Fitness Trend: Fun Workouts That Combine Alcohol and Exercise

Adding a New Meaning to Your Workout Buzz

As counterintuitive as it sounds, exercise and alcohol might just be a match made in heaven. Not because it's healthy, per se, but because it's...well, honest. "The combination of fitness and alcohol has gained popularity because it's honest," says Jason Wimberley, celebrity personal trainer and the founder of The WALL fitness. "As trainers, we know our clients aren't only eating brown rice and chicken, and we also know that a lot of people dedicate themselves to fitness as a means to enjoy their free time and splurge a little, and that's OK."

And frankly, it's a smart business decision on behalf of gyms, studios, and event managers to give the people what they want—the opportunity to celebrate and socialize after a tough workout. Providing post-sweat drinks encourages participants to stick around, get to know their classmates, and leave with a feel-good "high" that goes above and beyond workout-induced endorphins.

The presence of alcohol has also become practically ubiquitous where races and fitness events are concerned. For instance, in 2017, Michelob Ultra was named one of the sponsors of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. And it's not just major events that incorporate suds. I've participated in small, locally-managed trail runs in two different states that served up alcohol to participants, either during the race or as a post-race "congratulations." In fact, it may be harder to find a race that doesn't provide alcohol than one that does.

While post-workout happy hours and post-race drinks aren't exactly new, the marketing of the marriage between these seemingly incongruous partners has changed. Before, trainers, gyms, or event managers might say, "Join us for a post-workout happy hour!" positioning the alcohol as a cap to the end of the workout. But now, drinks are often incorporated into the name of the event or class, making it crystal clear what participants can look forward to. For instance, when you register for the Bend Beer Chase in Bend, Oregon, you know in advance you can expect equal measures of running and (optional) beer.

So if you haven't yet gotten in on the action, and you're looking for a few fun ways to combine your love of exercise with a moderate amount of alcohol (let's keep it healthy, folks), then consider checking out the following opportunities.


Sunday Funday at The WALL

Jason Wimberley understands what his clients want, so at his studio, The WALL, he serves mimosas after the "Sunday Funday" class that features the studio's signature 123 Stack format of core activation, circuit training, and cycling.

"While most may not even finish their glass, it's become a fun reward, and more importantly, a way for us to connect and hang after class," Wimberley says. "When you're dripping sweat and exhausted, a light sip of something bubbly can be just enough to help you calm down and soak it all in before heading back out into the real world."

Of course, he also emphasizes the importance of drinking water before diving headlong into the mimosas.


bRUNch Running

If you like running, and you like brunch (or really, any meal), bRUNch Running based out of Denver, Colorado, may be your cup of tea (or wine, as it were). The focus of the community's non-competitive training runs is to balance food and fitness in a way that supports an overall active, happy life. Most training runs start and end at restaurants in cities all around the country, with event tickets including the cost of post-run beverages.

And if you can make it to Denver for the official bRUNch Run, you'll experience a 5k or 10k-distance event followed by a post-run festival offering brews, libations, and eats from more than 25 Denver-based eateries. Sponsors include companies like Great Divide Brewing Co., Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, and Tito's Handmade Vodka, so you know it'll be a fun afterparty.


Brew You Yoga

Brew You Yoga
Bronx Brewing

"I see yoga and beer as kindred spirits, both ancient traditions steeped in ritual, balance, and community," says Leanne Maciel, a certified health coach and yoga instructor who hosts the Brew You Yoga events at Bronx Brewery once a month. Maciel goes on to liken the brewing process of beer to the "brewing process" of a yoga practice. "Each time we step on the mat we go through our own brewing process, mixing the ingredients within us, balancing them, and giving them good energy," she says. "I tap into this process, teaching about brewing throughout the class, and then we taste beer!"

Maciel loves teaching the class because many people who join are new to yoga. It's less intimidating to sign up for a yoga class at a brewery than at a high-end studio, making it a low-risk way for people to try something new. She points out that many guys come for the beer (participants receive a tasting flight of five brews following class), but end up loving the yoga.

And it's also an easy way to mingle with other people who share similar interests. "People are tired of hanging out at a bar, getting hit on. [This class] combines things they're already doing, like working out and socializing. They like the unique space, the sounds, and smells. It adds a unique twist to the experience."

Of course, the Bronx Brewery isn't the only brewery hosting yoga classes. Classes are popping up around the country, you just have to search for them. For instance, if you live in Los Angeles, you can find a slew of options on the Brew Yoga website, or if you're in Charlotte, North Carolina, check out the Work for Your Beer site listing.


Yoga Unwined

Love yoga and wine? Then you can't go wrong with Morgan Perry's unique Yoga Unwined classes. These New York City-based events provide a way for busy professionals to make time for an evening workout while also enjoying their wine, and Perry even makes the experience educational by providing fun wine facts throughout the class.

Even though at first glance the combo seems a bit unusual, Perry insists yoga and wine pair quite nicely. "Yoga is all about focus and concentration, which is an excellent tool for wine tasting as well. Yoga also helps us release tension, decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and the alcohol in wine can help us to relax," Perry says.

This is a major focus of her vinyasa-based classes, which close with a meditative wine tasting. "Meditation allows you to focus inwardly and ignore the outside world. With a meditative wine tasting, we take that idea and apply it to focusing on what is happening in your glass, without the distractions that may happen in a typical wine tasting environment," she adds. "If you're fully present, you're able to better concentrate on what you see, smell, and taste in the glass." 



Pub crawls used to be self-led events that just kind of developed as a wild night progressed, but these days you can sign up for brewery tours where you and a group of friends cycle from location to location—completely self-powered—as you enjoy a combination of activity and alcohol.

CyclePub, located in Bend, Oregon, is one such company that actually has a liquor license that covers its multi-person bike pubs. This means you can bring along a bottle of wine and a growler of beer to drink with you on the go (sharing with your cycle-mates, of course), refilling it as needed at the breweries you stop at along the way. These guided tours last about 2 hours and cover roughly 2 miles of sometimes hilly terrain, firing up your quads for short periods of effort. Ultimately, however, they qualify as more "pub" than "cycle," so while they might make you feel a little bit better about imbibing, they shouldn't replace your normal workout routine.

Similar tours are available in cities across the country. For instance, you can book a tour with Pub Crawler in Austin, TX, or Social Cycle in California. Just be sure you read and understand the company's rules before you book a tour, as they vary by location and license.

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  1. Piazza-Gardner AK, Barry AE. Examining physical activity levels and alcohol consumption: are people who drink more active?Am J Health Promot. 2012;26(3):e95‐e104. doi:10.4278/ajhp.100929-LIT-328