Joe Wicks said being made an MBE is like nothing he could have imagined growing up and a “dream come true”.
The Body Coach started out as a fitness trainer when, sometimes, nobody would attend his bootcamps.
This year the 35-year-old claimed a Guinness World Record after one of his online fitness classes was watched by nearly a million people.
The fitness guru is being made an MBE for helping children keep active and mentally fit with his online PE lessons, which began during lockdown, and for his charity efforts.
His workouts raised £580,000 for the NHS.
Wicks told the PA news agency: “I can’t quite believe it … To receive this is just incredible.
“I’m so proud that I’ve done something which helps so many people.”
He thanked those who joined the workouts and made it a “special moment in my life”.
“To all the children, the parents, the dinner ladies, the school teachers, everybody who took part in any one of my workouts, thank you for being there,” he said.
“To get this … It’s something I couldn’t even imagine, I couldn’t even believe.
“I haven’t even told my mum and dad yet, so it’s a surprise for them and I hope they are going to be proud of me.”
And he added: “My childhood and how I grew up, if you met me as a little boy you’d have thought, he’s not going to go anywhere, he’s not going to do anything great.
“But I’ve turned it around and I really am proud I’ve become this person who’s helping people.”
Congratulations to @thebodycoach! 🙌
955,185 viewers tuned in to watch #PEwithJoe on 24th March, setting a new record for 'Most viewers for a fitness workout live stream on YouTube'!
— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) April 14, 2020
Wicks has previously told how he got into exercise and fitness because of his father’s addiction to heroin, a man who was “in and out of my life”.
Now he has told PA: “I’m so determined to keep the conversation going around mental health and exercise and bringing your children into that environment where you exercise together.”
Wicks said of the possibility of going to Buckingham Palace: “My mum and dad would take me on a trip to London and I remember standing outside the gates looking in and always wondering what it’s really like inside.
“It would be amazing if I got the chance to go there and visit the Queen.
“I’m not sure what’s happening, obviously with the current situation (Covid-19), but it would be a dream come true.”
He said: “I haven’t celebrated yet because I’ve been waiting for it to come out.
“I’ll probably have a nice gin and tonic with my wife and (sit with our) kids in our kitchen, maybe have a nice sit-down meal together and celebrate and talk about it.”
Wicks, who struggled at first to get his business off the ground before uploading motivational clips on social media, said that PE With Joe is his “proudest achievement”.
But “the MBE is the icing on the cake”, said the father-of-two, whose young children and wife Rosie also appeared in his workouts.
“The impact I made on families and children’s mental health is what I’ll remember forever and I’m sure I’ll be talking about it in years to come.”
Wicks, who is also known for his espousal of healthy eating and his recipes, said that when PE With Joe finished “I had a really low point.
“I really felt quite flat.
“I had so much purpose and had this structured thing in my life that I was doing every day.
“I really loved it and loved being there for people.
“So when that finished I felt like, ‘What am I doing?
“I felt a bit confused, a bit lost.
“I want to get back on YouTube and keep doing the workouts, do some more live workouts as well.”
He said of his workouts: “I would have been there if there was one person or a million people.
“I loved it, when it finished I really did miss it.
“If you want me back, let me know!
“And if we go into another (national) lockdown I promise you I’ll be there every morning at 9am!”
He added: “Joe Wicks MBE, I just can’t believe it!
“It’s like a dream come true!”