Brilliant 15-minute meals with workouts from Joe’s new book…
Extracted from Lean in 15: The Shape Plan, including recipes from the book and others exclusive to YOU.
THE SHAPE PLAN
Hello, YOU readers!
It’s me, Joe Wicks, The Body Coach.
I’m back with another instalment of Lean in 15 and this time it’s The Shape Plan. For those who haven’t heard of Lean in 15, here’s a quick recap. I used to be a personal trainer and boot-camp owner in Surrey. Then one day in January 2014, from my little flat in Surbiton, I had an idea. I started to post 15-second videos on Instagram (@thebodycoach) showing people how to cook a lean and healthy meal in under 15 minutes. The #Leanin15 hashtag was born and my little idea has gone on to inspire and help hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to cook, exercise and get lean.
Visit me at thebodycoach.co.uk.
JOE’S HEALTH ADVISORY
Always check with your doctor first before starting a new exercise regime or eating plan if you have any health concerns. With Lean in 15, you get to choose the weights you lift and the type of cardio exercises you perform based on your own fitness. As you get stronger and make more progress, you can increase the weight and intensity. I also encourage you to develop awareness of your energy intake and output, and to adjust meal sizes depending on your activity levels and also on your progress. Go to thebodycoach.co.uk to learn more.
I’ve used the power of social media and my love of exercise and nutrition to share my message with the world, and now my mission continues with The Shape Plan, the second book in the Lean in 15 series. The principles are taken from my 90-Day Shift, Shape and Sustain programme, which has changed the lives of so many people worldwide. I’ve included a few transformations and testimonials in the book, but if you want to see more and get inspired, please visit thebodycoach.co.uk. You can begin to live the Lean-in-15 lifestyle with The Shape Plan (and don’t worry – you don’t need to start with the first book because it is always the right time to get lean!).
LOSE FAT, BUILD MUSCLE
The main focus in The Shape Plan is on shaping the body by building lean muscle with resistance training. The sessions are challenging, as we combine weight training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but trust me, the results are worth it. And you don’t need an expensive gym membership or lots of costly equipment to get going. By increasing your lean muscle mass, you will increase your metabolic rate. This means you can eat more of the food you love, burn more body fat and stay lean all year round.
ZERO CALORIES, NO SCALES
With Lean in 15, the days of going hungry and calorie-counting are over. The days of standing on the sad step (the scales) and measuring your success by a number are gone. I’m here to show you that there is another way. The low-cal diet industry has got it all wrong. The science is old. All those fat-loss ‘diet’ products are the reason people are struggling to lose body fat. Sorry for the little rant, but it really does upset me! The simple truth is this: nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need to deprive yourself of tasty foods and eat like a rabbit to burn fat. And you really don’t need to feel helpless and unconfident in your body because you’ve tried and failed on every diet. Lean in 15 is different because it’s not a diet. It’s a flexible approach that will fit into your schedule and become a lifestyle. Diets have an end date but this does not, which is why it works.
IS IT GOING TO BE EASY?
No, of course it’s not. Not at first, at least. Changing habits is really challenging. It’s going to take meal-prep time and effort in the kitchen. It’s going to take real dedication and consistency with your training, but when you see the results and grow in confidence and fitness every week it will be worth every single bit of grub, sweat and skipped beer.
The hardest part is actually starting, but once you do you’ll love it, and momentum will carry you all the way to lean-land. I really hope you find the info here useful and enjoy the recipes I’ve worked hard to create. You are in control of the way you look and feel, so go and make yourself a lean winner!
HOW WILL I BE IN TRAINING?
With The Shape Plan I’m introducing a new form of training I like to call Volume Resistance HIIT, where you combine two rounds of high-intensity cardio with two rounds of weight training. This routine not only allows you to build muscle, lose fat and get strong, but also rapidly improves your cardio-fitness levels. It’s something all my online clients aim to do four days per week. It can be done at home with minimal equipment, or at the gym if you prefer. It’s also suitable for people of all fitness levels as you get to choose the weights you lift and the type of cardio exercises you perform based on your own fitness.
HOW OFTEN WILL I TRAIN?
You will aim to do four sessions per week with three full rest days. There are four workouts in the plan (all detailed with pictures in the book), which focus on a different muscle group each time:
2 Chest and back
Each session is to be performed only once a week. You can spread your workouts across your week to suit you, but I recommend doing no more than two training days in a row before taking a rest day. These rest days are essential for muscle growth and recovery and will enhance your results, so enjoy them. Be sure to do all four workouts during the week to get a total body workout. And you can train at any point in the day – whatever works for you. Read on for a step-by-step intro to Volume Resistance HIIT and for more about my special video demo for YOU.
HOW WILL I BE EATING?
The recipes in the book are broken down into three different groups:
1 Reduced-carbohydrate meals
2 Carbohydrate-rich meals
3 Snacks and treats
As the training intensity builds, so too do the energy demands placed on your body, and this means that instead of having just one carbohydrate meal (as I recommend people do in book one, The Shift Plan), you now get to smash three carb meals on a training day. Wooo wooo! Hello carbs…
ON A TRAINING DAY
You consume three carbohydrate-rich meals and two snacks. See the recipe pages that follow for carb-rich recipe suggestions and snack ideas.
ON A REST DAY
You consume three reduced-carbohydrate meals and two snacks. Turn to the recipes for reduced-carb inspiration.
DOES TIMING MATTER?
You can train at any time of the day and eat your meals and snacks when it suits you. Meal frequency actually has no effect on metabolism, so as long as you consume all your meals it doesn’t matter if you eat them close together or spread out. Please ignore that myth about not being able to eat carbs in the evening. If you train late, your body still needs to be refuelled, so always consume a carb-rich meal post-workout.
OUTSIDE THE BOX
The Shape Plan is totally flexible – you can make any of the recipes in the book for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I want you to think outside the cereal box, so if you feel like a steak burrito or a burger for breakfast, go for it! I include a few treats as well, such as the muffins on page 48, but these should be eaten only once or twice a week and only after a workout.
WHY EAT THIS WAY?
On a training day you will be working out at high intensity and your body will be mainly using carbs for energy, so it’s important that you fuel it on these days and top up your glycogen levels. Remember, glycogen is the stored form of carbohydrates in your body and you do not want to run out if you are training hard. On rest days, you reduce your carb intake as your body will not be working at high intensity. During low-intensity activity such as walking, sitting at your desk and even sleeping, your body utilises mainly fats for fuel. This is the rationale behind fuelling your body with more carbs on a training day and more fats on a rest day and ensures your body is making use of the correct fuel at the right time. It works for me and my clients, and will do for you, too.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE EATING?
I really want you to understand from the start that your body is unique. Everyone has different energy demands and metabolic rates. We also respond differently to certain food groups and ways of eating, so it’s really important that you listen to your body. There is no one-size-fits-all, no right or wrong when it comes to your nutrition and I want you to challenge yourself to try things out and establish how your body runs best and on what fuel. This is the reason I create tailored online meal plans and put all my clients through an individual ‘bio feedback’ process. While I can’t do that with a book, I can give you the template and the basics to create your own successful regime. Trust your instincts and take notes on your progress. If you’re feeling sluggish on the days you eat three carb meals, you might want to try having one carb meal a day (as recommended in book one). If the recipes feel like too much food or not enough, listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
KNOWING YOUR BODY A BIT MORE
My advice is to start with big portions and then see how your body responds. If your body fat isn’t melting after four weeks, then you can gradually reduce your energy intake to promote fat metabolism. The key is not to go hungry. Listen to your body and make changes if you hit a plateau. Remember, the aim here is to be in a position where your body is still burning fat while you eat as much food as possible. This makes staying lean enjoyable and sustainable.
CAN I BOOZE AND LOSE?
One of the first things I get my clients to consider when trying to get lean and healthy is to increase their water intake and maintain a good level of hydration. A reasonable target would be between two and four litres of water per day (if you really struggle here, try adding fresh lemon or lime for a twist of flavour; avoid drinks that are high in sugar). Clients inevitably ask, ‘Can I still drink alcohol on your plan?’ My answer is always the same: ‘Yes, sure you can, but the less you booze, the leaner you will get.’ That said, I don’t want you to feel like you need to cut alcohol out of your life completely, because that’s unrealistic and unnecessary. I certainly don’t. Parties, weddings, birthdays and work events will always get in your way, so just find a balance and do what it takes to earn the body you want.
Here are some of my favourite foods and why I love them so much…
Eggs – the home of healthy fats and good any time of day.
Coconut oil – a natural saturated fat, perfect for cooking.
Coconut milk – ideal for whipping up a curry in a hurry
Avocado – the green goddess packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Feta cheese – because it tastes unreal on almost anything at any time.
Sweet potatoes – because I love making mash, fries and fritters
Blueberries – I love them on my pancakes or oats and they are full of antioxidants
Chillies – dried or fresh, they bring spice to your life.
Spinach – Popeye used it to get strong and so do
Midget trees – broccoli is packed with important vitamins, and the trees are fun to talk to. Carrots with dips are great for snacking.
Reduced-carb recipes for rest days
CHUNKY MONKEY SMOOTHIE
This cheeky monkey is perfect for peanut-butter lovers on the move. It almost tastes like a Snickers bar, too… Ooooh, guilty!
½ banana, peeled and roughly chopped ½ tbsp cacao powder 1½ tbsp peanut butter
250ml almond milk 1 scoop (30g) chocolate protein powder 2 tsp sesame seed
1 Chuck all the ingredients into a blender and whiz up until you reach a roughly smooth drink.
GRILLED SALMON WITH AVOCADO, FETA AND PUMPKIN SEEDS
Wow, talk about healthy fats… This one not only looks and tastes great but is also rammed with goodness.
drizzle of olive oil
1 x 240g salmon fillet, skin on
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 avocado, peeled, de-stoned and roughly chopped
¼ red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp chopped coriander
40g feta, drained
handful of watercress, to serve
juice of 1 lime, to serve (optional)
1 Preheat your grill to maximum. Drizzle a little olive oil over the skin side of the salmon, place on the grill pan or a baking tray and slide under the hot grill. Cook for 6 minutes on the skin side, before carefully flipping and grilling for a further 4 minutes. Turn the grill off and leave the salmon to keep warm until you’re ready to eat.
2 While the salmon is cooking, tip the pumpkin seeds into a dry frying pan and toast over a high heat for about 2 minutes, or until they start turning brown and popping. Season with a little salt and leave in the pan.
3 Using the back of a fork, break up the avocado in a bowl. Add the onion, sesame oil and coriander. Mix the whole lot together until the ingredients are well combined.
4 Slide your salmon on to a plate, removing the skin as you go. Pile up the guacamole, slice and scatter over the feta, and finish with the toasted pumpkin seeds, a pile of watercress and a squeeze of lime juice, if using.
MORE REDUCED-CARB STARTS
Also try: my salmon and feta frittata; my Indian omelette; or my greens, eggs and ham – all in the book.
Lamb cutlets with harissa yoghurt and midget trees
3 lamb cutlets
salt and pepper
½ tbsp coconut oil
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
5 midget trees (tender-stem broccoli), halved lengthways
50g green beans, trimmed
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 tsp harissa paste
15g flaked almonds, toasted
1 Preheat your grill to maximum. Season the lamb cutlets with salt and pepper, place on a grill pan or baking tray and slide under the grill. Cook for 6 minutes on each side. When cooked through, turn off the grill but leave the cutlets under it to keep warm until you’re ready to eat.
2 While the lamb is cooking, melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and add the spring onions and garlic. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Chuck in the midget trees and green beans and stir-fry for a further minute. Pour in 1 tablespoon of water, allowing it to steam up and evaporate, to help the veg cook through. Drop in the spinach and toss it together with the other greens to wilt it in the residual heat. Pile up all the greens on a plate.
3 Quickly mix together the Greek yoghurt and harissa until well combined.
4 Top the greens with the lamb cutlets, drizzle over the spiced yoghurt and scatter with the toasted almonds.
Bashed chicken with walnut and watercress pesto
1 x 240g skinless chicken breast fillet
knob of butter
½ clove garlic large handful of watercress, plus a little extra to serve
large handful of basil leaves
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
a few sun-dried tomatoes, to serve (optional)
1 Lay a large piece of clingfilm over a chopping board, place the chicken breast on top, then lay a second piece of clingfilm over the chicken. Using a meat mallet, saucepan, rolling pin or any other blunt instrument, bash the chicken until it is about 1.5cm thick all over.
2 Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and, when bubbling, place the chicken in it and fry for about 4 minutes on each side, or until you are sure it is thoroughly cooked – check by cutting into the thickest part to make sure the meat is white all the way through, with no raw pink bits left.
3 Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients, apart from the extra watercress and the sun-dried tomatoes, in a food processor along with a splash of warm water. Blitz until you have a smooth pesto.
4 When the chicken is ready, remove it from the pan, shaking off the excess butter, and lay on a plate. Season with a little salt and pepper, pile the extra watercress on top, scatter over a few sun-dried tomatoes, if using, and then drizzle over the walnut pesto.
MORE REDUCED-CARB MEAT EATS
Also try: my pork chop, feta and beetroot; my chipotle lamb with tomatoes and spinach; or my curry chicken with lettuce boats – all in the book.
Thai salmon and coconut curry
½ tbsp coconut oil
2 star anise
¼ aubergine (about 100g), cut into 2cm chunks
3 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
5 baby sweetcorn
3 tbsp Thai green curry paste
200ml coconut milk
1 x 240g skinless salmon fillet, cut into 3cm chunks
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
small handful of coriander, leaves only, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the star anise and leave for 30 seconds before throwing in the aubergine. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes until the aubergine is lightly coloured.
2 Add the spring onions and baby sweetcorn and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Spoon in the curry paste and continue stir-frying for 30 seconds.
3 Crank up the heat to maximum and pour in the coconut milk. Bring up to the boil and simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced a little.
4 Carefully drop in the salmon pieces, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through.
5 Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the fish sauce, sesame oil and coriander.
6 Serve up your yummy curry with a good squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Steak with creamy cavolo nero and mushrooms
½ tbsp coconut oil
1 x 240g sirloin steak, trimmed of visible fat
small knob of butter
50g cavolo nero, leaves only
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
3 chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
salt and pepper
60ml double cream
15g blue cheese (I like to use Roquefort)
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan over a high heat. When blisteringly hot, carefully lay in the steak and fry for 4 minutes on each side (for medium-rare). When cooked to your liking, remove the steak to a plate to rest until you’re ready to eat.
2 Meanwhile, melt the butter in a second frying pan over a medium to high heat. When bubbling, add the cavolo nero and stir-fry for 1 minute or until it is just starting to wilt.
3 Add the spring onions and mushrooms along with a little salt and pepper, and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
4 Pour in about 3 tablespoons of water, which will steam up and evaporate. When the water has all but disappeared, pour in the double cream and bring up to the boil.
5 Crumble in the blue cheese, reduce the heat to medium and stir until the cheese is fully incorporated into the sauce.
6 Stir the parsley through the creamy mushroom sauce and pour over the steak to serve.
MORE REDUCED-CARB FISH DISHES
Also try: my grilled sea bass with minted peas; my tomato, chilli and cumin cod; or my roast spiced cauliflower with salmon – all in the book.
SNACKS AND TREATS – TWO A DAY
Roasted midget trees with tahini
Everybody else is banging on about roasting kale and parsnips – well, I’m roasting midget trees. This makes such a great little snack. Don’t forget to shout, ‘Oooh, midget trees!’ as you throw them in the oven.
1 tbsp coconut oil
200g midget trees (tenderstem broccoli), any bigger stalks sliced in half lengthways
1 red chilli, finely sliced – remove the seeds if you don’t like it hot
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp full-fat Greek yoghurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp pomegranate seeds (optional)
1 Preheat your oven to 220C (fan 200C, gas 7). Dollop the coconut oil on to a roasting tray, then scatter over the midget trees along with the chilli and a good pinch of salt. Roast the trees in the oven for 14 minutes, turning halfway through.
2 While the trees are roasting, mix together the tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of warm water until you have a smooth sauce.
3 When the midget trees have had their time, remove them from the oven and either leave to cool a little or tuck straight in. I like to plate them up – sometimes I get creative and make them really look like little trees! – pour over the sauce and then top with pomegranate seeds.
TIP Tahini is a protein-rich paste made from ground sesame seeds – mix 1 tablespoon of the stuff with a splash of water, 1 chopped garlic clove and a squeeze of lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.
MORE SAVOURY SNACKING
Suggested snacks include: a boiled egg; 85g beef jerky; 30g nuts; any nibble from the book, such as my walnut whip hummus; best guacamole; or almond butter baba ghanoush. All good with raw veg batons.
Carrot and apple muffins
These are a great little snack to eat with a cup of tea. I mean, who doesn’t love a muffin? They’ll take 40 minutes to make so why not invite some friends over and enjoy them together?
2 medium carrots, grated (130g)
2 medium eating apples, peeled and grated (170g)
100g ground almonds
1½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
3 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
125g cream cheese
2 tsp honey
1 Preheat your oven to 180C (fan 160C, gas 4) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with small muffin cases.
2 Place all the ingredients apart from 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, the cream cheese and the honey in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
3 Divide the mixture equally among the muffin cases and slide into the oven. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes, by which time they will be cooked through and a little golden on the top. Leave to cool.
4 While the muffins are cooling, whip together the remaining vanilla extract, cream cheese and honey, adding a splash of water to slacken if needed.
5 When the muffins are totally cool, spread the cream cheese icing on top.
Peanut butter and protein cookies
Did someone say cookies? Guilteeeee. I turned into a cookie monster when I made these for the first time and smashed the lot in about 20 minutes, so be careful!
60g smooth peanut butter
1 scoop (30g) chocolate protein powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
30g ground almonds
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 Preheat your oven to 180C (fan 160C, gas mark 4) and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
2 Put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat them with a wooden spoon until smooth. Dollop out mounded tablespoons of the mixture (about the size and shape of a Ferrero Rocher) on to the baking tray, leaving a gap of about 5cm between the mounds.
3 Bake the cookies for 5 minutes, then remove from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.
I’m not going to pretend these are a miracle snack that you can scoff every day and burn fat. They’re a treat, so make a batch and spread them out over a few days or share them with your friends at work.
8 pitted dates, Medjool if possible 100g ground almonds 2 tbsp flaxseeds 2 tbsp chia seeds 2 tbsp sunflower seeds 2 tbsp cacao nibs 4 tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 Bring a kettle of water to the boil and then pour enough water over the dates to fully immerse them. Leave to sit and soften for 5 minutes.
2 When the dates have had their 5-minute bath, thoroughly drain them in a sieve and blitz in a small food processor with 2 tablespoons of warm water (use the soaking water if you like). Tip the puréed dates into a bowl and pour in the remaining ingredients, apart from the coconut.
3 Mix the ingredients until they become a stiff gloop. Using wet hands, roll the mixture into 12 golf ball-sized rounds.
4 Finally, roll the balls in the desiccated coconut to coat them.
5 These balls of energy will keep in an airtight container lined with baking parchment in a cool, dark place for up to 4 days.
Here’s a lovely little smoothie packed with healthy fats to give you an energy boost.
½ avocado, de-stoned and peeled
175ml coconut water
15g chia seeds
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.
SWEET SNACK ALERT!
My plan includes two healthy snacks a day. Good sweet ideas include 75g blueberries or an apple. Remember that treats such as the muffins, cookies or energy balls on these pages are for once or twice a week only, after a workout.
CARB-RICH RECIPES FOR TRAINING DAYS
Pear and cranberry overnight oats
Cranberries aren’t just for Christmas; you can buy them frozen all year round. I’ve chosen hazelnuts and flaxseeds for my toppings, but go with whatever nuts and seeds you have available.
75g frozen cranberries, plus a few extra to serve (optional)
1 pear, cored and chopped into rough pieces – skin and all
175ml almond milk
1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp honey
1 scoop (30g) vanilla protein powder
100g rolled oats
flaxseeds, to serve
chopped toasted hazelnuts, to serve
1 Chuck the cranberries, pear, almond milk, Greek yoghurt, honey and protein powder into a small blender and blitz until smooth.
2 Pour the mixture over the oats and leave to soak in an airtight container in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
3 Just before eating, scatter with the flaxseeds, toasted hazelnuts and a few extra cranberries, if using, to serve.
MORE CARB-RICH STARTS
Also try: my beetroot and raspberry smoothie; my Malteser geezer smoothie; or my winners’ protein pancakes 2.0 – all in the book.
Prawn and chilli tagliatelle
A classic combination, sweet prawns and hot chillies are a match made in heaven. Cooking the vegetables in the same pan as the pasta saves time and washing up – win, win. As you can see, I’ve doubled the recipe in the picture
75g dried tagliatelle
3 midget trees (tender-stem broccoli), any bigger stalks sliced in half lengthways
½ tbsp coconut oil
3 spring onions, finely sliced
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, chopped
240g raw king prawns, peeled
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. When boiling, add the tagliatelle and cook for 12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions. About 2 minutes before the cooking time is up, drop the midget trees into the same pan and continue to cook. Drain the pasta and trees together in a colander.
2 While the pasta is cooking, melt the coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium-to-high heat. Add the spring onions, chilli flakes, tomatoes and garlic and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the tomatoes are starting to soften.
3 Tumble in the prawns and stir-fry the whole lot together for 2 minutes, or until the prawns have changed to a deep pink, which indicates they are fully cooked.
4 When you’re happy the prawns are cooked, turn off the heat and tip the pasta and midget trees into the frying pan. Toss the whole lot together, adding a good pinch of salt and pepper. Pile the pasta high on your plate, squeeze over some lemon juice and chow down.
MORE CARB FISH -RICH DISHES
Also try: my pesto penne with grilled tuna; my easy peasy paella; or my smoked haddock and bacon chowder – all in the book.
Sweet and sour pork with rice
This is perfect for those days when you’re craving a Chinese takeaway. Instead of ordering a greasy one in, give this a go. It’s going to taste much better and keep you lean and healthy, too! #Win.
½ tbsp coconut oil
½ red onion, sliced into thin wedges
½ red pepper, de-seeded and finely sliced
50g mange tout
250g pork fillet, sliced into 1cm strips
250g pre-cooked rice
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp chopped coriander, to serve (optional)
1 Melt the coconut oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. Add the onion, pepper and mange tout and stir-fry for 1 minute.
2 Throw in the pork strips and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be softening and the pork virtually cooked. Check by cutting into one of the larger pieces of meat to make sure there are no raw pink bits left.
3 Ping your rice in the microwave, following the packet instructions – you’re almost ready to serve.
4 Reduce the heat under the wok or frying pan a little and sprinkle in the sugar. Leave it to melt in with the rest of the ingredients for about 30 seconds. Pour in the vinegar and let it bubble up, stirring to combine. Turn off the heat and stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil.
5 Pile up the hot rice on your plate, top with the sweet and sour pork and finish with a sprinkling of chopped coriander, if using.
Joe’s big beefy meatballs
Oh! They’re back again – my big juicy meatballs. But this time with my favourite rigatoni pasta. Turkey, beef or pork meatballs will all work well with this sauce, so feel free to mix it up.
200g dried rigatoni
½ tbsp coconut oil
½ red onion, finely chopped
250g ready-made beef meatballs
1 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
50g frozen peas
handful of baby spinach leaves
a few basil leaves, to serve (optional)
1 Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Drop in the rigatoni and cook according to the packet instructions.
2 Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium-to-high heat. Add the onion and fry, stirring regularly, for 1 minute before tumbling in the meatballs. Fry the ingredients together, stirring every now and then, for about 2 minutes, by which time the meatballs should be starting to colour.
3 Pour in the vinegar and the chopped tomatoes, along with about 75ml of water, and sprinkle in the sugar. Place a lid on the pan (if you don’t have a lid then cover with a large plate), bring the whole lot to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, by which time the meatballs should be cooked through.
4 About 2 minutes before the pasta is ready, drop the frozen peas into the saucepan. Bring the water back up to the boil and then drain in a colander. Leave in the colander until you’re ready to serve.
5 Check that the meatballs are cooked by cutting into one to make sure there are no raw pink bits left, then stir through the spinach, allowing it to wilt in the residual heat. Chuck the drained pasta and peas into the meatball sauce, mix everything together and serve with a scattering of basil leaves, if using.
MORE CARB MEAT-RICH EATS
Also try: my fully loaded chicken pitta; my hero Korean pork-fried rice; or my Aussie-bum burger – all in the book.
Chicken kebabs with quinoa salad
Here’s a little tip for this one. Soak your wooden skewers in cold water for 10 minutes before you load up the chicken and stick them under the grill. This stops the wood from burning and you having a fire on your hands! If you don’t have skewers, don’t worry – just lay your chicken strips out on a baking tray.
1 x 240g skinless chicken breast fillet, sliced into long 1cm strips
2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper
250g pre-cooked quinoa
1 jarred red pepper, drained and cut into thin strips
¼ cucumber, de-seeded and sliced into thick half-moons
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
small handful of mint leaves
small handful of rocket leaves
juice of ½ lime lime wedges, to serve
1 Preheat your grill to maximum and lay four wooden skewers (if using metal skewers, skip this step) in a bowl of water to soak briefly.
2 Place the chicken strips in a bowl and sprinkle over the paprika, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove the skewers from the water and thread the chicken on to them, ensuring you don’t squash it up too tightly. Lay the skewered chicken on a baking tray and slide under the grill. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning the skewers a couple of times. Check that the chicken is fully cooked by cutting into one of the thickest pieces to make sure the meat is white all the way through, with no raw pink bits left.
3 While the chicken is cooking, tip the quinoa into a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients, along with another good pinch of salt and pepper. Give the whole lot a thorough mix.
4 Serve up the quinoa salad topped with the grilled chicken kebabs and a couple of lime wedges.
Peppered steak with sweet potato chips
Steak and chips is such a classic post-workout meal and it never gets old. This peppered one with sweet potato fries is just what you need to get your body building lean muscle.
1 large sweet potato
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 x 250g sirloin steak, trimmed of visible fat salt
2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs watercress side salad, to serve
juice of 1 lemon, to serve
1 Prick the potato in a few places with a fork and plonk it in your microwave. Zap at 900w for 4 minutes, let it rest for 1 minute then zap for a further 4 minutes.
2 While the sweet potato is in the microwave, smash up the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar until they are still reasonably big, but there are no whole peppercorns left. Melt half the coconut oil in a frying pan over a high heat.
3 Tip the peppercorns on to a plate and coat the steak – they should stick to the meat. Turn the steak until it is fully covered in the peppercorns. Season the steak with a little salt and gently lay it in the hot oil. Fry the steak for 3½ minutes on each side before removing to a plate and leaving to rest.
4 Turn off the heat under the empty steak pan and add the dried breadcrumbs. Stir for 1 minute, or until they are crisp. Tip the now delicious crumbs on top of the resting steak.
5 Take the sweet potato and slice it in half lengthways, then slice each half into 3 wedges to make 6 chunky chips.
6 Heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan over a high heat and, when melted and hot, carefully slide the sweet potato wedges in and fry for 2-3 minutes, turning a couple of times to brown them evenly. Drain the fried chips on a piece of clean kitchen roll.
7 Serve up the pretty steak topped with breadcrumbs alongside the sweet potato chips and a side salad of watercress dressed with lemon juice. Perfection.
INTRODUCING VOLUME RESISTANCE HIIT
OUR SPECIAL VIDEO WITH JOE
See Joe explaining Volume Resistance HIIT in our exclusive workout taster session below…
ABOUT THE TRAINING
Basically I’ve taken the traditional German Volume Training (GVT) method with weights (extremely effective for building lean muscle) and squashed it between two rounds of HIIT, which is extremely effective for burning fat. Now this is hard work, but it’s over quickly and you feel like an absolute winner afterwards.
GVT sounds scary but it’s really not. It involves choosing an exercise (for example, a bench press) and picking a weight that allows you to complete 10 sets consisting of 10 repetitions per set with a 1-minute rest between each set. Don’t be put off by the thought of lifting weights – it’s not going to make you look bulky like some 1980s bodybuilder. No, no, no – that’s not going to happen.
HIIT involves short bursts of intense maximum effort followed by a resting recovery period. You do it on any cardio machine (such as a treadmill, cross trainer, exercise bike or rowing machine), or with a body-weight exercise (such as running on the spot, burpees, star jumps, tuck jumps or mountain climbers).
HOW DO I DO IT?
You can, of course, train at the gym, but if you decide to do it from home, all you will need to invest in is a workout bench and a good set of dumbbells. And that’s it! You can get to work on building the body you’ve always wanted. To help you plan, here’s how my ideal training week looks:
Monday Chest and back
One session looks as follows:
HIIT round 1
Pick any HIIT exercise and do 6 sets of 30 seconds with a 45-second rest between each set. Rest for 2 minutes.
GVT round 1
Do 10 sets of 10 reps of an exercise for the muscle group you’re working on (100 reps in total), keeping the weight the same. Always keep a strict rest period of 60 seconds between each set.
HIIT round 2
Perform another HIIT exercise for round 2: 6 sets of 30 seconds with a 45-second rest between each set. Rest for 2 minutes.
GVT round 2
Finally, on to GVT round 2, with a different exercise for the same muscle group. Do 10 sets of 10 reps, keeping the weight the same, with a 60-second rest between each set. At the end of round 2, stretch and cool down.
WARM UP, COOL DOWN, RECOVERY
Always carry out an exercise specific warm-up before starting your session. For example, if you are going to work your legs, I recommend doing some lunges and slow squats before picking up any weights. This is really important to prevent injuries and ensure you get the most out of your workout, so please don’t skip it! To help avoid muscle soreness, start the programme with lighter weights to prime your body for the exercises, then each week you can slightly increase them. After you finish a workout, be sure to do some stretching and mobility work. This could include yoga or pilates exercises to ensure your joints stay mobile and your muscles remain flexible. It will keep your muscles nice and lean, improve your posture and reduce the risk of injury.
MY POST-WORKOUT PROTEIN SHAKE
I always have a protein shake with honey immediately after I train – it’s great for muscle repair. Just throw 1 scoop (30g) vanilla protein powder, 15g honey, 100g baby spinach leaves and a handful of ice cubes into a blender with a good splash of water and blitz until smooth.
TAKE PROGRESS SELFIES
If you know me, you’ll know I’m not a fan of the sad step (bathroom scales), because they only measure weight. They cannot measure changes in body composition, fitness or confidence so my advice is to ditch them and take progress pics instead. The mirror can lie but photos show the real truth of visual progress. I suggest taking front and side-on pics at the end of each month. This will show you real changes over time and motivate you to keep pushing on. Visit thebodycoach.co.uk for more inspiration.
NEXT WEEK IN PART TWO – MORE FAB 15-MINUTE RECIPES FROM JOE
GET JOE’S NEW BOOK FOR A SPECIAL PRICE
Our pull-out is adapted from Lean in 15: The Shape Plan by Joe Wicks, to be published on 16 June by Bluebird, price £16.99. As well as Joe’s introduction and detailed step-by-step workouts, chapters explain the basics of Lean in 15 nutrition, why the programme works and how to get started. There’s a meal planner to inspire you, followed by recipe sections packed with reduced-carb and carb-rich meals, plus snacks and treats. To order a copy for £11.89 (a 30 per cent discount) until 26 June, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.
Cover and food photographs Maja Smend
Fitness and author photos Glen Burrows
Food styling Bianca Nice
Food prop styling Lydia Brun and Robert Merret