Wednesday, January 07, 2009

BEER AND EXERCISE - HOW'S THAT GOIN'?

Over a year ago I wrote a post called "BEER, MY HEALTH, AND MY BELLY" that catalogued my rising dismay with my rising belly, and pooh-poohed the recent spate of "beer is SO good for you" articles I'd been spying. Beer, let me just put it to ya straight, is not good for you. Beer is at worst negligible, and if you can stay fit as a fiddle and maintain the sort of weight and health of a twentysomething man/woman while in your 40s - and still drink large amounts of craft beer - well, I want to talk to you. Ever since I took up the beer jones in earnest - about 2005 - I've put on about 10-12 pounds and love handles that even my son makes fun of. Now that may not be a lot to you but I'm a small-framed, pretty skinny (if a little doughy at times) guy who's been 165-170 pounds for the past twenty years. I've liked being that way. The only lifestyle change that happened between 2005 and 2008 is the every-other-day beer: Belgians, high-ABV stouts, Double IPA's etc. It's the beer, I'm sure of it. Well, that and the morning bagel. I made a promise to myself that I'm going to hold on to the beer, the blog and the lifestyle - but the weight can't stay.

So the bagel is out. The beer is staying. I'm under no delusion that drinking it is prolonging my life, providing me with vitamins I wouldn't otherwise be getting elsewhere, or helping my heart to pump blood better. I just don't buy it. The best I can say for myself is I'm not a drunk, and I know when to stop. A night with more than 3 beers is a BIG night for me, and I can count such nights on one hand each year. Hangovers average out to about one every three years, with zero in 2008 (thank god - trust me youngsters, they're even worse in your late thirties/early forties).

The bargain I'm making is that the running that I've been half-assedly pursuing the past eighteen months is going to be stepped up in a big way. I love running, actually. I get that total endorphine exercise buzz, which, while nowhere near as buzz-worthy as a big bottle of LOST ABBEY beer thrown down on a Friday night, at least helps "trim the middle". I don't listen to music while charging up & down the minor hills of San Francisco - instead, I plot what I'll now allow myself to do since I'm running for an hour every other day. Like drink beers like THE ABYSS, you know what I mean? So here's where I'm stepping it up. Marathons. That's right, something I once considered to be solely the provenance of superhumans and workout nuts is now going to be my own holy grail. I'm competing in (well, running in) the San Francisco Marathon, 7/26/09. I'm gonna train hard for this and drink all the amazing beer I want. See you back at 165 pounds. Or something.

8 comments:

Chris said...

Good luck! I have run two (San Diego Rock n Roll twice). The training and event can be painful at times, but there is definitely a sense of accomplishment at the end. You won't regret the endeavor.

Dave said...

Good luck my friend. I feel your pain. I think I'm getting fatter and I believe it's the beer also. I usually drink one or two every night or skip a few days and go back to it. I just love craft beer. I'm not in it to get drunk, I don't drink that much to get drunk. I just like the different taste and love exploring all the different kinds of beers out there. I to have come to the conclusion that it's time to go back to the gym. I won't be running that much though even though I need to. I'm more into lifting. Diet is something I'm going to start doing to but for some reason I just don't want to give up that beer. It's something I get excited about, trying new beer.

Jay said...

Totally hear you. It's a great hobby worth getting out of bed every day for - but it, uh, does have its side effects.

Hans said...

I hate to be a naysayer, but I have been doing this now for a while (long distance trail running), and with my beer consumption (a beer or two on most days) I can keep my weight barely, but certainly will not get rid of it. SO I guess what probably may work is to first lose weight by not drinking beer and limit other caloric intake and do the running. Then when one is back at the "proper" weight carefully reintroduce beer. That is what I am doing right now, I will report back in a month or so :-)

luKe said...

I have a fucked up back (my wife blames my New Bomb Turks stage-diving from years ago) so every week I go to the David Back school to strengthen my back and belly muscles. This fitness keeps me in form and chases a rising belly. Fortunately, 'cuz I simply cannot image a world without beers & wine. Good luck marathon man!

655321 said...

Just did the Folsom To Sacramento Marathon last year. A whole new world of pain, but in a good way. I was in the same boat a few years ago although more with Doughnuts and Panda Express at the time. I was able to drop about 25 pounds just by stepping up the work-out. That and any good race has a beer tent. Try the Muddy Buddy in San Jose or the Monterey Half Marathon. Endorphins and beer is like an herbal speedball. Awesome.

Bryan Kolesar said...

Best Wishes Jay! I'll be following and checking back to keep you honest...and a few words of motivation too. If I can get out there for SFBW, perhaps we can go for a training run and re-hydration afterward ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ah, Americans and health ... I honestly believe running marathons and other exaggerated physical exercice can be far more damaging to your health than having a tripel every night. You might cause permanent damage to muscles and joints, collapse and die in the streets or, at worst, get hit by a car and end up like Stephen Hawking. Cheers, Tom.