As I meander through the streets, singing along to John Farnham via my headphones, patting dogs, looking in butcher shop windows, wondering if anyone buys those hula hoops outside the two-dollar shop, my legs often take me to an establishment that contains a bar pouring a healthy dose of crafty beers. I spend some time here, giving the taps a good workout.
The other day, something compelled me to walk in the opposite direction to the watering holes and I found myself ascending the stairs into a place I’ve often heard mentioned, but never really knew what went on inside its walls. You know, that place called the “gymnasium”.
I looked around, there was more than one bar and not the beer drinking kind. There was a hall with weights and yoga mats instead of Bavarian beer tables and steins, and John Farnham was replaced by Katy Perry “songs”. How did I get here?
They say your body is good at telling you when it needs something. A rumble in the belly means dauphinoise cheese on biscuits is required. An itch on the face means you should probably stop kissing those stray dogs you meet on your walks around the neighbourhood.
Recently my body has been telling me it needs to move. It requires some of that “exercise” thing.
Being unable to reach a Hop Nation The Chop IPA from the top branch of shelving at the bottle shop was my first sign. Making that “Eeerrrrrggggghhh!” noise, as I hoisted my arse off the couch to put my snout into another Feral Hop Hog, was the next.
This would not do. My unfit body was getting in the way of my mouth being able to enjoy its favourite beers! So, in consequence, I joined the gym.
The super friendly gym staff could see I didn’t know my treadmills from my leg press machines, so helped me out with the setting and writing down of some tangible goals.
Alongside “Knowing how to use gym equipment” I also wrote, “Being able to carry two growlers of One Eyed IPA from Stomping Ground to the car without collapsing.”
My third goal was to “Get fit for holidays”. Seems pretty standard, I hear you think. But this one’s not the bikini body type goal. My main concern was how could I get my body fit for the onslaught of a looming beer-filled Scottish holiday?
In addition, my personal trainer has been educating me on all the things that can assist with developing the healthy body, such as optimal workout times, Lululemon sales, pressure points, almonds, not eating the whole tub of cottage cheese in one sitting, etc.
They’ve also told me about bargaining and rewards when you’re in the middle of a hard workout, to motivate you to go that extra mile. You know, things like “20 more squats will get me that post workout glow for today’s Instagram selfie,” or seven more minutes on the bike and I’ll reward myself with some new underwear from Uniqlo.
I’ve adopted this technique during my workouts when I need that little bit extra motivation to keep going, and it’s been rather effective. Here are a couple of little bargains I have with myself:
If I actually work up a sweat boxing, much like I imagine a lion and a bear would if they fought each other, I can seek out a Firestone Leo v. Ursus Fortem and raise it above my head in sweaty victory.
When I feel my lat muscles burn from lifting weights, and feel I can’t go on, I pretend I’m Roger Ramjet and I’m super strong and I can then get through two more sets. I sip on a delightful Boatrocker Imperial Stout as I recall this little trick to my pub cronies the following night.
If I complete three sets of lunges, squats and leg presses, I’m allowed to eat something. I refer to my notes that tell me I need a balanced diet so I reward myself with some healthy fruit, such as a Fixation Squish Citrus IPA.
I am permitted to buy a Dogfish 60 Minute IPA to accompany dinner if I stay at the gym for longer than 20 minutes. The trick with this one is I also must actually exercise, I can’t just hang around like a dog, watching the clock.
As I look back on the past few weeks of my fledgling gym career, it’s obvious to me that I can’t get rid of beer, because it brings me joy. I also should really keep exercising, because if I don’t, I soon won’t be alive to drink all the delicious beer that brings me joy. I’m also learning that it’s not overly wise to consume a 10.8% Stone RuinTen Triple IPA after an hour gym workout. So tasty, so delicious, so asleep five minutes after consumption.
There are also ways that beer and exercise are complementing each other in my new fitness regime.
Carrying kettle bells from one end of the gym to the other makes carrying those Stomping Ground growlers to the car a breeze, and some Friday nights, instead of lifting pints, I’m lifting weights. In only a short period of time, I can now leap off the couch without squealing like a pig to grab another delicious healthy beer.
As for my Scotland Sojourn, I’m packing the walking shoes for some sweet hikes in the highlands…and I’ve marked off all the BrewDog locations on the map too, I don’t want to be exercising all holiday. Everything in moderation.