Joe Wicks receives honorary doctorate for pandemic fitness initiative

During the pandemic Wicks livestreamed workouts for young people and their families to keep fit during lockdown.

Fitness coach and social media personality Joe Wicks has received an honorary doctorate from St Mary’s University “in recognition of his contributions to the wellbeing of people across the country and charity”.

Wicks, 36, also known as The Body Coach, found fame after posting fitness and food videos on social media.

During the Covid-19 pandemic he started PE With Joe, in which he would livestream workout videos to his YouTube channel to encourage young people and their families to keep fit during lockdown.

In a post on his Instagram, Wicks revealed he had received an honorary doctorate from St Mary’s University in Twickenham, London, where he also previously studied sports science as an undergraduate student.

He wrote: “Today I received the first Honorary Doctorate from @yourstmarys University.

“It was awarded for my contribution towards the health and fitness of the nation during the pandemic and for my charity work.

“I think the video at the end shows just how chuffed I am to be given this award. Thank you St Mary’s.”

The post included a selection of images of Wicks at the ceremony, as well as a video of him beaming as he walked down from the stage.

Speaking of the award, Wicks said: “I feel so proud to have received an honorary doctorate from St Mary’s University.

“I loved every year of my time there studying sports science. It was the first time I felt excited to pursue a career in something I was passionate about.

“I’ve maintained that love and passion for fitness and continue to do all I can to inspire others to live a healthier and happier life.

“Thank you to all the teachers and lecturers from St Mary’s who helped me get where I am today.”

Wicks shared the news with his 4.5 million Instagram followers (Sarah McKenna-Ayres/St Mary’s University/PA)

A number of Wicks’ famous friends left messages of congratulations and well-wishes on the post, including Gordon Ramsay, who wrote: “Congrats my friend,” followed by a clapping hands emoji and a red heart.

Earlier this year Wicks was made an MBE for services to fitness as well as charity in the UK and abroad, having helped raise £2 million for Children in Need with a 24-hour fitness challenge.

At the time he said the medal belonged equally to him and his brother Nikki Wicks, who helped him build his online fitness empire behind the scenes by communicating with him through an earpiece during workouts.

In 2020 Wicks was also awarded a Guinness World Record after more than 950,000 viewers tuned in to his livestream in March.