The most important moment in a man’s life is the first time they have a beer. I place it on the list above sex and having a child because sex usually only happens as a direct result of drinking beer. As for having children, I’m given to understand they are poop factories at first, then promptly become loud, and then obnoxious before they resent you for the next fifteen years. If my math is right, it isn’t until after about twenty-five years that you can stand them and the investment starts paying off. Given the instant gratification of beer verses the ROI on child rearing, its not even a close. But the real clincher is that men love solving problems and there is no chance of solving problems if you don’t create them first.
As Cyclists, beer also forms an important part of our training regimen; after a day of crushing our opponents and laying down enormous helpings of The V, it is critical that we give our muscles the rest and nutrients they require in order to rebuild and become ever stronger. Required nutrients include things like carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins. As it happens, beer is made of things like – wait for it – carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins. According to alcoholic nutritionists I’ve spoken to as well as some recent studies, beer taken in moderation is the ideal recovery beverage after a hard workout.
But there’s that annoying word again, “moderation” – always with the moderation, these scientists. Apparently, you can’t go and get hammered every time you ride a bike or the alcohol will have other effects like making you fat, stupid, and bloated. Alcohol slows your metabolism and lowers your impulse control, which forms a double-whammy as after you get drunk and stuff your face, your body will have a harder time burning those extra calories.
When I started getting serious about losing weight and improving my climbing (this was immediately after my first ride up Haleakala), I completely ignored the possibility of giving up on booze as I’d much rather starve myself than stop drinking. But the fact is that dieting and training only yielded limited results. When I finally accepted the notion of reducing my alcohol intake, my weight started to drop and my riding immediately improved. The most surprising side effect was how much better my sleeping patterns became which also feeds into post-ride recovery.
I’ll never give up beer completely because I’d hate to be without problems to solve, but for anyone who is struggling to lose weight, take note: diet and exercise are key elements, but you won’t get there without taking a hard look at your alcohol consumption. I’m not suggesting you stop drinking altogether; drink a beer or two after riding to help your recovery, but beyond that alcohol will get in the way of reaching your goals. Unless your goal is to drink more, in which case I remind you that your liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself.