LEP Fitness


Joe Wicks vs James Smith – Who’s the best?


It’s the biggest battle in the fitness industry right now…

Joe Wicks vs James Smith

You’ve got the cheeky cockney Joe Wicks – the handsome goody two shoes, with long wavy hair and catchphrases such ‘midget trees’ and ‘bosh.’ 

Then you’ve got…

James Smith on Joe Wicks

James Smith – the rebel, ‘say it as it is’ fitness guru who’s not afraid to swear, use the ‘C’ word and call out any of the dodgy fitness gurus out there selling BS!

Let the battle begin…

Both Joe Wicks and James Smith are at war. They both have different opinions and have a vast social media following:


  • Joe Wicks = 3.8 million followers 
  • James Smith = 636k followers 


  • Joe Wicks = 4.1 million likes 
  • James Smith = 507k likes  


  • Joe Wicks = 413k followers 
  • James Smith = 11.5k followers 

It’s clear to see that Joe Wicks has the biggest following out of the two, but does that mean he’s the man to be leading our nations health?

Let’s delve into the debate…

What’s all the fuss about? 

Joe Wicks has a ‘humongous’ following and pops up everywhere on social media. I don’t know about you… but not a day goes by without seeing his curly locks pop up on my Insta feed? 

Joe Wick’s philosophy… 

Joe Wicks Is Being Hated On By Personal Trainers Right Now But Why

Joe is all about HIIT workouts, HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, which involves short bouts of intensive training.

Joe advocates exercises such as burpees, mountain climbers, bunny hops, and all sorts of crazy moves to get the blood pumping and calories burning. 

Alongside his HIIT training methods where workouts typically last 20-30 minutes…

Joe also believes in chucking ‘the naughty step’ aka ‘weighing scales’ in the bin. Instead of tracking scale weight and calories, Joe prefers to go on how you look and feel. 

In terms of nutrition? 

Joe advocates healthy meals that are quick and easy to prepare and taste delicious. 

He seems to bring out a new cookbook every week!

He’s doing pretty damn well off it though, according to this article Joe Wicks is worth a reported 14.5 million – not bad for jumping up and down on the spot and calling broccoli ‘midget trees’? 

James Smith’s philosophy…

James Smith fitness

James Smith is the complete opposite of Joe Wicks. He’s straight-talking, swears a lot, is a bit of a lad… AND backs up his methods with science. 

Joe Wicks is the fluffy side of exercise and nutrition, whereas James Smith takes the no BS approach… 

He does this by dispelling dieting fads and myths often endorsed by celebrities trying to make a quick buck.

The celebrity industry is swamped full of people looking to make a quick buck and cash in on their large Instagram following, for example:

James Smith calls out all of this nonsense with blunt, straight-to-the-point videos and explains the science behind what works and what doesn’t…

What makes James Smith special is his ability to use his cheeky chappy/controversial personality to deliver high-quality fitness tips. 

Whereas most fitness professionals bore the socks of everyday members of the public talking about training volume, periodization and all of this boring stuff…

James puts it in a way that’s relatable to the everyday person. His information is concise and full of humour, making his content stick. This explains why he’s got such a large following.

The battle between them…

Both Joe Wicks and James Smith have loyal fan bases who are willing to chuck rocks (not literally) at the opposing side.

It’s entertaining to watch, but equally scary how far some people are willing to go to support their team!

In his podcast on Joe Wicks, James Smith talks about what he thinks of Joe. 

While he’s polite, it’s evident that James Smith doesn’t like Joe Wicks! Lol! Not one bit! 

Throughout the podcast, he makes sly digs about Joes methods. It’s well worth 30 minutes of your time. It will make you chuckle!

In a nutshell, James Smith says that…

HIIT training – while useful, is not ideal for the everyday overweight/unfit person. He says that HIIT training places lots of stress on the body and that doing box jumps is a sure way to damage knees and create injury. 

Calories In vs Calories Out – the biggest gripe James has with Joe is that ‘calories don’t matter’. James firmly believes that counting calories is a must and can’t be ignored…

James argues that…just like managing monthly finances, you need to know where you stand. 

James is spot on, and calories are what impact weight loss the most i.e. if you consume too many, you gain weight. If you create a calorie deficit… you lose weight. You need to know how many calories you consume each day because if you don’t, you’re guessing! Read more about the Science of Weight Loss here.

Joes In It For The Money – Joe is worth 14.5 million and has been accused of cashing in. 

Look at what he’s done over the last couple of years: multiple recipe books, online meal plans, and PE with Joe Wicks the popular fitness classes which he did at the beginning of lockdown…

While Joe did these classes for free, you could argue that…he’s ultimately benefitted financially from the increased awareness and millions of extra followers he’s acquired during this time.

Joe Wicks vs James Smith – Who’s the best? 

I like Joe Wicks and respect what he’s done…

That said, I have to agree with James Smith… Joe’s methods are fundamentally flawed and are, in many ways misleading and in some cases…dangerous. 

Joes methods work for lots of people – but not for everyone (in fact I would say the majority of people) 

You may go on Joes Instagram and see a new transformation each week, but what you don’t see… 

Are 90% of people who’ve failed to get results — or the people who’ve gotten injured!

I know many people who have successfully followed Joes 90-day body challenge (my auntie is one!) and have gotten fantastic results. But I know more people who’ve had a negative experience. 

I have to side with James Smith, and I believe James is a far better role model to follow, although I appreciate he’s not everyone’s cup of tea! 

James is clued up about what works and what doesn’t. He doesn’t sugarcoat or use fluffy ideas to make a quick buck. 

I’m not anti Joe Wicks but as a personal trainer myself…

If you were to ask me, “Nick, who’s advice would you rather follow…Joe Wicks or James Smith?”

I would, without hesitation, say James Smith. 

No questions asked. 

What do you think about Joe Wicks and James Smith? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Thanks for reading,

Nick Screeton – Founder of LEP Fitness 

Want to receive more articles from Nick? Sign up to the newsletter below…