'How I learned to stop being cynical and love Joe Wicks online workouts...'

Local gyms now running classes via Zoom to keep everyone fit in lockdown 2.0
'How I learned to stop being cynical and love Joe Wicks online workouts...'

Joe Wicks trying some hurling with principal Seán Lyons after he took part in a workout with pupils during his visit to St Anthony's BNS. Picture: Denis Minihane.

JOE WICKS workouts, exaggerated running times and online sports quizzes.

Nah, not for me. Or so I thought before we entered into lockdown 2.0.

I still haven’t posted any details on social media about racing around Ballincollig at Olympic-level 5k speed. My gentle jogging pace wouldn’t impress anyone. And all invites to Zoom meet-ups will be ignored.

But it turns out this Mr Wicks fella ain’t so bad.

I’d been sceptical about Joe. 

All the stuff about him being ‘Britain’s favourite PE teacher’, his relentlessly upbeat persona, and his seemingly perfect life with former glamour model Rosie Jones... 

That wasn’t enough to be getting a cranky 40-year-old moving.

Homeschooling this time around though includes Joe Wicks’ YouTube PE lessons every week and when this cynic decided to do a few of those sessions with the young fellas, I began to understand the appeal.

Bodyweight exercises in short and snappy 20-minute bursts or the slightly more advanced dumbbell circuits have been such a great way to clear the head.

Wicks has built a powerful brand that includes best-selling books and regular TV appearances, but crucially he has an affable manner that translates well to the YouTube format. There are no complicated moves or military-style barking of orders. Such simplicity and positivity is the key.

For those of us desperately trying to stay in shape against the competition on Netflix shows Bridgerton and Firefly Lane that have our wives swooning, Joe is our man. Even in what’s obviously an uphill struggle against royalty Wicks drives us on.

It’s only when you delve into his background that his achievements really hit home. By the time she was 19, his mother had two kids and his father battled heroin addiction. He’s the definition of a self-made man and deserves the fame and riches he’s worked for.

On RTÉ, a trio of Leeside legends in Anna Geary, Donncha O’Callaghan and Derval O’Rourke are doing their bit on Ireland’s Fittest Family. 

Irelands Fittest Family's Derval O'Rourke, Donncha O'Callaghan, Mairead Ronan, Anna Geary and Davy Fitzgerald.
Irelands Fittest Family's Derval O'Rourke, Donncha O'Callaghan, Mairead Ronan, Anna Geary and Davy Fitzgerald.

Davy Fitzgerald’s show is good fun but promotes a positive message, right down to the challenges viewers are encouraged to do at home during the ads.


In Ballincollig, there is a thriving fitness scene.

It’s led by the likes of Eoin Fehilly, who owns two F1T branches, Luke Dennehy, with gyms in the Collig, Blackpool and Douglas, and Jerry Lynch, who has expanded into Glanmire and Carrigaline. There’s also Josh Tannian and Leon Lynch’s very popular Exceed crew, and more.

Jerry Lynch recently paired up with Tradehouse Central to produce a healthy strand to their takeaway menu. That sort of innovation and local spirit offers hope in trying times when we don’t even have a target date for a return to proper sport.

Eoin Fehilly walked all the way from Ballincollig to Dublin in 2018 to fundraise for Crumlin Children’s Hospital, who looked after his son Eli become ill when less than two months old.

This from a man who went from being 23 stone at the age of 19 to 13 stone, his target weight, by 21. And grew his business from the ground up after returning from Australia.

Mental strength and then some.

Dennehy’s and Exceed are two of the strongest fitness brands on Leeside.

Gyms have gone online now with a combination of classes, personal training and nutritional advice but their re-opening will be appreciated more than ever by those of us who used to escape through their doors a few times a week. I know I can’t wait until the lights go back on at F1T.

Not just for the physical side of fitness but for the chats with Simon Barry, Seán O’Gorman, Emma Kierse and all the rest of the staff. 

The term ‘mental health’ is bandied about too loosely these days but it’s certainty a major aspect of why many of us go to the gym.

Signing up for a class on the laptop or Joe Wicks will have to do until then.

It’s not the same but nothing is in 2021 so far.

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