At one point many bartenders realize that maybe they drink at bit too much, eat out a bit too much and maybe they should start to exercise a bit. So they start running, hitting the gym or start in the local crossfit gym. Here is how it most likely will NOT help and what to do instead.
Once I worked with a bartender who one day decided that he wanted to get in shape, he felt like he needed to do something active by exercising and get healthier. He hadn´t been exercising for years. So one day he runs 2 km, feeling energized and ready for a active healthier lifestyle. The following days his ancle/shine start hurting more and more. Long story short, he ends up giving up on running because his 2 km start resulted in inflammation in his shine, and actually was off from work for a week or so due to the pain.
Now he had the best intensions, so what did he do wrong?
When you work behind your body is put under a lot of stress, if you have read any of our health tips you will know what i mean.
If you from one day to the other start to go to the gym, do crossfit or run all you will do is put extra stress on a already overloaded body. The typical bartender life often involves some of these features;
- Consumption of alcohol (more frequently than normal)
- Little or no exercise – the body is only used to certain movements
- Food choices with bad nutritional value
- Lack of sleep/inconsistently sleep pattern
These 4 elements are recipe for injuries and a stressed body and mind. Add to that 1-3 times per week of training and you are almost certain to get injuried if you are out of shape and don´t start out easy.
Don´t get me wrong, both running, crossfit or lifting in the gym can be good for the body in each their way. There are several other ways to get exercise, but these are probably some of the most common ones, so lets look at each disciplin individually;
Running – great for conditioning, but puts a lot of pressure on the knees, ankles and lower back which are already under pressure from standing and working during a bar shift.
Crossfit – great for conditioning and overall strength, but again puts a lot of stress on the body as a whole with new movements that it is not used to, sometimes even with added weight. Also a lot of the movements in crossfit aren´t very transferable to what you need behind the bar.
The gym – Lifting weights controlled is great for balance, coordination and overall strength. But often beginners do isolation exercises, which is the last thing you need because they will not help you out a lot behind the bar, where your body is working as a whole.
What you need to do is prepare your body when you think about starting to workout. You should be getting your body used to moving in different ways, stretching and practicing your mobility and learning to control and use your body. Bodyweight strength training can be ideal for beginners as it doesn´t involve external weights and forces you to use different muscle groups at the same time, just like when you work the stick.
Moving, stretching, flexing and doing body weight training alone can help you get stringer and feel better behind the bar. Once you got the hang of it, you can start experimenting with other ways to exercise such as crossfit, running, biking or hitting the gym. Common for all of it is; start slow, don´t overdo it, 2 times a week the first 2-3 weeks is enough. Remember your body needs to get used to this new active lifestyle. As you get in better shape it can be a good idea to alternate between different sport, so you don´t just run or bike, as it wont do much for you upper body strength, which you need behind the bar. Other times your body just needs a relaxing short run and not any heavy lifting. Do what your body feels ready for 🙂
*Remember this is a recipe for getting healthier behind the bar – NOT to help you get 6-pack abs or big arms, these will not help you behind the bar anyway…well maybe help you to get the ladies, but thats a different thing 😉