Sunday 18 February 2018

Euro 2016: Karl Henry on how not to get fat while watching the match

If you're glued to the Euros, chances are you're also glued to the sofa, slugging beer and scoffing Taytos. But there are healthier ways to be an armchair sports fan, as our fitness expert explains

Karl Henry
Karl Henry
Be a part of Karl's army: Enjoy the matches during the Euros, but do it sensibly, says Karl.

Karl Henry

Come on you boys in green! That's the first week of the Euros down, and although some of the wind has gone out of our sails since Saturday's defeat to Belgium, there's still massive interest in the ongoing sporting spectacle in France.

There's been an air of sporting excitement building around the country that I haven't seen the likes of for a long long time. I was getting flashbacks to Italia 90, in terms of the tension, the excitement, the painted houses and cars, everywhere you look and every you go, it's all about the European Championships.

I love when competitions are on. You can watch any match and any team and each game is almost like a cup final, meaning you could be onto a cracking game - remember the famous Japan rugby match in the last world cup, a supposed dead-end match turned into probably the best game of rugby I have ever seen? I welled up at the end when they won!

There is one aspect of the Euros, and actually pretty much all sport championships, that isn't quite so good for us, and that's what surrounds us when we watch the games. Watch them at home and chances are there will be nachos, dips, alcohol and chocolate.

Head for the pub and it's alcohol, pub grub, crisps and salty nuts. Everywhere you look sporting competitions can be a waistline nightmare waiting to happen.

How's your waistline after the first week? I only ask as I have seen three of my clients increasing quite quickly - all big football fans.

So to help you get through the rest of the games without doing too much more damage, I thought I would bring you my match-watching survival guide. Don't worry, even if you have had a week of celebrations or commiserations last week, you can still rescue and improve that bloated waistline, improve how you feel and get your energy levels back up so that you can support to your heart's content for the remaining weeks.

Don't forget the water

We need water everyday. We become dehydrated when drinking. So it makes sense to increase water intake if you are drinking more. Aim to slip a sneaky pint of water in-between the rounds, have at least 500ml before bed and when you get up the next morning again another 500ml.

Eat a good meal before the games

Empty stomachs and football nerves don't sit well together - you will just eat those nerves away. Regardless of where you watch the game, eat a healthy meal before it starts. You will be far less likely to eat the bad foods that way.

Healthy dips

You will be surprised, a lot of the time we actually don't taste the food we eat when watching something intently. It's just an automatic reaction. Try this theory out by swapping your next dips/crisps combination for some cut celery/carrots/cucumber and peppers with a natural yoghurt/chives/lemon juice dip or hummus.

Once you have something to snack on in front of you, you will be a happy camper.

Aim for quality

It would be silly to suggest no alcohol during the matches, but what I would recommend is aiming to choose the best quality of what ever you are drinking.

With such a strong craft alcohol market, I believe that they are better quality that the mainstream producers, I'm not a big drinker, but that's certainly my experience.


Movement is a key component to getting through the matches as healthily as possible. It may well be the last thing you want to do, I know, but you will feel better after, no matter what it is, walking, going to the gym, cycling, basically anything will do for any period of time. Just don't sit on your rear end for the next few weeks.

Don't skip breakfast

The morning after the night before can bring many things, but it will certainly bring a yearning for high-sugar, low-quality foods, and lots of them. What ever your normal breakfast staple is, stick to it and make sure you actually get to eat it - skip it at your peril. So don that green jersey, get ready to scream the house down, and let's hope Martin, Roy and the lads can pull off something spectacular tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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