Family Fitness with Karl Henry

Kids or no kids, the central unit at home is crucial to ensuring the rest of your life can become as healthy as possible.

Now is a fantastic time to establish what I feel is the component to real health, the healthy family unit. Kids or no kids, the central unit at home is crucial to ensuring the rest of your life can become as healthy as possible. Not only does it help the fitness levels of the family unit it also helps the family relationship and dynamics.

Couples and families that are active will have better relationships, better moods and less arguments. When approached to improve family health I like to work with the family as a unit, discussing the plan of action with the parents and getting the parents to implement this in to the family life. I see this as the future when it comes to defeating childhood obesity rates, each family taking responsibility for itself and working together as a team to get healthier, maybe lose some weight and leave a legacy of health when it comes to their children in their adult years. If you can create a healthy environment and give your children healthy habits the chances are they will continue this on in to later life.

In this post I want to give you some of the tools that I use with my family clients so that you too can use these with your family.

1 – Work as a team


I feel that it’s so important to work as a unit to improve the health of your family. If your children need to lose weight then lecturing them will not be effective as they will rebel against you, instead a family approach where everyone is involved is often better, as you are now leading by example, showing them that you are getting involved too.

2 – Let each member choose an activity


This is often one of the key points that makes all the difference to any programme with families. We all like different sports and we live in a country that has an incredible amount of sports on offer. Every week or every month, let one person in the family choose what activity they want to do. This not only makes them happy it also exposes everyone to a whole host of sports that you would not normally do. Staying fit for life is all about finding a sport or sports that you like to do and this is a way to ensure that you all get to try as many sports as possible.

3 – Get you children involved in cooking


I am always amazed with the lack of cooking and food knowledge that teenagers have when I do lectures in schools. Why not get your family involved in cooking as well, dictating one evening a week where each person cooks the meal, or shops for the ingredients or gets involved with some form of the meal? This is essential in giving your children the life tools to cook for themselves in later life.

4 – Health based rewards


We all love treats and rewards for doing good and achieving our goals. Why not make these treats health based in some way, like clothes or runners or some other sport related item?

5 – Limit computer game time

video games.jpg

With each new computer console on the market, comes some new way of online interaction that seems to increase the addictiveness of the games. This can lead to an unhealthy amount of time being spent playing the games. In my opinion, these games should be limited to a certain amount of time so that there is time in the day for activity. Government recommendations aim for 60 minutes a day of activity for children and teenagers but with PE in schools being reduced with decreasing budgets this often isn’t happening.

6 – Treat meal each week


Just like our packages with adult clients, I feel that one treat meal a week is important. This creates a balanced approach to weight loss and health. If you aim to cut out every type of junk and high sugar food from your families diet then you can be guaranteed you will face a near mutiny from your children. Why not aim to have one day a week when you are going to have a treat day, having a different treat each time, again reinforcing the idea that fast food is ok, just in small amounts.

These are some of the key tips that I give to my clients to help them improve the health of their families and children. It’s not a radical approach, it’s just simple tips that will make a big big difference to you, your family and the future health of your children.

What fitness routines work for you and your family? Let us know on social media by using the hashtag #myIrishlife

8 Alternative Exercise Classes In Ireland That Everyone Should Try

If the mere thought of spin bikes, treadmills, circuits and weights makes your body ache, trying something a little bit out of the box might be the thing to motivate you to get moving.

The same thing happens every year. January rears its big grey head and we decide it’s time to give this whole ‘new year, new me’ thing a go. We take out gym memberships with great intentions but after two too many spin classes, we slowly give up and decide this exercising stuff just isn’t for us.

If the mere thought of spin bikes, treadmills, circuits and weights makes your body ache, trying something a little bit out of the box might be the thing to motivate you to get moving.

We’ve taken a look around Ireland to find the best alternative exercise classes that everyone should try at least once. From AntiGravity yoga to Boogiebounce, there’s a new activity out there for anyone who wants to put a new spin on traditional exercising.

1. Rock Climbing


It sounds like the kind of exercise that only thrill-seeking types would throw themselves into, but rock climbing is an excellent workout for people of all fitness levels. Awesome Walls in Dublin and Cork are two of Europe’s largest and most cutting edge indoor climbing centres that even the most inexperienced climbers will love. The instructors are attentive and ensure that you have a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Details: You can book a taster session online for €25 per adult or €20 per junior. Visit

2. Clowning Around

Tap into your inner circus performer with some ariel and acrobatic classes. This is a great way to get fit and gain a pretty impressive skill set. offers a range of different classes such as; vertical acrobatics using a piece of fabric or rope, as well as trapeze and hoop acrobatics.

Details: You can view classes and book online. Individual sessions start at €16.50, depending on which activity you’d like to try. Taster packages are available, with €20 off a six week term fee. Visit

3. Boogie Bounce

Who doesn’t (perhaps secretly) love a good old bounce on a trampoline? Well Boogie Bounce takes this fun and turns it into a seriously intense but enjoyable workout that burns around 800 calories per session. It’s a complete exercise class on a mini trampoline with a safety bar, choreographed to pumping music. It’s guaranteed to make you sweat and laugh in equal measure.

Details: Currently there are classes available in Dublin, Swords and Cork, with new locations opening up all around the country.  Boogie Bounce has a welcome offer of €18 for your first two classes. Visit

4. AntiGravity Yoga 

If regular yoga seems a little vanilla for your tastes, why not take it to the next level with an AntiGravity version? This is a fitness regime which combines arial acrobatics with the disciplines of yoga to enhance your agility. Using an AntiGravity hammock, you learn dance, Pilates and calisthenics techniques, whilst changing your relationship with the ground and learning more about your body.

Details: Classes are available all around Ireland, for more information visit

5. Capoeira

Capoeira is a unique art form, originating from Brazil. It combines music, dance, acrobatics and self-defence, creating a workout that’s as much for your body as it is for your mind. It helps improve your strength, balance, co-ordination and fitness abilities.

Details: There are various Capoeira classes available around Ireland. Visit or for more information.


6. Ballet Barre 

If you’ve ever dreamt of being a prima ballerina, this is your chance to make it a reality. Adult barre classes have been growing in popularity and emerging all around the country. Modern barre exercises typically combine pilates and ballet disciplines to give your body the workout of a lifetime. Although it might look simple, it’s an intense session that will really improve your flexibility and strength.

Details: There are barre classes available all around Ireland at local pilates, yoga and dance studios. Platinum Pilates in Rathmines and Sandymount offer two introductory classes for €25. Visit

7. Parkour 

If you’ve ever witnessed Parkour, it’s not something you’d typically consider as an exercise but it’s a great way to burn those calories. Parkour is a non-competitive sport which involves using your body and the environment to overcome any urban obstacle in your way, through strength, speed and agility. It’s an incredibly impressive skill and one that anyone can get involved with.

Details: Parkour classes are offered around Ireland. provide a six week course for €50.

8. Hip Hop Dancing

Dancing is an excellent way to get fit, burn calories and tone your muscles. But the idea of attending an actual dance class can seem a little daunting. Hip Hop classes, however, have a more laid back and informal feel, which makes them much more appealing for those who might feel a little self-concious busting a move in front of a room full of strangers.

Details: Hip hop classes are available all around Ireland. Search online for one in your local area, or visit which has a variety of different dance classes across the country.


Which alternative exercises have you tried?Let us know on social media by using the hashtag #myIrishlife

How to choose the right excercise class for you – Karl Henry

Hi #MyIrishlife readers! I thought I would bring you a checklist so that you can ensure you are going to the right type of class for you and that you are safe while getting the best results from the class too.

Hi myIrishlife readers! I thought I would bring you a checklist so that you can ensure you are going to the right type of class for you and that you are safe while getting the best results from the class too.


When you get qualified as an instructor you must get your insurance before you start training anyone. Different policies will have different terms and conditions. My own says that I can’t work with more than 30 people for a class, for me that’s not an issue as I don’t do groups but if you’re in a class of more than 30, you should ensure that their policy covers them.

Class size

This I feel is one of the most important elements. No matter how good you are as a teacher, if you have a big group you can’t give everyone attention. As a participant it’s the attention you want, as this means you are doing things correctly. So look for smaller classes as opposed to bigger ones, smaller classes will mean that you get lots of attention and attention is good!!


The second most important thing in finding a good class is who is taking it. Do they look fit? Is their physique one you would like? Are they friendly or a bully? Are they giving individual advice to each person in the class or just doing their own workout? Are they qualified? How long have they been teaching? All of these questions are things you should be asking yourself, as they are really important!

Class physique

Now here is the surprising point.Different exercise styles will give you a different result in terms of physique and the results that you get. Kettlebells and trx will give you more of an athletic look, weights and bootcamp tend to give you more of a toned look. Now there are many different factors that will affect the results you get but that’s a pretty good guide. When you go in to the class, look around you at the physiques of the people who have been there a long time, how do they look? Is their physique one you would like yourself? If not, then this isn’t the class for you.

Can you try one for free?

We allow potential members to try our classes in our gym for free as we are confident in our product and the fact that the classes are really good. So if you are interested in a class you should ask to try it out before you pay , then you will be able to see exactly what type of class it is, what the instructor is like and if you like it or not.

First Aid

Another important point is whether or not the instructor has a First Aid qualification or not. The basic fitness qualifications do not have first aid as part of the course so instructors need to do another course to get it. We also have to renew our first aid qualification every two to three years depending on what qualification it is. In the industry we are in it is obvious that we will have to deal with sprains, strains, fainting and various other injuries too at somestage in our careers and possibly, but hopefully not some more serious conditions too, so check if the instructor for the class has a first aid cert or not. Also it is no harm to ask if they have a defibrillator onsite too, while not a legal requirement, it can be something that will help incase of an emergency, so it’s no harm to ask.

Any tips we might have missed? Let us know your best exercise routines on social media by using the hashtag #myIrishlife

Karl’s 3 simple excercises and some health myths to avoid

Exercise is something that so many people consider as an activity to be done several times a week, but while this may be true, I firmly believe that you should also get as much exercise into your day as is possible

Exercise is something that so many people consider as an activity to be done several times a week, but while this may be true, I firmly believe that you should also get as much exercise in to your day as is possible, such as getting off the train a stop earlier, going out on your lunch break, using the stairs as opposed to the lifts. Basically any small change that you can make to increase the amount of movement in your day will keep you fitter, slimmer and happier day in day out due to the improvements in circulation and hormone response to exercise.


Here are some simple tips you can do right away to get started:

Wide foot squats

This is my other favorite exercise for the legs. It’s super for the inside of your legs, that soft part and the outside of your bum, the part that you always want to lift. Start the exercise with your feet wider than your shoulders, the wider the better. Turn the feet away from the body and lower your bum towards the floor and hold it there. This is your starting position. From there simply lower your bum towards the floor and pulse it around 3 inches. It’s this pulsing motion that is doing all the toning!


Step Ups

These are for the fit person only but they are also fantastic for toning the bum and the legs too. Stand in front of a park bench or a solid chair and ensure your back is straight. Place your hands on your hips, stepping up with your right leg and back down. Repeat for twenty on the right leg and then switch to twenty on the left leg. Keep your hands on your hips and ensure your posture is good, especially towards the end of the set when the legs get tired.


Pelvic floor kicks

Another simple exercise that is incredibly effective for the bum area and lifting the bum as well. Start by lying on the floor on your back, with your knees bent, hands lying by your side. From here just push your pelvis towards the ceiling using all the muscles in your bum, return to the floor and push back up to the ceiling. If you find that it’s too easy for you then just bring your heels towards your body. If it’s still too easy then hold for thirty seconds between sets.


Let’s take a look at some of the common health myths that you should be avoiding:

Cutting out carbs

Probably one of the most popular ones, many of last years and I am sure this years diet books will advocate just eating protein, or protein and nuts or some combination of no carb diet. Will this work? Yes, you will lose weight initially. But eventually the tiredness will overcome you, the craving for carbs will kick in and you will eat more than ever. Carbs are your fuel source, that’s where your energy comes from. By cutting them out, your body is forced to burn fat as fuel, also called ketosis. But you can only do this for so long, side effects can also be bad breath, dry skin and nails etc. You are also seriously tired! Carbs are not the enemy, but the type of carb is. White carbs have very little nutritonal value so opt instead for brown carbs such as brown rice, brown pasta and brown bread. Full of fibre and health, these are great for your energy and digestive system. Cut the white carbs out and you will lose weight as well as having lots of energy.


Training every day

Another classic, you aim to train five, six or even seven days a week to get in the best shape possible as fast as you can. While great in theory, for most people this means that you will run out of steam, over train and stop training altogether normally by week 3. It is so hard to maintain such high activity levels, especially when curtailing your diet too, and you simply tire the body out, losing motivation to train and end up putting on more weight as a result. Instead why not try to balance it all out, aiming to workout 3 or 4 times a week if that fits into your schedule, or less. You need to look at your schedule and work from there. What ever you feel you can do consistantly all year round is a much better approach.


Meal replacement shakes

My pet hate. Why would anyone, who is thinking properly, think that cutting out real nutritious food and replacing it with a very low calorie processed powder three times a day is good for you? You take less than half the recommended daily calorie intake, for several weeks, losing huge quantities of weight, depriving your body of the essential nutrients and wreaking havoc with your metabolism, eventually rebounding to eat real food again and regaining the weight, often more , with the health consequences of your foodless time. Before you get tempted to go down this route, have a proper think about it, does it sound healthy?? Why not eat healthier, walk more and lose more weight over the course of the year and keep it off. It will be cheaper, healthier and actually work.


Run ,run, run

Another common one. People run for all sorts of reasons, but the only reason to run is because you enjoy it! If you don’t enjoy it then it isn’t going to last.You can burn the same amount of calories fast walking as you can jogging so if that’s your motivation then why not walk instead. I am a runner , I love the stress release and the challenge of races. That’s how I run all year round. No matter what sport you choose you need to enjoy it, so choose carefully and watch the difference it makes!!

Have a question ? Let us know on social media by using the hashtag #myIrishlife