This week I was asked an interesting question concerning drinking beer and exercising. It seems that a former Navy Radioman has developed quite a gut since retiring. He was curious about whether he should give up beer to lose weight and get fit? Not only does the gentleman enjoy drinking about 2-4 beers daily, he also has 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. This guy is not suffering from a beer belly but from 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 (with the emphasis on the word “moderate”).
Anything done in excess is naturally unhealthy. The maximum consumption recommended by most doctors is 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 contains around 150 calories. Drinking one beer is equivalent to eating a large chocolate chip cookie. Drinking four is equal in calories to a Big Mac. 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 consumed in excess and without a regular exercise routine.
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 inactivity belly is simple… consume less calories than you expend.
IE: CALORIES IN (consumed) < 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 some 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 for 5 minutes
Squats – 20
Pushups – 10-20
Situps 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 can’t have “six pack abs” and still drink a six pack of beer a week. Once again, excessive beer drinking is not recommended by anyone in the health industry. If you enjoy drinking beer and are serious about your health, moderate your alcohol consumption, eat foods low in calories, and include 20-30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
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 StewSmith.com 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.
Adding exercise daily and observing the dietary recommendations in these eBooks will help you to become the person you were yesterday without changing who you are today.