Fitness fad encourages group exercise — with a twist.
Beer and yoga.
Putting the two together might seem like a stretch.
But all across town, yogis are unrolling mats at their favorite brewery.
And it’s not just yogis who are following their workouts with some liquid carbs. Several clubs dedicate themselves to following a good workout with a good pint.
In Lakewood Ranch, for example, runners hit the road for a 5K before enjoying a few beers at Craft Growlers to Go and Tasting Room, a weekly activity known as the Brew Crew Run.
Business owner Jeanne Dooley asked Rob Tucker, who now leads the Brew Crew, to have a trial run with a group around the neighborhood for a fun run 5K. Now it brings people together every Thursday to enjoy their love of running and craft beer.
“It’s a good time,” said Jason Crowell, an employee and member of the Brew Crew. “You get your exercise and good beer.”
In Sarasota, JDub’s Brewing Co. and Tap Room has put a twist on the concept. Yoga enthusiasts unwind with a brew while they fold into a tree pose or downward dog. The weekly yoga class on Wednesdays attracts a steady stream of 30 participants.
The laid back, backyard location is a stark contrast to the mirrored classrooms most yoga studios offer.
“A lot of people who might be kind of intimidated to go to a yoga studio can come here as an introduction to yoga,” said Meg Metcalf, instructor at Yoga Shack.
The class is open to all levels of experience and ranges of motion. Metcalf leads the class and tailors it to each participant with tips to make a position easier or more difficult depending on his or her experience level.
If that isn’t incentive enough, the brewery offers a 10% discount to customers who participate. The option to drink while exercising is entirely up to the participant.
Nahely Guerrero and Will Barnett attended the class or the first time on a whim. They both practice mediation yoga but had never considered mixing it up at a brewery.
“I enjoyed a passion wheat during the class,” Guerrero said. “I didn’t know what I was getting into, but the experience allowed me to relax and drink a beer at the same time.”
It’s certainly fun to follow a workout with a libation, but what are the health effects of a brew on the body?
As with most things worth enjoying, it’s all about balance.
Your body’s most immediate need after working out is hydration to replenish the water you’ve lost to sweat.
Because alcohol is a diuretic, make sure to drink your water first, said Gudrun Novak, a registered dietician at HealthFit, part of the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. Novak suggests that within 30 minutes after a workout, you make sure to down a water or sports drink before hitting the bar.
Next up on your body’s priority list is to replenish its glycogen, or energy that fuels muscles during exercise. The ideal source is lean protein and good carbohydrates — of which alcohol is not an ideal source.
Just because beer is brewed using grains, that doesn’t mean it is a source of nutritional carbohydrates.
“Alcohol has 7 calories per gram with no nutrition,” Novak said. “You want a lean protein or carbohydrate with 4 calories per gram that is full of nutrition.”
Eating also helps counter the absorption of alcohol in the system, so, as Novak recommends: “If you’re going to drink post workout, make sure you have it with some food.”
Novak stresses that it also depends on how much you drink. Anything more than the daily recommended amount can actually be detrimental for maintaining muscle. For women, the daily amount is one glass of wine or beer. Men can have between one and two glasses of wine or beer per day.
“First focus on replenishing what you burned off, then take into consideration how much you’re drinking,” Novak said. “As always, everything in moderation.”