Here at Work For Your Beer, we're obviously big proponents of finding a healthy balance. We support grabbing a beer after your workout not only because there are actually health benefits associated with doing so, but also because we know that building positive associations with exercise will make you more likely to stick to that habit. 

We've seen people who despised the gym come out to intense yoga power flows week after week, somehow fine with the devastatingly tough core work because it's not happening in the traditionally intimidating gym environment. We've seen people who swear up and down that they are not runners rack up miles at a local brewery anyway. It's truly a beautiful thing.

BUT (I know you know there was a but coming): it's not so beautiful if you're not responsible about it! Read on for our guide to working out and drinking responsibly at beer fitness activities here in the Queen City.

Wear & Bring the Right Gear  

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people forget to come to beer fitness events with the appropriate gear! Obviously, it varies from one activity to the next, but here are just a few examples to consider. 

If you're heading to a yoga class, it's important to wear comfortable and breathable clothing that won't ride up during your flow. You should also bring a yoga mat (potentially a thicker one if you have joint issues). If you have had injuries on certain parts of your body in the past, talk to an instructor about it so they can suggest blocks, pads, or other items that make it easier on bad knees, backs, and more.

For runners, the big thing is wearing the right kind of shoes based on your foot type and running style. In fact, we suggest stopping by a running store and having your gait analyzed by a specialist who can tell you if you're landing on your heels, if you're experiencing pronation (your feet turning inward as they land from stride to stride), or any other issues that might require corrective footwear. The wrong sneakers could make these problems worse and result in injuries down the line.

If you're joining a bike ride, obviously you're going to need a helmet! But if you're going to be riding regularly, you should also invest in a proper kit that won't rub or chafe the wrong places, and that will keep you protected from things like saddle sores. And, of course, having the right cleats (and positioning them properly before fastening them to the pedals) is also crucial for the safety of your knees!

Care Properly for Sustained Injuries

As careful and responsible as you may try to be with your workout, things happen! If you do experience an injury, it's important not to ignore the pain or try to work out anyway. Instead, visit a physical therapist who can address the issue and help you get back to normal physical function as soon as possible. 

Dr. Francois Prisinski, a physical therapist and educator with a clinic in South End, offered a few pieces of advice when it comes to avoiding these injuries in the first place. 

1. Choose active stretching over passive stretching. Industry researchers found that if you hold stretches longer than 30 seconds, your muscle begins to lose peak strength. Recent studies assessing vertical jump height, bench press, and long jump found that prolonged stretching actually decreased performance! So, what's the tip here? Find a set of active stretches (also known as "ballistic stretches") that stimulate muscle and increase functional performance. 

2. During your workout, consider how much effort you're putting in. When you're mid-workout, if you start to feel like the amount of effort you're putting in might be too much, tone it down momentarily and reflect. Think, "Am I harming myself?" If the answer is, "No, I'm just really out of shape," then continue to push yourself, building a healthy relationship with your body, and it will work out for the better! If your answer is, "Yes something is hurting," chances are that area of your body is over-compensating and incurring more forces than necessary. In this case, you should pause your exercise and further assess the pain that you're feeling. If it's consistent, it may be time to seek the aid of a physical therapist.

3. Notice and respond properly to muscle imbalances. You may notice that one side of your body seems to be tighter weaker than the other. This is not an issue unless you push both sides of your body for the same duration, intensity, or depth of range. So, if you have a tighter right hip, it only becomes an issue if you perform too many squats, with heavy weight, and deep in range. If your perception of effort continues to plateau because an area is nagging, listen to your body! It's telling you something isn't right. A simple Orthopedic screen can explain why one area maybe compensating for another.

If you're experiencing any of the issues above, or if you've sustained an injury at a recent beer (or non-beer) fitness activity, reach out to Dr. Prizinski to receive proper care! He'll help you assess the damage and come up with the right plan of action to get you back into peak physical condition.

Drink the Right Beer After Your Workout  

We've already written about the health benefits that beer can provide when consumed in moderation. Beer contains antioxidants and essential B-vitamins, can make your bones stronger, can lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes, and is good for your heart. However, not all beers are created equally! You can't grab a 13% ABV Imperial Stout after your workout and expect it to provide the same advantages as a 4% ABV lager.

Our recommendation, based on our research on the topic (yes, we've done research; we really like drinking beer, but we also really like making healthy choices for our bodies), is to stick to a beer at 4.5% ABV or less. A lot of the health benefits that we see in beer comes from the phenols in your brew. Phenols can be found not just in beer, but in wine (score!) and in fruits like cranberries, apples, oranges, and more. Usually, you'll find the highest concentration of phenols in ales and lagers, so we recommend searching for this kind of pint after your next workout to reap the most health benefits.

Have Fun!

Of course, we want you to work out and drink responsibly at beer fitness events. But we also want you to have a good time! The whole goal of these events is to stick to your healthy habits, find balance in your life, and enjoy fitness activities (and beer) that you love with great people in the beer fitness community. 

Questions? Concerns? Comments? Reach out to us at anytime!