I knew the title of this blog post would get your attention. The thing that scares or detracts most people from living a more healthy lifestyle is thinking of all the things they have to give up. If you’ve decided you are going to add more muscle and burn more fat, does this mean you can never have a drink of alcohol again? Well, like most things in life, that all depends on you. Let me explain.
Which of these lifestyle situations are you currently in?
1. Your body is your job: You’re preparing to enter a fitness or modelling competition or are a professional fitness model, personality, etc.
2. Health Problems: You have life threatening health problems that you need to change.
3. Healthier, More Balanced Lifestyle: You’re just looking to add a bit of muscle, shed a few pounds, and feel better about your body by incorporating a more balanced healthy lifestyle.
Each of these three current lifestyle situations would get a different answer regarding the usage of alcohol.
The majority of the population would fit into scenario 3, however you’d be surprised at how many people also fit into scenario 1 and 2.
The fact is, you have to weigh the pros and cons of every decision you make. Life is all about the choices that YOU make. There’s no doubt that frequent and high usage of alcohol will negatively affect your health and fitness progress. Lets take a look at how alcohol can hinder progress.
Alcohol’s Affect on Your Testosterone Levels (the muscle building hormone)
Research has shown that drinking alcohol can negatively affect the production of testosterone. If you’re not already aware, testosterone is not just a sex hormone, it’s also the largest muscle building hormone in the body (click here to read my post on testosterone). Even with just a few drinks of alcohol you can lower levels of testosterone, making it much harder for you to build muscle.
Alcohol’s Affect on Your Calories
As you know, drinking your calories is one of the no-no’s when it comes to following a lower calorie diet. So it goes without saying, that drinking alcohol adds A LOT of unnecessary calories to your diet.
Typically alcohol contain 7 calories for every gram. And this 7 calories/gram doesn’t include whatever you’re mixing the alcohol with.
Drinking a 6 pack of beer adds approximately 900 extra empty calories (each beer has approximately 150 calories per bottle). Empty calories means calories with no health benefits.
Drinking 4 single rum and cokes adds approximately 1,200 extra empty calories.
And on top of this…most times when you’re having a few drinks you’re typically not sticking to the veggie tray. Alcohol and refined food like chips, cookies, etc go hand and hand. Extra calories gone wild!
Think about that next time you’re pounding back a few socials!
Alcohol’s Affect on Your Energy Levels
Whether you feel it or not, you always pay the price of consuming alcohol the next day. If you had one to many the night before, most people would skip the gym the next day and potentially binge on a “grease” diet (fast food) to make them feel better.
Even if you didn’t drink a lot, your performance the next day can just seem a little off. You know the feeling…although you don’t have the common side effects of a hangover (headache, nausea, etc),your head and body just feel off.
Either of these situations can negatively affect your energy levels in the gym. And as you know, if you want to burn fat and build muscle, you always need to give it your 110%.
So Do I Need To Give Up Alcohol Forever?
Well how committed are you? Which of the above 3 scenarios do you fit in? Use the following as a guideline for how much, if any, alcohol you can drink without ruining your efforts.
1. Your body is your job
If your body is your job, you’ve probably already given up alcohol and don’t need my advice. However, if you’re networking with photographers and editors of fitness magazines, a social drink won’t significantly hinder your progress (although, if you’re unknown, you may not want the fitness executives seeing you with a beer in hand). The occasional glass of red wine is acceptable if necessary.
2. Health Problems:
I’d recommend you avoid alcohol completely. You only have one life to live. Is it really worth giving up your life, your family, and your friends for alcohol?
3. Healthier, More Balanced Lifestyle:
If you’re looking to lose fat/build muscle (not cover magazine physique) and don’t have any severe health problems, you can safely enjoy 1-2 drinks per night for 1-2 days per week.
If you’re looking to maintain your current physique, then simply maintain your current alcohol consumption.
Health and fitness is not an all or nothing situation. It all depends on how serious you are about your goals. Find what lifestyle scenario you’re currently interested in and stick with these alcohol guidelines.
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