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How a Steam Whistle co-founder staves off the beer belly

Greg Taylor, co-founder of Steam Whistle Brewing, spins at Quad with teacher Micheline Wedderburn.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

As a co-founder of Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto, Greg Taylor might be expected to have a beer belly. But he's a trim 47-year-old, thanks to spinning and calisthenics. In June, he will compete in his fourth triathlon: a 750-metre swim, 30-kilometre cycle and 7.5-kilometre run - no doubt celebrating with a cold one - proving you don't have to cut out alcohol when living an active life.

My goal

"I like to maintain a certain level of fitness to balance out my lifestyle and a measurement for me is to compete in the Subaru Triathlon Series and place reasonably well."

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My workout

"I coach myself, but I've had friends make suggestions and I read up on triathlon training. I train three to four times a week in the evenings.

"The longest distance for triathlon is on the bike. Therefore you need some practice on the bike, and I've discovered riding a bike in Toronto put me in danger and I needed to find a way to get that level of intensity without being on the road. I noticed Quad Spinning was fairly close to the brewery. I do 45- to 60-minute spins.

"Before and after a spin, I do two repeats of 15 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 50 sit-ups and 100 swimmers [a back extension holding head and chest off the mat while alternating extended arm with opposite leg]on my stomach.

"I limit running to one day a week on the treadmill or outside.

"In Lake Simcoe I set out a 750-metre swim and do that swim straight on the weekend. I've got a good stroke and nailed the technique. My theory is: I'm in great shape cardiovascularly and I'm fairly strong, I should be able to do most of this stuff."

My lifestyle

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"I have a family with two young boys. I'm up at 6 a.m. and eat a bowl of Raisin Bran with fruit and juice plus I take omega-3 fish oil and vitamin D.

"For lunch, I have some type of sandwich and salad and a beer. I do go out to eat quite a bit because of the industry I'm in, but I never have French fries.

"For dinner I eat chicken, pasta, steak and fish, and have a beer. I allow myself one Coke once a week. I don't smoke."

My motivation

"I believe in goal setting in all aspects of your life and in terms of my exercise I think about something I want to achieve.

"In high school at St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute [in St. Marys, Ont.] Harold Burgin was an excellent cross-country ski coach. My spin instructor Micheline Wedderburn motivates me and [coaching]makes a big difference in your discipline and results of your exercise."

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My anthem

"I want to be connected with the environment around me to be fully into what I'm doing."

My challenge

"Time off to do other things like windsurfing on trips to Maui or North Carolina."

The critique

Jessica Zapata, co-owner Infinite Fitness in Edmonton, recommends these modifications:

Simulate race conditions

"Immediately following two non-consecutive spin classes, Greg should run for 20 to 45 minutes incorporating hills or speed training. One week he should swim 1,000 metres and next week swim 500 metres, but increase his pace significantly. Then he should ride the bike he'll be racing with for 45 to 75 minutes, increasing time by 10 minutes each week."

Ms. Zapata, who holds a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology, says by simulating race conditions Mr. Taylor should expect transition time between each activity to decrease, often a time killer in the event.

Practise race nutrition

"Greg should practise using gels or supplements during long training sessions, in addition to adding a branched chain amino acid supplement post-workout."

Ms. Zapata says endurance athletes need more protein than other athletes and that by ensuring each meal contains a complex carbohydrate and a protein (rather than one or the other), Mr. Taylor can expect to become leaner and faster by race day.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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