Ahhh, it is the most common question I get when I start working with someone on their fitness journey. Everyone wants to know if they can still have their margaritas, their wine, or their beer.
Well, here are a few facts on alcohol that you need to keep in mind when you’re working on your physique:
– increases muscle fatigue and decreases recovery time from hard training
– causes a hormonal environment in the body which both INCREASES fat storage and contributes to MUSCLE LOSS
– packs 7 cals per gram….EMPTY useless calories, meaning your body cannot use them for energy so they are stored as fat. And that doesn’t factor into account the calories from the sugars that are found in mixed drinks, wine or beer.
– makes your cravings for junk food skyrocket, and also lowers your mental inhibitions which makes you more likely to indulge in foods you shouldn’t, further increasing caloric consumption
– Disrupts your bodies ability to enter deep sleep, and lack of sleep impedes recovery AND elevates cortisol levels (the fat storing hormone)
– alcohol weakens the stomach, kidneys and liver leading to serious health problems – particularly if you drink frequently. Any weakening of the stomach will lessen the rate and efficiency at which food is digested, which ultimately interferes with a healthy metabolism and the weight loss process and the liver which processes toxins and breaks down fats for fuel is ESSENTIAL in a healthy body composition.
So what should you do if you drink?
Take a long hard look at your total alcohol consumption across the span of the week and then take a serious look at your fitness goals.
There has been some argument that small amounts of alcohol can impart some health benefits: improved insulin sensitivity, cardiac function, and blood lipids (fatty substances in your blood, which when lowered, reduces your risk of heart disease).
But here’s the catch: these health benefits stem from MINIMAL consumption. Minimal consumption is approximately 1-2 drinks (4-6 ounces each) a WEEK. Not a day. A WEEK.
If that’s all you’re drinking then your fitness goals will probably NOT be impacted.
But if you’re drinking more then that or have weekend binges, you’re going to be hard pressed to see the gains you want in your physique.