Why you should care
Isn’t booze the ultimate reward for strenuous exercise?
For the not so exercise inclined, the idea of attending boot camp is laugh-inducing. Sure, you’ll get an all-over workout that’s great for your body, but the subsequent pain and suffering isn’t a big draw. The promise of craft beer post-workout is, and that’s what drew me to a class at Brewery Boot Camp in Denver, Colorado.
For the beer! That’s the emphatic response other attendees gave me when I asked why they put their bodies through hell. And it is a form of torture, as any respectful boot camp should be. In the days following class, newbies will perfect how to roll off the couch to avoid flexing their inflamed core and wear button-up shirts to avoid raising their displeased arms.
Brewery Boot Camp launched in 2016 after owner and personal trainer Lindsay Chavez noticed that people attending her classes would get a beer afterward. So, she and her husband, Paul, decided to combine the two. The hour-long classes take place inside breweries throughout the Denver area multiple times a week at a cost of $10 (not including the beer, of course). I could actually smell beer fermenting at Comrade Brewery while the trainer barked out moves — squats, lunges, resistance-band running with a partner, push-ups that involve jumping onto a box. And the popularity of the brewery does affect class size. Comrade’s once-a-month Saturday morning class, for example, draws a dozen or more boot campers, likely related to the scrumptiousness of the citrusy Donny beer. On Monday evenings, around 25 regulars sweat off the weekend at Lone Tree Brewery.
The beer tastes better after the beating.
While the perk of attending Brewery Boot Camp, which is open to all fitness levels and abilities, is enjoying one of the Mile High City’s brews afterward for a discounted price, you do work for it. The trainers have hashtag nicknames, according to Chavez, such as #IHatePaul. But, as much as people express their dislike for the workout itself, she says, they keep coming back — at least 70 regulars attend classes at the 20 (and growing) venues each week. And the beer tastes better after the beating, Chavez says quite seriously, adding that she finds those who drink moderately tend to be more accountable for their workouts and eat healthier to compensate.
Is a post-workout beer good for you? Marsha Miller, a registered dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, doesn’t want to be a party pooper, but says it should be considered an indulgence, not a regular addition to your post-workout routine. Any form of alcohol is not “nutrient dense,” she explains, and is “considered empty calories that will deplete your body of important nutrients and electrolytes that are critical for recovery to your muscles post-workout.” The solution: Approach brewery boot camping as a social treat … accompanied by a large glass of water.
But don’t even think about having a beer during class. The results will be anything but pleasurable, Chavez warns — you will get sick. Take note: No one wants to clean up your mess on the floor.
The trainers and boot campers will give you plenty of support, though, as your body screams for the abuse to end. I found it to be a judgment-free, welcoming environment — a place, it seems, where people are likely to form long-term friendships over sweat and beer. If they offered surrogates to earn the beer for me, it’d be perfect. Until then, there are painkillers.