Karl Henry’s Healthy Living Handbook
by Karl Henry (Penguin Ireland, €14.99)
January may be in the rear-view mirror, but that doesn’t mean the world has forgotten the aphorism, ‘new year, new me’. Thankfully Karl Henry, one of Ireland’s most famous personal trainers, has a new book on healthy living that does not fall into the fad-based diet and healthy living books we often see this time of year.
His book is based on the idea that getting healthy is not a short-term pursuit done solely for the benefit of looking good. Rather it is a life-long commitment to taking care of one’s mind and body, so as to have the energy to power through the work day, spend time with loved ones, and even have time left over to relax.
Being healthy takes planning and organisation, and for those averse to such activities, Karl has provided plenty of blank schedule and diary pages for the user to track everything from their fitness routine to their fizzy drink intake.
He also provides plenty of recipe ideas that will prevent food boredom or the mad weeknight dash to the takeaway. Though his recipes are basic and will never land him any gourmet awards, they are healthy, easy and cheap to prepare. Many of his recipes are also vegetarian and can be adapted for vegan or gluten-free diets, making them great options no matter what dietary restrictions might be involved.
To help his readers better understand the building blocks of their diet and why it’s important to include things like whole grains and lean protein, Karl explains the function of each basic nutrient. Perhaps most importantly, he encourages carbohydrate consumption, something often demonised in healthy living and diet books.
Karl also explains the importance of a well-rounded fitness routine for a healthy life. He emphasises that for a well-rounded routine, it’s essential to combine strength exercises with cardiovascular and stretching workouts. In an effort to avoid overwhelming his readers, he provides ideas and routines for each kind of workout that you can mix and match to create your own full-body routine.
What I liked best about Karl’s approach to fitness is that it’s realistic. He’s not asking his readers to spend hours each day working out; indeed, he even says that it’s essential to find an exercise routine that still leaves time for family and social life. Incorporating more exercise into your life can be as simple as doing some abdominal exercises in front of the TV or walking to work. It doesn’t have to be drastic to see results.
Karl also acknowledges that sometimes life gets in the way of even the best-laid plans, and he provides advice for what to do to stay on track while on holiday, travelling for work – he even gives advice on how to incorporate the reader’s and fitness routine into family life and teach your children how to live healthfully.
Karl Henry’s manageable, down-to-earth approach to diet and fitness sets his book apart from its counterparts. His instructions are easy to maintain no matter how busy your life and lack the intimidating rigidity so often seen in the wellness world.
Buy this book, and you might just be able to finally tackle that determination to get fit and stay fit.