workout alternatives have also seen their profiles boosted massively as those looking to maintain or improve their physique tune in to social media to get their workout fix.

Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach can certainly be considered the champion of lockdown Britain, gaining 1.2 million Instagram followers in the week following Boris Johnson’s initial announcement on 23rd March and becoming a household name in the subsequent months. As gyms around the country were padlocked shut and dumbbells gathered dust in weight racks around the country, the population turned to the internet for their fitness needs. The Body Coach’s YouTube channel has seen a 200% increase in traffic since March, largely due to the incredibly popular ‘P.E. with Joe’ which gave parents the much-relished opportunity to stick their children in front of a screen without the usual worry of it numbing their brains. As Wicks’ website suggests, ‘Exercise is an amazing tool to help is feel happier, more energised, and more optimistic’, a glorious trio of benefits in a quarantined household.



Images from the official @thebodycoach Instagram



The huge success of Joe Wicks has coincided with the growth of other online fitness influencers and personal trainers but is this craze simply a stop-gap while we eagerly await the reopening of gyms or is there a viable long-term future for social media exercise regimes? The luminescent spandex and leg warmers of the 1980s aerobics videos have been replaced with Instagram lives and YouTube tutorials and I for one am predicting that what we are experiencing at the moment will be a similarly fleeting fad. While many of the personalities involved in this trend are attempting to convey their generosity and sincere desire to provide a free service to the nation at this time, it is clear that the majority will have their own wallets in mind. The Metro quoted Joe Wicks’ lockdown earnings as being ‘an approximate of up to £10 million’, serving as evidence of the lucrative opportunity that Coronavirus has offered those who have been able to capitalise on it. What is more beneficial than that eye-watering sum is the support and following that Wicks and others alike have gathered through their heightened exposure. Once gyms reopen and life returns to normality what will stick around is the trust that The Body Coach has accumulated and as a result the demand for his recipe books and £97 workout plan will be through the roof. The same is true of many in the business who have used social media to connect with their customers throughout lockdown, a relationship which they hope will be a lucrative one in the coming months.



Images from the official @thebodycoach Instagram


Don’t get me wrong, I do not blame anyone for finding a silver lining in the very dark cloud we find ourselves under but the boom of the Instagram and YouTube live video is a trend that is only filling the void created by lockdown Britain. From Barry’s Bootcamp to yoga studio Fly LDN, fitness institutions around the UK are struggling to cope with the empty buildings which are usually filled with sweating men and women running, pushing and jumping their way to a healthier body and it is only right that we support them in any way that we can, just don’t expect the grinning instructor on your phone to stick around once Boris gives the go ahead for those doors to open back up.




By Finlay Gibson