Joe Wicks turned down Boris Johnson's offer to lead NHS public health campaign
Wicks had been lined up by Johnson to be the face of an NHS public health initiative.
Wicks, who was awarded an MBE in 2022 and is known as The Body Coach, said he met Mr Johnson in early 2022 but thought the campaign lacked substance and was just a “PR thing”.
The 37-year-old said: “I was invited to 10 Downing Street, and I met Boris Johnson. He wanted me to be the face of an NHS campaign. But it didn’t feel right for me.
“I just didn’t feel passionate about it. It felt like a PR thing. You know – just shake hands and have a photo with him. It didn’t feel genuine. It didn’t feel like it would have much impact. I want to do things in my time and energy that mean something. It didn’t feel authentic. I just want to stick to what I’m good at, which is fitness content, and recipes that get people cooking.”
Wicks – who said he turned down up to £10m from a supermarket chain to promote ready meals because he “wouldn’t want my nan eating them” – also criticised the growing popularity of anti-obesity drugs.
“I keep seeing all these articles about companies investing in this obesity drug,” he said. “I can’t comment on the drugs, but I don’t think it helps the psychological issues of binge eating or over-eating because of poor mental health. It isn’t a cure.
“Ultimately, I think it’s a decision for businesses to get more revenue. You have to address those lifestyle issues and the mental barriers to nutrition and exercise. I would much rather get people moving and exercising and cooking a meal. I have a long-term vision for what I’m doing. I’ve got a vision for a legacy.
“I actually want to be a trusted brand that people go to for years to come, so that when you or your mum or dad feel unwell or unhappy or unhealthy, they come and do The Body Coach plan.”