Wednesday 18 July 2018

Karl Henry: Finding balance is key to long-term health

Now that you've completed his 10-step plan, you can continue your healthy journey. Our fitness guru on how to spend your time, and money, wisely

Karl Henry: there are no quick fixes to a healthy life. Photo: Mark Nixon
Karl Henry: there are no quick fixes to a healthy life. Photo: Mark Nixon
Karl Henry

Karl Henry

Once again, a big congratulations to all of you who have just completed my 10-step plan to better health. (If you missed it, you can find all the steps on

But the journey continues and this week I want you to think about how you will continue to live a healthy life. You will probably want to branch out and try more health and fitness-related activities, and if so, well done to you. I support you in that, and want to give you a few pointers to make sure you make good decisions.

Health has become a big business and the industry is full of extremes. Each year there are new miracle products, diets and workouts that promise to deliver quick results.

But know this, there are no quick fixes. Some may give results in the short term, but long term, nothing works but small, sustainable changes to your lifestyle.

If you do want to try something new, below is a checklist that you should tick when considering getting involved.

Do the results promised seem extraordinary and unbelievable?

If it seems too good to be true, then it generally is. Results take time and effort and if it seems too easy to do or the results are just too good to be believed, then I would keep looking for another way to get healthy.

Remember, people want a quick fix and want to believe that there is a quick fix solution, but as of yet, it doesn't exist

Is the approach overly one-sided?

Health involves variety and balance and if the approach of a trainer or a method is too narrow and claims to be 'the only way', then I would steer clear. There are many paths to health and fitness.

Are you eliminating food groups totally from the diet?

Our diets should be varied, eating from all the food groups and giving our bodies everything they need. Food should be as unprocessed as possible, organic ideally and contain lots of colour.

Anything that replaces meals with shakes, bars or sachets is just not healthy or sensible. Stop wasting your money as chances are its going to give you a very short-term benefit.

Is it something you can maintain in the long term?

No matter what you choose, one of the key components to a good decision is choosing something that you can maintain in the long term. If you can't maintain it in the long term then it is really going to be a waste of money.

If that way of eating or exercising is only going to last four weeks then why spend the money at the beginning? The sense of failure and frustration when it doesn't work out is not good for you in so many different ways.

Are you being sold lots of supplements?

For real health, I believe we don't need lots of supplements. A good diet should contain all of the minerals and vitamins that the average person needs.

Sometimes a good multivitamin is great or specific supplements for joints etc are required, but if you are being sold lots of own-branded products then I would keep going. Aim to get your body's requirements from organic food.

How hard are you working in the workouts?

Are you fit to keel over after your sessions? Are you getting sick after the sessions or is it nicely challenging? Different people like different types of workouts and the most important thing is finding workouts that you enjoy and where you feel a sense of wellbeing afterwards. If you don't enjoy it, you won't keep it up.

Are there lots of celebrities endorsing it?

Celebrities get paid to promote products or get given products to promote via social media etc. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are healthy or good or even that they work.

Look beyond the advertising and look at the label, use your knowledge to make the right choice. Look at the sugar content and the amounts of ingredients.

Are you being asked to sell the products to your friends?

Pyramid schemes are always coming and going, with aggressive marketing plans and hard sales tactics. You will often be asked to sell stock to friends and make money for yourself.

Trust me, these are not products that are healthy, they are just a money making scheme for all involved. Remember, balance is the key component to your long-term health.

Until next week!

Irish Independent

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