is an award winning
member of the North
American Guild of Beer
Writers. His column
Adventures in Beerland
is now a regular feature of
Are you one of those who stepped on a scale recently and saw the real Covid 19 - as in 19 extra pounds? Ekes!
For those of us who now have a "beer belly," I hope those genius scientists working on a vaccine are also developing
something to deal with that oh so apparent consequence of the virus. While sheltering in place flattened the curve
it did the opposite to many a midsection. Those six pack abs have turned into a keg. It seems those days sitting at
home provided time for extended daily happy, really happy hours, which meant extra calories consumed courtesy of
all those extra beers. That does not apply to those drinking no carb, no calorie, no taste, no flavor, no hops, no
nothing, triple super ultra light beer. Never trust a skinny beer drinker because they’re probably not really drinking
actual beer as we know it.
Now before you start saying I’m anti-beer let me go on record as acknowledging that beer does not necessarily
cause “beer bellies”. The culprit is too many calories. Any kind of calories whether from alcohol, sugary beverages,
oversized portions of food, water, sleeping, breathing, or laughing at my articles (sometimes) can increase belly fat.
However, alcohol does seem to have a particular association with fat in the midsection. In general, alcohol intake is
associated with bigger waists, because when you drink alcohol, the liver burns it instead of fat. No one ever said the
liver was smart.
The most important question is not why but how can we avoid total embarrassment when people see us in the post
shutdown world. As the country continues to open up we’ll soon be back in the judgmental eye of everyone with a
phone and twitter account just waiting to make our weight gain the next viral laughing stock. The answer to this
problem is easy. Lose some pounds. Makes sense to me. However doing that is a bit more involved. The first rule
is don’t give up beer. Rule 2 is to review Rule 1 until you know it by heart. Rule three is to look in the mirror and
yell at yourself punctuated by firm slaps to your face if you forget Rule 1. The point is that you can exercise and then
hydrate yourself with beer. Really. In fact, if you are looking for the perfect recipe for drinking more beer exercise is
Finishing a workout with a refreshing beer has a long tradition among athletes. More than a few marathons, bike
races, and ski events have beer tents in the finishing area though they stop short of actually putting them on the
course for reasons unknown. After a run or just a brisk walk think how refreshing a beer would be. And believe it or
not it’s actually good for you.
Beer companies have been marketing specifically to fitness folks for quite a while. Think about those Michelob
Ultra commercials or the promotions for Harpoon Brewery’s Rec League Pale Ale, or Avery Brewing’s Go Play IPA
touting beer as the perfect post workout and healthy lifestyle drink. Yes, it’s a stretch to call Michelob Ultra beer but
the point they’re making is valid with craft beer too.
Before you say that’s just the beer in me talking there are many surveys that prove avid exercisers tend to drink more
alcohol than their sedentary counterparts. In fact, one big survey found that drinking beer is associated with a 10%
increase in the probability of exercising vigorously. Although InBev paid for, created, and conducted that survey
there’s no reason to doubt the findings. Besides, I found it on the Internet so it must be true.
Semi-reliable science has also been researching the positive aspects of a post-exercise beer. The big caveat in
understanding these studies is that getting hammered won’t help your recovery after a strenuous workout. It also
won’t help you think wisely, sing on key, be witty (well maybe half of that), get on Jeopardy, or dance better (I don’t
buy that one since it always seems to work for me). All agree however that it’s a different story if instead of getting
blitzed you just throw back a brew or three.
Admittedly beer won’t hydrate you better than water, but it’s not worse either since it’s mainly water. So if water is
good it’s just as good as itself when it’s in beer. Besides, alcohol is always a good thing whether you use it as a
beverage or for killing Covid 19 germs.
For those of you who believe alcohol is a diuretic let me set you straight. A randomized trial by researchers at
Loughborough University (it took quite a while to find a study from anywhere to support this theory) looked into the
diuretic and hydration effects of small doses of alcohol and found that when people were dehydrated, alcohol’s
diuretic effect was blunted as their bodies worked to restore their fluid balance. The only thing they forget to mention
is that the best way to have perfect fluid balance is to have beer in each hand. That was confirmed by a study
conducted at Wossamotta U.
The researchers had 16 male volunteers do a vigorous run in a hot laboratory. I have no idea why anyone would
want to do that but they did. Afterward, the participants were offered either mineral water or beer. Those choosing
the water were asked to leave the study for, well, being just plain dumb. The beer, after all, was free. The runners
eventually did the protocol once under each condition, three weeks apart. The final results showed that moderate
beer intake had “no deleterious effects” on hydration. Take that you teetotaling health nuts.
The beer used in the research was Carling which inexplicitly has been Britain’s best selling lager for more than three
decades. Frankly, it’s not a very good beer, despite what Mabel says. BeerAdvocate gives Carling an
embarrassingly generous rating of 62/100 which is a lot higher than what I give it. I guess the researchers don’t read
BeerNexus or simply like cute green bottles. Interestingly a couple of years ago Carling was called on the carpet for
advertising their lager had a 4% ABV although it has brewed at 3.7% for nearly two decades. Why the concern over
a lousy three tenth of a percent? The lower ABV meant a lower tax rate. If they taxed on taste Carling would be
owed loads of money by the government.
To be fair I did find a couple of studies that suggested beer, because of its alcohol, whether consumed with protein or
carbs, reduced the muscle-building response to exercise and might, therefore, impair recovery from training. But
here’s the part they don’t want you to know: the subjects in these studies drank a lot of beer — about seven pints.
From what I understand they had many more volunteers than were needed.
Now that science has proven you can exercise and still drink beer before, during, after and in between workouts –
yes, it’s not just for breakfast anymore - the question is which workout program is best. I found it - Team Body
Project. To say it's all yoga is a bit of a stretch, there is a lot of cardio which will help you in the long run, they also
have a lot of resistance exercises which will lift your spirits…. ah, I think that’s enough, more than enough. Ok, you
talked me into it, one more. I tried working out by lifting dictionaries since I thought that's how you get definition.
Right, that was one; make that four, too many
Team Body project is just about the perfect place for any beer drinker who wants to lose weight. The trainers
constantly drink. Of course they say there’s water in those bottles but even if it's true, that doesn’t mean you can’t
put something in yours that has equal scientific credibility. Some of their workouts involve weights but as head trainer
Daniel Bartlett often says in his authentic English accent, “if you don’t have weights use a tin of beans.” A tin of
beans according to international weight equivalences is nearly the same as a can of beer. So forget the weights and
beans and just use beer which makes for great efficiency when it comes time to enjoy a post workout refresher..
One of the great things about Team Body Project is that there are programs, plans, and over 400 individual exercise
videos ranging from easy to medium to Chuck Norris level. If you reach that height you, like Chuck, can have a
calendar that goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd, because no one fools someone in such great shape and
you’ll be so strong that at the next zombie apocalypse the zombies will try to survive you.
I admit to starting at the easy level where you exercise while sitting down. Yes, you workout while literally being
seated the entire time. It’s very creative, fun and effective. Once time I got so tired I had to stand up to get a rest.
After completing the program I never looked at a chair the same way again.
The creators of Team Body Project, Alex and Daniel Bartlett, as far as I know, are not nor have ever been brewers,
professional or amateur. I don’t hold that against them, at least not that much. After all, without them I wouldn’t have
been motivated to find a scientifically proven reason to rehydrate with my favorite morning beverage.
And I don't mean coffee.
click to contact vince