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Beer and Fitness? Can it Be?

Beer and Fitness? Can it Be?

Stew Smith, CSCS

I was once asked an interesting question concerning drinking beer and exercising. It seems that a former Navy Radioman had developed quite a gut since retiring, and was curious about whether he should give up his beer to lose weight? Not only did the gentleman enjoy drinking about 2-4 beers daily, he had also quit exercising. Moderate beer consumption is actually healthy, so I set out to define “moderate” as well as educate on the basics of caloric intake and caloric expenditure. The radioman was not suffering from a beer belly but an INACTIVITY BELLY! Yes, you can still drink beer and be very fit.

Over 90 million Americans enjoy drinking beer! Drinking moderately has been proven by many doctors, as well as the New England Journal of Medicine, to be a healthy component of longevity. In fact, moderate consumption of alcohol, including beer, has been proven to reduce the effects of high cholesterol, heart disease, some forms of cancer and even impotence.

Anything done in excess is naturally unhealthy. “Moderation” is defined by most doctors as 1-2 beers a day. And NO, you cannot save up through the week and catch up on the weekend drinking 10-12 beers in an evening. That is NOT moderation. There is even a US Beer Drinking Team that links beer enthusiasts and promotes moderation, responsibility, and healthy living.

The average can of beer has over 100 calories. Drinking one beer is equivalent to eating a chocolate chip cookie. Drinking four is equal to eating a Big Mac Hamburger. In order to lose weight, you have to burn off these extra calories as well as the other calories that you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even the lightest of beers has the empty calories of alcohol, which is the cause of poor health if done in excess and without a regular exercise routine. Unfortunately, too many Americans live under one of the worst stereotypes placed on a human being – the BEER BELLY, or as I call it, the inactivity belly.

The “inactivity” belly is caused by excess calories in your diet AND lack of activity to burn the extra calories. The solution to lose your beer belly is as simple as calories in must be less than calories out (or expended through exercise).

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Calories IN < Calories Out (burned) = Weight Loss

If you can add exercise into your schedule for 20-30 minutes a day, your daily consumption of alcohol (1-2 beers) will not have any additional impact on your gut. To lose your beer belly, you REALLY have to watch your food and beverage intake, drink 2-4 quarts of water a day, AND fit fitness into your world. THERE IS NO OTHER HEALTHY ANSWER! The exercise and workout ideas below can get you started on your calorie burning plan:

Workout #1: This is a great full body calorie burner:

Repeat 3-5 times

- Walk, run or bike 5:00
- Squats – 20
- Push-ups – 10-20
- Sit-ups or Crunches – 20

Workout #2: Swimming and elliptical gliding (cross country skiing) burn the most calories per hour (This workout can burn up to 1000 calories in one hour!)

- Swim 20-30 minutes non-stop
- Elliptical Glide 20-30 minutes

There is no reason why you cannot have “six pack abs” and still drink a six pack a week. Once again, excessive beer drinking is not recommended by anyone in the health industry. If you simply enjoy drinking beer and are serious about your health, moderation in drinking alcohol and eating foods high in calories, combined with habitual daily exercise is your ticket to reaching your goals. I now have a series of Workout plans that cater to all levels of fitness and can help you with developing a healthy diet with proper food choices – the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced 45 Day plans sold on PoliceLink’s Fitness eBook Store. For those who are into strength training, I have recently developed a weight training plan called “Beer and Barbells” that allows you to use the additional calories of beer, or milk shakes if you are under 21, to gain mass and strength.

Want to improve your workouts? Visit Stew Smith’s PoliceLink Fitness Store for customized, downloadable ebooks written specifically for police and law enforcement officers.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 6 years ago


    I recently hear a very interesting argument regarding alcohol. A person said that moderate amounts of alcohol are beneficial only because it reduces the stress of our daily lives. And someone with less stress will live longer than someone who is always tense.

    Something to think about....

  • Img_1566_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Hey guys, I also love to drink beer. I workout 3 times a week for 11/2 hours. Love to take my golden for walks.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 7 years ago


    Haven't had a drink in 14 years. Back then I was really partying on the weekends and having loads of fun. Even bought people home with me and feed them a free breakfast in the following mornings. Now I can not stand the smell of alcohol or even a drunk. That was the day, now there are better days ahead. The exercises sound great and even to the point of loosing beer belly. A lot of people need to exercise weither they drink or not. I try to walk 30-40 minutes every day. It makes me feel -- much more improved about my weight. I breath better and it keeps my blood circulating through my body for my own good.

  • Revan_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    I don't drink, but the workouts look pretty helpful.

  • 200px-boondox_-_the_harvest_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    Remember 2 beer's a day....unlike most...we dont drink for the taste...we drink for the buzz and now the calories....If there are 2 beers in the fridge im not drinking, the majority of you will probly follow...I drink to get a buzz...not to start a new health trend!...SmokinMan

  • Yellow_brick_road_090508_008_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    Yay!!! I was right all along :)

  • Swat4_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    holy crap..this is fricking awsome!!!

  • Blueknightslogo_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    A good single malt scotch is just as good for you and a lot less filling:)

  • Goatface_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    WOW! Beer it's not just for breakfast anymore.

  • L_69a6908d6abe75ab4351e24c48f34bab_max50


    almost 7 years ago



  • Tbell6_max50


    almost 7 years ago



  • Me_242_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    Thank You! I do not mind doing a few more workouts a week to keep my beer...............

  • Starflag_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm beer. I like the sound of that.

  • Happy_face_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    Good to know that my 12 ounce curls were not causing my belly. I guess I will start doing stomach curls too!

  • Me_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    I guess this is a good place to vent. I was forced to take a medical retirement a few months ago because of health reasons. I had a heart attack and the cause was listed by my dr. as stress. I have taught defensive tactic for several years, and I am a dedicated practisioner and student of Sholin Kung-Fu. I passed our physical fittness test and recieved 2 days extra vacation for my condition between the heart attack and the medical evaluation which was used to force me to retire. The FLMA has so strict rules, my department and my Dr. had no choise, because of my health. I can still do better physically that over 70% of the Department that I retired from.

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