Dear Fitness Professional, STOP!

Dear Fitness Professional, STOP with the booze and exercise!

There is a movement, a trend, a normalization that I am seeing. I am seeing it in my social media feeds and within the fitness industry for which I participate and work in. It’s dangerous, irresponsible and just wrong.

Health and wellness is a billion dollar industry. People spend THOUSANDS of dollars a year attending classes and buying memberships to studios and gyms. Teachers and coaches spend equal amounts on certifications and workshops. The CDC has expressed how important food and movement are for overall good health and Wellness Advocates shout from their soapboxes how farm medicine is far better than pharmaceuticals.

And then… there is this trend. Somebody decided it would be a good idea to pair booze with fitness & wellness events; “Vino & Vinyasa”, “WineDown Yoga”, “Vinoyasa”, Pilates & Peartini’s, “Women, Wine & Wellness”, HIIT classes at the local brewery… I could go on and on.

As a consumer, I am actually insulted. As a fitness professional, I am disappointed and concerned.

Here are just a FEW reasons:

1. Whether you like it or not and whether you are qualified or not, your clients are looking to you (the fitness professional) for expert advice and guidance. You are in to turmeric? So are they. You are pushing heavy weight/low reps, so are they. You are serving booze after class? Well, if you are doing it (read: advocating it), they are in, too. They want to be part of the tribe, part of your circle, and cultivate friendships.

2. Booze and your clients. Whaaaaat? Do you hang out with your clients at the bar? Really? {can you say code of conduct and boundaries?}

3. You are excluding part of your clientele. Perhaps you haven’t thought that some of your clients don’t actually drink. Their not wanting to drink might be as innocuous as they are trying to lose that last 5 pounds for an upcoming wedding OR as devastating as their son was killed by a drunk driver. Either way, you are excluding them. Those clients have bought in to your brand. They want to be a part of something. They want connection.

4. Let me address the statement you were just shouting at the computer: No. Your non-drinking clients don’t want to come to the event that you are serving booze. Remember that connection thing? It doesn’t happen when people are boozing it.

5. The story that is continually perpetuated and needs to stop is “events are MORE FUN with booze.” Booze alters your brain chemistry. It’s toxic. No really, it is. You are putting something in to your body that makes you lose balance (see the irony?), slur your speech, increases your emotional response and impulsivity and decreases inhibition… AT. YOUR. FITNESS. EVENT.

6. Wellness and Booze… Do I REALLY need to say more? Ok. A few facts:

a. When you workout, you more than likely will need to replenish fluids. WITH WATER. Booze will dehydrate you. This is not a myth. It’s science.

b. People go to the gym or studio to be fit, strong and stable. Alcohol causes stretching and drooping of the heart muscle. (cardiomyopathy) It also causes poor reflexes and impaired motor function among other things.

c. People go to the gym to lose weight. Alcohol causes inflammation in the tissue and organs. Enough said.

d. You know those cues you give in class? The safety ones. You know, the one about “if you have high blood pressure, please keep your head in line or above your heart at all times”. Yeah, that one. Alcohol can cause high blood pressure. Are you warning your guests as you serve them at your pilates + organic pomegranate martini party?

e. You talk about supplements, essential oils and organic foods and then you are hosting an event, serving a substance than compromises the immune system up to 24 hours after consumption!

7. Liability. Have you even thought about this?

So, how about this? Invite a local farmer to bring their yummiest in- season fruit, support the local juice bar, have a nutritionist come to discuss the effects of sugar or how changing just one meal a day could assist your clients in reaching their goal OR just teach class and be present for your students. THIS is what you should be doing as wellness advocates and fitness professionals.

Stay in YOUR lane, Fitness Professional. The bars already have this one. You do fitness, they do booze.

This article was originally posted on Medium.com and ThriveGlobal.com