It’s sometimes hard to take care of yourself when you’re a bartender, and the reality is that the job is extremely physically demanding. So it’s especially important for bartenders to try to stay in good mental and physical shape.
Bar Spar started as a way for bartenders to not only prepare for the rigors of the profession, staying on their feet for long shifts and late nights, but to help them take their health more seriously in general. And bartenders throughout the United States and Canada can now apply to be part of this one-of-a-kind program.
Watch Now: Bartender Boxers Face Off at Tales of the Cocktail
Before you do, you should know that Bar Spar, sponsored by Tequila Cazadores, involves more than just the high-profile matches between bartenders from different cities. Events like the alumni match at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans are the culmination of months of intense training for the bartender boxers.
Bartenders accepted into the program will join a top boxing gym and exercise with a professional coach three times a week for the three months leading up to their match. The trainers and gyms are among the most sought-after and acclaimed in the world. For instance, bartender boxers in Los Angeles work out at Fortune Gym, where big-name boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Mike Tyson have trained.
“This is hard, no B.S.,” says Jeremy Williams, one of the trainers at Fortune Gym. “I teach the boxers two or three really good combinations and train them hard.”
Tequila Cazadores covers the training, equipment and travel for bartender boxers.
Usually you’d have to pay quite a bit for this kind of personalized training, but Tequila Cazadores shares the Bartender Boxing Organization’s passion for the sport and commitment to wellness in the bartending community. The bold tequila has stepped up to sponsor Bar Spar, covering the cost of the training sessions.
Tequila Cazadores also provides all the gear, including the headgear and gloves that keep participants safe. Travel and expenses will also be covered if you’re chosen to represent your city in matches in other parts of the country.
Training doesn’t only happen in the boxing gym. Bartender boxers are given a personalized meal plan to help get them into fighting shape.
Bartender boxers need to take the training as seriously as their cocktails.
Bar Spar can also give you the chance to learn a new craft. It’s not as different from bartending as you might think. “There’s a sweet science to creating a cocktail, just as there is to fighting,” says Houston bartender boxer Bill Bedner. “You have to figure out what you’re good at and just go with it.”
The opportunity to get active in such a different setting has appealed to bartenders all over the country. It explains why Bar Spar continues to grow in its third year.
Lace up the gloves and start building better habits.
“Being physical is a very important thing in the cocktail world, considering we’re always out late serving others,” says Los Angeles’ Jodi Calderon. “To serve ourselves instead is really healthy.”
Another Los Angeles bartender boxer, Mitch Bushell, gave a slightly different reason for participating in Bar Spar: “Most bartenders would tell you that after a shift they want to punch someone in the face.”
Think you have what it takes to be a bartender boxer? Apply now for the chance to get into the ring.