Push-ups and l’chaim

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach

As Americans, we love to celebrate.  Any excuse to toast and be happy is welcome in our culture. In keeping with this tradition, August 4th just happens to be National Beer Day! (Who knew, right?)

Beer has been a part of civilization since 4000 BC. In ancient Egypt, a beverage known as heqet was considered a staple.  Unlike the brews of modern times, this beverage was thick, sweet and nutritious, rich in vitamins, protein and minerals.  Children and adults alike embraced heqet as part of daily consumption.

Flashing forward to today, beer features prominently at picnics, baseball games, and fraternity parties. However, the goal needn’t be overindulgence or near intoxication. This year, why not make the celebration a fitness game?

I had a friend who loved college football, and was a frequent guest in our house during Saturday afternoon games.  Each time his team scored a touchdown, he would drop and do as many push-up’s as the points tallied. His behavior was laudable, yet conjured up visions of not-so-admirable behavior as slamming shots during drinking games on campuses across the country. 


This year, if you are determined to celebrate National Beer Day, use knowledge and creativity to your advantage. On average, 1 can of most commonly consumed beer brands contains 100-150 calories, toting along 10-15 grams of carbohydrates. Think about how many push-up’s it would take to burn off an equal number of calories.  This figure will differ for every individual, depending upon height, weight, and body composition. If you are hosting or participating in a backyard barbecue on National Beer Day, wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to perform 150 calories’ worth of push-up’s prior to enjoying those suds. Make it a fun challenge with other guests. I can virtually guarantee that there will be less alcohol consumption by the end of the party…but healthier and lean-muscled guests!  They might even return for next year’s party in better shape and ready for the challenge!