BALANCE YOUR LIFE! – by Gary Regan


Here I am with the first “BAR MANTRAS” post with GARY REGAN, renowned author, Bartender Legend, Mixology Guru and much more..


Max La Rocca, my host here, asked me to write something about how bartenders can learn to balance their lives so that none of us keels over dead after living short lives full of complete debauchery and drunkenness.  And since I’ve already lived for over 62 years, and just (today) got a remarkably positive check-up from my doctor, I guess I must be doing something right.  That hasn’t always been the case, though.

I never saw the inside of a gym since I left high-school when I was 16 years old, until 2004 when I started exercising regularly.  What made me do such a rash thing?  Well, after undergoing nearly 18 hours on the operating table having my stage-2 tongue cancer taken care of, I figured it was time to reevaluate the way in which I was living my life.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Please think about taking good care of your body, and your mind, and I promise you’ll end up being much happier.

If you decide to heed my advice, it’s probably best that you do so your own way, but I can give you a few tips on certain aspects of taking care of yourself, so let me list them here.  Please remember, though, that these are merely suggestions for you to consider.  Nobody hates rules more than I.  Promise.

  1. If you can afford membership at a gym, choose one that’s as close as possible so you have no excuse not to go.
  2. Many gyms offer a workout coach for at least one hour—take advantage of that, and be prepared to tell the trainer your goal.  My goal, for instance, was (and still is) to workout in less than 60 minutes per session, simply because I know that, if I stay longer than that, I’ll end up never going at all.  Ten years later I’m still a regular at my gym.
  3. If you find that working out is boring, think about listening to music, or better still, audiobooks on your iPod.

The next part of my fitness regimen can be hard to talk about, and it’s very personal, too.  It concerns meditation and yoga, and there are people who shy away from these practices because they think of them as being tied to spirituality, and spirituality turns them off.  Let me say, then, that although many people, myself included, tie their spirituality to these practices, it’s absolutely not necessary.

Meditation can be hard to get into, but there are lots of books that can lead the way, and the rewards are massive.  Spending some time alone, or with a group, in silence, and trying to clear your mind and center yourself for five, fifteen, or 30 minutes, on a regular basis, will result in a clearer head, and a better ability to cope with the stresses of everyday life.  And we bartenders have pretty stressful lives, right?

Yoga happens to be another practice I follow to keep both my mind and my body in good shape, and I highly recommend this, but there are lots of other practices you could take up for similar results.  Eastern practices such as Tai Chi, and to an extent, any of the martial arts will probably lead to the same peace of mind, and flexibility of limbs, as yoga, but if none of these appeal to you, then JUT SAY NO!  Then look around for some sort of sport—tennis, swimming, or whatever takes your fancy—so that you have some sort of sport that you can practice on the days when you don’t go to the gym.

And finally, I advise you not to overdo any of the things I’ve suggested here.  If you’re anything like me, as soon as I start forcing myself to go to a class, or have a workout at the gym, I start to rebel against going at all.  This sort of thing requires discipline, that’s for sure, but in my experience, if you push yourself to a point where you hate what you’re doing, you’re on the road to quitting altogether.

Now you can go out and party with the best of them, and balance your life by adopting some new endevours that can help you lead a happier, healthier life.  And in all likelihood, after just a few weeks, you’ll start getting laid more often, too . . .

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Thank you Gary for being my Guest!