A 14-Time Ironman Triathlete Explains How Drinking and Exercise Can Co-Exist
Sensible tippling advice from workout fanatic, entrepreneur and wine lover Tom Lutz
You don’t have to be as extreme as Tom Brady to stay in shape.
You can enjoy some of the finer things in life and still compete in major athletic events. Example: Tom Lutz has participated in 14 Ironman triathlons, with two more on the way this year. And he’s also completed 22 consecutive runs of the American Birkebeiner, the largest cross-country ski race in North America. In an average week, he’ll work out quite strenuously for 10-15 hours while balancing family life (two young kids and a wife who works as a physician) and running a company.
The man deserves a drink.
Lutz agrees. That’s one reason he started Repour. Lutz — who has a PhD in chemistry — used his science background to create an ingenious wine stopper that basically prevents oxygen from killing your wine. More on that in a minute.
The point here is that Lutz is juggling a lot of responsibilities, but he also really enjoys a glass of vino and an occasional Old Fashioned or margarita. And he doesn’t see any reason to choose between one lifestyle or the other.
“For me, triathlons are a passion,” says Lutz. “But I like wine. So this is just about finding a balance. Sometimes I want to have more than one glass of wine! It just depends on what I want to accomplish the next day. If it’s my day off, I might have 2-3 glasses. If I’m swimming at 5:30 in the morning, it might be one or none.”
Due to his job, Lutz does have flexibility when he works out, but he’s still putting in one, two or three hours nearly every day with swimming, biking, running or targeting more specific muscle groups.
That said, alcohol is certainly a part of his life and even his health regimen. “Wine helps me relax,” he says. “And it helps me recharge — these workouts take a lot of mental energy, too.”
If you’re serious about working out but want to enjoy a drink, Lutz suggests sticking primarily with wine (he’s a fan of Williamette Valley Pinot Noirs from Oregon). “I enjoy beer, but I find it more impactful on training. I feel bloated,” he admits. And when he does switch to other drinks, he is careful. “I like a salty rim with my margarita, but I’ll notice how much it impacts things like water retention.”
In a way, Lutz’s lifestyle — fitness, family, entrepreneurship, oenophile — was ideal for the creation of Repour. More than just a wine stopper, the device keeps out all the oxygen from your wine bottle. “Oxygen is your frenemy with wine,” says Lutz. “It helps it age and brings out vintage characteristics, but then it becomes your enemy and turns your wine into vinegar. So the only way to keep your wine fresh is to get rid of it.”
Most wine preservation products, like pumps, can’t do that entirely. But Lutz put on his chemistry hat and figured out a way to introduce a packet that acts as an oxygen sponge (the key ingredient here is iron) into his stopper. “It’s science, but think of it like that pack that comes with your beef jerky,” he says. “It’s an oxygen absorber. The food industry has been doing something like this since the ‘70s. I just tweaked it.”
In a way, his device works as a moderation tool as well. “If I want to open a bottle of wine on, say, a Tuesday night, I know I don’t have to finish it or pour it down the drain. I can save most of it for another day.”