A few beers after work? Why not. Sure you can join and still get enough sleep before tomorrow’s shift. Or should you skip the beers, have a proper meal, relax, go to sleep without being under the influence of alcohol and maybe exercise before work the next day. The truth is no matter what you believe and tell yourself the second option will make you feel better.
I’m not saying that one shouldn’t do a few drinks every now and then but if you work 5 nights a week and choose to have “a few” after every shift you will end up feeling tired, no matter how much you sleep.
It’s a tough industry we work at. Not only physically but even more mentally. It’s fair to say that finding a regular sleeping routine is almost impossible. Even more challenging it is to eat healthy. Everyone who has worked at a bar or a restaurant knows that we eat when we have time to do so and that usually happens standing up running through the kitchen or the dish room. It has been proved that if you are feeling hungry and/or tired your mind and body will start to desire more junk food, sweets and even alcohol. That is one of the reasons we end up choosing the after work more easily.
During the busiest seasons working shifts are long. We might end up working easily 60-70 hours a week. When this happens we usually start to give up on things we really shouldn’t. It is easy to skip next day’s sport session or a lunch with friends to sleep more. The sad thing is that most probably you would probably feel more fresh by working out or spending time with your loved ones.
I am far from a personal trainer. I am also far from being “fit”. During the time I was working behind the bar I was a sucker for after works. After works easily turned into all nighters and finished when the club closed 24 hours after. To be honest it is still rare for me to leave a nightclub before the last call.
But at one point I decided that something had to change. I started feeling more and more tired. I was exhausted. Some days I felt totally empty inside. I couldn’t find a way to charge myself anymore. It became more challenging to find joy and happy feelings and I was not happy about it. Many days I decided that the next day I go for a run or hit the gym and when the day came I didn’t because it was easier to find an excuse that stopped me from going. What really stops a person from going for a run for 30 minutes? The person himself does.
When I finally got back to the routine of working out regularly I realized what had been missing. It was actually doing sports that kept me on my daily routines. It made me feel better, eat better, sleep better and even be more social. It is actually weird how 30-60 minutes of exercise a few times a week can make the difference. I can’t speak for all, but at least for myself exercising is a big part of being me.
I strongly believe that if we (the ones who are working with alcohol 24/7) decided to start moving more and do healthy decisions our industry would start to get better as well. It is frustrating to hear people talking about bartenders and other industry workers as alcoholics, drug users and looking down on us, but a sad fact is that we are the ones creating all these stereotypical assumptions. The change has to come from the inside.
I don’t know how many people will be reading this post, but I hope there will be enough people reading for at least one of you to think that the writer is total douchebag who shouldn’t try to tell others how to live their lives. But if you find yourself thinking this way you probably are the one choosing after work over sports nine times out of ten and I dare you to try, even for a week, to skip after works and do some exercise three to four times during that time. Then see how you feel.
Moving is only a small part of feeling good and healthy and it doesn’t have to be six days a week full on training, but if you move yourself around even a couple times a week I guarantee you will feel more energetic. Side effects are that probably you start eating healthier and your performance in life in general will get better. But the motivation to do so has to come from you.
This spring we at Pernod Ricard Finland asked ten bartenders to join a group called Fittenders. We partnered up with a crossfit coach and required the Fittenders to commit into training with us twice a month. Each of the participants was given a short session with our coach to define their own goals. Our intention was not to make them super athletes but to encourage them to find joy in sports in way that suited them. In September we are participating as a team into a contest called Tough Viking. As our journey together has only begun it is hard to say anything about results, but what we hear is that the Fittenders are enjoying a lot and choose not drink on Sundays before our Monday training sessions. For some even such a little thing can be huge change and make the difference.
This could be a way for a bar team to find their way into exercising and feeling better. I tell you it is much easier to do so in a group than starting on your own. It is also much more fun. Maybe one you reading this (who doesn’t think that I am a doucheback) would be happy do that with your colleagues? So I also dare you to pick some friends, go for a run, try running stairs together or something else that feels good to you. Main thing is that you have fun while doing it.