Operation Transformation’s Karl Henry on fitness tips for office workers

"There's loads people can be doing during their nine-to-five,"

Karl Henry
Karl Henry


Fitness expert Karl Henry has revealed his top tips for staying fit, even if you work at a desk all day.

The personal trainer revealed that there are four simple steps you can take to improve your health without even leaving the office.

Speaking exclusively to VIP Magazine, he said:  “There’s loads people can be doing during their nine-to-five.”

Take the stairs 

Many offices are on the second, third or even fifth floor, and Karl reckons this is the perfect opportunity to fit in some exercise during work.

“The first thing is always stairs, stairs become your friend. It’s great for your lungs and great for your legs,”

The trainer often works with corporate groups and helps companies to get in better shape. He says that this is usually his first step though people are usually reluctant.

“Stairs are where it’s at, sometimes we put elevator bans in companies where we just shut the lift down for two weeks, apart from for those we need it obviously.

“Initially, there is war and people go mental but then they just get into it and that’s a habit forming. After two weeks they find it a lot easier.”

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Karl with the OT coaches


Be mindful of what’s on your desk 

Karl explains that what’s right in front of us often influences our choices, so having sweets and unhealthy snacks on your table can be difficult to avoid.

“The second thing is planning, specifically planning your desk space,” he told VIP Magazine.

“Every Monday morning you should plan your desk so that there are healthy choices… water, apples, seeds, so that everything is just there because you’ll eat it if it’s right there.”

Different kinds of desks 

Many companies are now changing up from the traditional desk and chair set-up. Karl encourages different types of tables and seats to get your body working.

“My third tip is about standing in the workplace,” he explained.

“Ikea has great standing desks that are about €25 and they are basically adaptors that sit on top of your desk.

“There more you can stand the harder your body works. If you’re standing your body is working harder, your muscles are working harder and you’re getting more benefit in your day.”

While this might be the most realistic option, Karl also incorporates more creative desks for his clients.

“Standing works really well, If you want to take it to the extreme, we have brought treadmill desks for clients so people can type and walk 10 or 12km a day.

“There are bike desks, which are similar, a spinning bike with a desk on it.

“You could also swap your chair with a swiss ball so you’re working out while sitting on the exercise ball, your body has to work to keep you upright and because there is no back on the ball.”

He added: “It’s about getting some form of activity into your day.

“The other obvious ones are things like on your commute, get off one stop early and walk a bit more. Stand on the bus or the train.”


Avoid daily treats 

If you do get off a stop early, try not to be tempted by the treats you have to walk past.

“There are now doughnut shops everywhere, so avoid them on the way and avoid the sugar rush.”

Offices can often be full of pastries, sweets and treats but Karl advises that you don’t tuck in every single day.

“It’s difficult, but it helps if the office is in it together, even allow a treat day Friday, beyond that get it out of the office.”

Karl Henry is an ambassador for Healthcoach by Laya healthcare, a new private health insurance benefit that gives members aged 18+ access to a face-to-face consultation with a qualified Health coach who will design a personalised 8-week health programme encompassing all aspects of their health including fitness, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

The personalised health programme will include online mentoring and support tools such as expert blogs, podcasts and how-to videos that will guide you on your exciting new health and wellbeing journey, and there’s a reward system to help you acknowledge your achievements.


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