Popular fitness coach Joe Wicks receives flak for his ‘menopause workouts’

Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is causing a stir on social media with a controversial exercise programme. Picture: File

Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is causing a stir on social media with a controversial exercise programme. Picture: File

Published May 23, 2024


Joe Wicks has unwittingly sparked a debate on social media after posting a preview of two "menopause workouts" launching on his YouTube channel.

Popularly known as “The Body Coach”, he captioned the Instagram post: “Launching tomorrow at 8 am on my YouTube channel. Two brand new Menopause Strength workouts.”

In the image, one is classified as a full-body, low-impact session and the other, a no-jumping dumbbell workout.

In the introduction to one of the videos on his YouTube channel, Wicks said: “I know that during this time of life, it can be very difficult to get the energy and the motivation to do that high intensity, high impact work.

“It’s not always good for your joints, it might be too challenging and so this is something that’s more accessible, more achievable.”

However, fans were concerned that this messaging perpetuates the message that menopause makes women weak and incapable.

As such, some took it as a “patronising label”, while others took to the comments section to thank him for the workouts and for acknowledging that menopause requires a different approach to exercise.

“That makes me sad – I am menopausal, and I am fed up with it being a special thing. Sorry but a workout doesn’t need to be specific for menopausal women and having this label all the time is undermining us as women with life experience who still have a lot to give,” wrote one.

Another added: “Hmm! I was under the impression that menopausal women need to do more weight and strength training due to the changing density in our bones, etc. However, these workouts, although they state they are strength workouts, are aimed at old women! No jumping, low impact!”

A third wrote: “Come on, @thebodycoach, know your audience. Perimenopause can start early in life but predominantly in the 40s. I want fun, energetic workouts please.”

“Anyone who is saying menopause isn’t a thing and doesn’t need a label is either blessed to not be experiencing any symptoms or hasn’t been through it!

“Because it’s definitely a huge change in women’s lives, and when you wake up one day and the way you eat and exercise no longer does anything for you it’s a scary place to be. You feel like you’ve lost control of your body!” wrote one fan.

Menopause expert Kate Rowe-Ham also took to her own Instagram in response to the debate.

She wrote: “Essentially there is no such thing as a menopause workout, but we must and we do need to do things differently or certainly make adjustments if things are no longer working.

“You see, for many of us navigating through this life stage at the moment, we are a generation of cardio bunnies and the thought of lifting weights is terrifyingly overwhelming.

“We are a carbohydrate-phobic, less is more, small is better, wine solves everything, salad please cohort of women desperately trying to find out what works for us.

“Throw in a huge portion of misinformation from social media into the mix on top of the myriad of symptoms you may experience and it’s no wonder we don’t know what to think.”