While we’re not averse having a cocktail (or three) here at DMARGE, there’s nothing quite like a beer. Tasty, refreshing, and the go-to spark of conviviality in any setting, it’s hard to resist the amber nectar.
But one thing beer isn’t is a health food. All alcoholic beverages are calorific to some extent, but beer is particularly heavy in that regard. For example, a pint of Heineken contains about 227 calories. In comparison, a vodka soda or dry martini can weigh in as little as 100 calories (especially if you don’t eat the olive in the latter).
Couple that with beer’s relatively low alcohol by volume – meaning you have to drink more in order to get more buzzed – and you can potentially be putting away thousands of calories on a night out from your beer consumption alone.
It’s why most people who are really into their fitness will forgo beer entirely, or choose low-carb beer instead. As it stands, low-carb beer represents 15% of all beer consumption in Australia, a trend that’s continuing to grow, according to industry publication Beverage Daily.
But one fitness fanatic who laughs in the face of beer naysayers is Sydney’s Khan Porter. The 6x CrossFit Games Athlete and self-described “craft beer enthusiast” boasts one of the most enviable rigs in the country – and proves that enjoying the occasional bevvy doesn’t have to scupper your fitness goals.
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“Honestly, I don’t have a strict ‘I only drink X amount of times a week / month / year’… if there’s a social event that involves beers I’ll have some, if I feel like a beer while watching the footy or a movie I’ll have one. I’m really relaxed with my approach to food / balance,” Porter shared exclusively with DMARGE.
“I feel like when you try to restrict yourself too much it swings in the opposite direction and people end up just thinking about what they can’t have. I eat and drink what I want when I want to. Knowing I can have a beer or a burger at any time means most of the time I’m inclined to make good nutrition choices anyway.”
One of the most common mistakes that people make is being too hard on themselves when it comes to diets or fitness regimes. If you restrict yourself too severely, it can actually increase the risk of ‘relapsing’ or not sticking to your health goals – it’s like how people who decide to go cold turkey when trying to quit smoking are rarely successful.
English nutrition and fitness expert James Kew relates that “a diet only truly works in the long run if it is sustainable,” and that ill-considered or overly restrictive diets can “often damage peoples relationship with food.
“This creates orthorexic eating habits as people start to label food as something which is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. As a ‘guilt-free’ food, or a ‘guilty’.”⠀⠀⠀
Indeed, Porter’s indulgence in a beer every now and again might actually be the secret behind his enduring success. It’s emblematic of a happy and healthy relationship with food. It also makes it easier for him when he does go into ‘crunch time’.
“If I feel a little heavier leading into competition I may tighten things up. But that usually means just being more conscious of things like snacks etc.,” Porter explains.
Beer consumption is at an all-time low in the Land Down Under, with spirits and to a lesser extent wine steadily growing their market share. However, the craft beer scene is healthier than it’s ever been, with independent breweries like Young Henrys, Cattleyard Brewing Co., BentSpoke and Moon Dog steadily gaining in popularity.