Conversations With… Des Earls

Running a business is an extremely rewarding and exciting thing to do. However, it comes with its own stresses and pressures day to day.

As the leader, it is extremely important to be able to deal with the issues that come about and to manage the growing KLD team and make sure that the best outcomes are achieved. 

I am definitely a self confessed workaholic, often taking work home with me. I am used to giving KLD 100% , never having ‘the time’ to allocate to exercise, however I have realised that in order to maintain that focus, I needed to have a more well rounded approach to my life. 

Exercise has always been something I have flitted in and out of, very much separate from my life as a whole. When times get busy, it used to be the first thing to go.

If I was to calculate the amount I have spent on gyms and exercise that has then been wasted, I would cry! I decided at the beginning of this year to make a change and stick to it and committed to working with personal trainer Des Earls 3 times a week.

Des is a professional who takes a very holistic approach to well being and fitness and looks at how it can genuinely fit into and enhance your life. 

It has proven to be time well spent. Aside from the health benefits and improved fitness, it genuinely sets me up more focused and energised each day. 

Des explains in more detail his philosophies and approaches below… making exercise all the more easy to add into your own life!

How can we make exercise a habit that becomes so important we cannot live without it?

Exercise should be like brushing your teeth – something you do automatically, it doesn’t take up too much time, the tools are readily available and you feel kind of icky if you don’t do it.

With that in mind, start an exercise regime that is extremely manageable:

– You don’t have to do and hour plus sweating in the gym. If done right 30-40 mins three or four times per week is enough to achieve most goals.

– Make sure you have a go-to work out that you can do almost anywhere. Running is the obvious example as all you need is some running shoes but body weight circuits and Pilates routines are also very manageable with little or no equipment.

– Don’t train so hard that you feel worse after training. If embarking on a new routine, some muscle soreness is common after the first couple of sessions but you shouldn’t be training so hard that you’re dreading your next workout.

How do you think our homes or the spaces we work in can help promote exercise behaviours?

Open spaces are great for encouraging us to stretch and move around in. With a growth in the popularity of regimes like Pilates, yoga and calisthenics it’s great to have room to practice a 15 min routine in. Open spaces with lots of natural light are great for this and if there’s some greenery peering in, even better. Research has shown that exercising in nature’s green spaces improves mood and self-esteem.

Standing burns approximately 33% more calories than sitting. We also have better posture when standing resulting in less hip, back and neck pain. Having work tops that are comfortable to make dinner at or standing desks in work are great ways to incorporate more standing.

Work place layouts can be very important to promoting exercise. In big offices having stairs that are highly visible and lifts that are hidden promotes using the stairs. With open plan offices seeing a route to walk across the room to ask your colleague something will make you more likely to get up and go rather than picking up the phone.


What advice would you give clients in terms of adapting/arranging their home or work space to help promote a healthy lifestyle?

We try to identify a space where the client can do a light workout or some yoga poses to de-stress. Some companies will install sit-to-stand desks which are great.

The main area we work on though is the kitchen. Have healthy snack options easily accessible and on show if possible, treats should be hidden and require a bit of effort to get at.

When we cook our own food it is invariably healthier than store bought meals. Having a space that you enjoy being in helps with this. Often people will decorate their living rooms and bedrooms with picture or art work they like, why not do the same with the kitchen? Encourage yourself to spend time in there.


What are your opinions on the role of technology within exercise? Does it hinder or help us to exercise more?

Technology can be great at encouraging you to exercise and be healthy. Set a goal of a number of steps to walk per day or track your food intake on your phone. Anything you do will be a positive help.

Activity trackers such as those that you wear like a watch are all the rage at the moment but it’s important to know that they are not always very accurate and can over or underestimate the amount of activity you’re doing.

Unfortunately technology has also lead to us being less active in our day-to-day activities. We do less manual work and generally sit more than we used to.

This has led to an increase in structured exercise classes and regimes which are great but remember a 1 hour workout is less than 5% of your day so try to be more active the rest of the time. Park your car a little further away, use the stairs, walk to work or even just dance to your favourite song any movement is good movement.


Are there any apps you would recommend for people looking to exercise more?

My Fitness Pal is an app for logging your daily food intake. It’s a laborious process of logging everything you eat throughout the day and to be really accurate you need to weigh your food. It’s not something I recommend long-term as it impacts on lifestyle too much and can lead to obsessive behaviours but short term it will help you understand what you eat and the percentage of carbs, fats and proteins you consume. Aim for roughly 30% of you daily caloric intake to come from each of carbs, fats and proteins. The other 10% is leeway on any of them.

There are a myriad of fitness tracker apps. Endomondo is an app that allows you to set goals and then gives you feedback on how you’re doing. For example if you want to run 5km in 25 mins it will tell you if you need to pick up the pace at certain points.

Goal setting apps like Incentive are another way of tracking progress. Our brains get a little kick of melatonin every time with tick an accomplishment off our goal list which then provides encouragement for tougher tasks.

For serious gym users, apps like Technique can be used to video your movements and then watch them back in slow motion to refine technique. Correct lifting technique is paramount with resistance training exercises, especially heavy ones.


What do you think are the main reasons we fall out of the habit of exercising or eating well?

We can all tolerate a finite amount of stress and when we become busy with work or life we will drop something that we feel takes up a lot of time and effort.

Exercising and eating well does take time and effort but it also helps us de-stress, so in busy or stressful times you should always try to keep your food in check and exercise part of your regime. You can cut back on these things but long term you will benefit from keeping the routine.