8 Breweries, 11 Workouts and 10 Pounds Later: My #CLTBeerFit Journey

I’ve never been great at voluntarily lacing up running shoes and stepping outside my house. It becomes like my homework at exam time when I was in school – suddenly I’m doing everything else. Laundry, cooking, dusting – I become very busy. The day after I turned 30 I had doctor’s appointment and suddenly I was Googling “cholesterol” because mine was through the roof. I knew it was time to pay better attention to my body.

My parents, feeling somewhat responsible for my genetics, mailed me supplements but I knew it was time to get serious. I changed my diet and that helped but I had to get back in shape. As an adult I had no fitness habits and just needed to try some things to see where I fit in. One thing I do know I like and do habitually is drink beer and that’s where I started. I challenged myself to participate in every run club, yoga class and exercise group in Charlotte that’s at a brewery. Now, 8 breweries, 11 events and 10 pounds later I’ve found some favorite activities, stuck with them and even got new yoga pants for Christmas.

In the process I was reminded of the communal power of beer and just how flipping cool the people of Charlotte are. If you’re looking for a new spot, a new activity or just want to meet some people here’s what I found. TLDR? Check out the list of classes by day at the bottom of the post.

Me doing actual yoga at OMB Yoga on Tap. Photo by JPK Productions.

Me doing actual yoga at OMB Yoga on Tap. Photo by JPK Productions.

 

OMB Yoga On Tap
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery | Tuesdays at 6:30 PM
$5 includes yoga + 1 beer of your choice

I’d seen the photos of OMB Yoga on Tap and, frankly, was intimidated. I’d never taken a yoga class in my life and images of hundreds of people, mats lined up in the grass outside the beer garden, had me a bit anxious, which was completely unfounded. Once you pay for class many of the yogis go ahead and grab the beer that’s included to have next to their mat during class. Fall out of a pose? Have a seat and take a sip. The large group setting that could skew intimidating is truly one big community. OMB Yoga on Tap features rotating instructors and often pulls in community groups to feature to the class. And even in the mass of people you won’t wait for a beer. OMB opens several outdoor bars to accommodate the influx and getting a beer here is often simpler than at other breweries on a regular day. The outdoor location makes for a gorgeous dusk class that has now moved inside the warehouse across the street to keep warm for winter. You can stay up-to-date about upcoming instructors and classes on their Facebook page and Instagram.

Lenny Boy Run Club
Lenny Boy Brewing | Thursdays at 7 PM, Sundays at Noon
Free + complimentary 8oz pour of beer or kombucha after

The small but friendly Lenny Boy Run Club is a great alternative to some of the larger running groups if you need a bit more elbow room (especially since on Thursdays it starts half an hour AFTER Triple C’s big run). The group takes off from the brewery with 1.5, 3 and 5 mile options down the Light Rail Trail. Lenny Boy features the only run club that includes a complimentary sip with 8oz of beer or kombucha on the house. That means on Sundays you can join them at noon, still catch kickoff and feel a little better about your football beers. The small group is tight knit so you may even find yourself out for beers or lunch with them after.

My view of the Charlotte skyline at dusk during NoDa Run Club.

My view of the skyline at dusk during NoDa Run Club.

NoDa Run Club
NoDa Brewing (old North Davidson location) | Wednesdays at 6:30 PM
Free, beer is on you

Love 5Ks? You can have that race vibe every Wednesday night at NoDa Run Club. It’s a mass of 90s day-glow running gear pretty much taking over the NoDa neighborhood streets on 1, 3 and 5 mile run options. It’ll be the easiest street crossing you’ve had on North Davidson as cars simply yield to this massive group. NoDa Run Club is nothing if not organized. They have their own webpage, Facebook page, Twitter account and email newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter that comes the Tuesday before your Wednesday run for reminders about parking and links to the routes, which you can also find on Map My Run.

Heist Brewery Run Club
Heist Brewery | Mondays at 6:30 PM
Free, beer is on you

The Heist Brewery Run Club utilizes one, three and five mile course options through the neighborhoods of NoDa. All of these can be found on Map My Run so download that app before you head over, especially if you aren’t as familiar with NoDa side streets (or, like me, can’t keep up with the pack well enough to know where everyone is going). I went alone to this group and found everyone to be exceedingly friendly and I had plenty of people to chat with over a beer after. Picking up one of their frequent runner cards is a must if you plan to go even somewhat often. After you get your card stamped for attending eight times you get a complimentary food item ($12 or under). They also offer an annual membership for $25 that gets you a shirt, a 20oz beer pour instead of 16oz and discounts on food and merchandise. The shirt alone makes this worth it. Check out their Facebook group to know more about special themed runs, what vendors are there each week and when they have their monthly birthday runs (hint: there are cupcakes and I’ve had them and they’re good).

Yoga and kombucha at Lenny Boy Brewing.

Yoga and kombucha at Lenny Boy Brewing.

Lenny Boy Yoga
Lenny Boy Brewing | Saturdays at 10 AM
$5 includes 8oz pour of beer or kombucha

Inside the tap room at Lenny Boy Brewing, the tables and chairs get put away and replaced by yoga mats each Saturday morning. The space is small but it makes for a more intimate class setting with NC Yoga Bar who also teach at Sycamore and specialize in yoga classes outside of studio spaces. The group hangs around for a pour of kombucha after class and you can also get a growler fill.

Sycamore Run Club
Sycamore Brewing | Wednesdays at 6:30 PM, Saturdays at Noon
Free, beer is on you

Sycamore Run Club takes a photo out in front of the brewery before walking around back and hopping on the Light Rail Trail for a one, three or five mile route. The open outdoor area is nice for after when you return a hot sweaty mess and need some personal space. The group has its own Facebook page so follow them there for photos and info about special events.

Triple C Yoga
Triple C Brewing Company | Thursdays at 6:30 PM
$5 for class includes 1 beer

Triple C Yoga is held in the brewery’s back warehouse closest to the parking lot. It’s a large space but a popular class so try arriving a little early to reserve your mat space. Class is taught each week by The Yoga Dude who touts “everyday yoga for everyday people” and I really loved his approach. You can tell he succeeds in his quest to make yoga approachable by taking a look at the packed space that included far more men than I’ve typically seen in a yoga class. His classes included a lot of fun and laughter and I’ve recommended them to anyone who has told me they’ve never tried yoga and are unsure. A beer is included in the cost of class but the tip for your bartender isn’t, so bring along a few extra dollars.

Beer + yoga.

Beer + yoga.

Sycamore Yoga
Sycamore Brewing | Wednesdays, on hiatus during winter
$5 for class, beer is on you

In the grassy space between the brewery and the Light Rail Trail is Sycamore Yoga taught by the crew at NC Yoga Bar. I was the only yogi who adopted the “beer now AND beer later” mentality of bringing a glass to class but when we were taking a moment of rest and I grabbed my pint I got a few thumbs up so I feel like the practice could gain traction. The bustling atmosphere of Sycamore will make or break how you feel about this class. On this particular night I found the live music a plus as I’d never done yoga to KC and JoJo’s All My Life. Their Run Club is on the same night so expect it to be busy.

Free Range Yoga
Free Range Brewing | Thursdays at 6:30 PM
Free, beer is on you

The only free yoga class offered at a brewery lives at Free Range. The back room makes for a great open warehouse space and with the garage door up you get a breeze and a view of the city as the sun sets and lights begin to flicker on the high rises. Instructors rotate but I’ve been several times and always enjoy the class. The best part is sticking around for a beer after with Free Range’s always rotating tap lineup of excellently crafted beer that features specialty local ingredients. They also have Pure Intentions coffee and shrub sodas on tap if you’re not feeling a beer immediately after class. You can always expect a food truck if you just want to spend the rest of your evening on their patio.

Breweries do a great job setting up extra bars to handle the influx of people.

Breweries do a great job setting up extra bars to handle the influx of people.

Triple C Beer Runners
Triple C Brewing Company | Thursdays at 6:30 PM
Free, beer is on you

The Triple C Beer Runners utilize the Light Rail Trail for one, two, three, four and five mile routes. The great thing about the out-and-back Light Rail Trail is that you can really personalize and go as far as you’d like. Check out their Facebook page for a map and descriptions about where to turn around for what distance. Keep in mind that on the same evening as the run, Triple C also hosts their weekly yoga class plus patrons who just come in for a beer so it can get a little crowded. They handle it like pros and add an outdoor bar on the loading dock so you won’t wait long for a beer. Still, try to be a courteous human by bringing cash and knowing what you want.

Sugar Creek Tap Room Fitness
Sugar Creek Brewing | Wednesdays at 6 PM
Free, beer is on you

The Sugar Creek website simply refers to this class at “tap room fitness” so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I arrived and was directed over to the brewery warehouse to the left of the main entrance. I cornered a very nice girl who informed me it’s actually CrossFit and then encouraged me not to run away. The class is taught weekly by Metro CrossFit. We started with a warm up jog and stretched before starting the WOD (look at me, it’s like I know what I’m talking about – that means “workout of the day”). The WOD consisted of doing 50 of lots of things as quickly as possible: pushups, sit ups, mountain climbers, squats, etc, etc, etc. The instructor was friendly, professional and encouraging. He did a great job of making me feel challenged but not intimidated or overwhelmed. We cooled down after with some stretching. The group went over the brewery to have a beer after but I promptly headed home and proceeded to die. I had no idea how pricy Cross Fit is so this being a free but professionally taught class is a huge value. A few folks I talked to in class said they enjoy CrossFit but don’t want to do it often enough to warrant a gym membership so they take this class weekly as a change-up to their other fitness routines.

 

#CLTBeerFit by Day

Have I missed a class, activity or club you love? Let me know in the comments!

Monday
Heist Brewery Run Club

Tuesday
D9 Yoga and a Beer
OMB Yoga on Tap

Wednesday
Sugar Creek Taproom Fitness
Sycamore Brewing Run Club
Sycamore Brewing Yoga

Thursday
Free Range Yoga
Lenny Boy Run Club
Triple C Beer Runners
Triple C Yoga

Friday
None on Friday – just go have a beer.

Saturday
Lenny Boy Yoga
Sycamore Brewing Run Club

Sunday
Lenny Boy Run Club

2 Comments
  1. 2 years ago
    Andy Puchalski

    Not a brewery but there is a run club on Tuesdays at 6:45 at the Carolina Beer Temple.

    Reply
  2. 2 years ago
    Jess Baryla

    Queen City DanceOut teaches monthly pop-up classes at Unknown Brewery and a weekly Thirsty Thursday class at Three Spirits!

    Reply

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