Alcohol and Fitness
How bad is alcohol for me?
How many beers can I have if I only drink on the weekends?
What if it’s light-colored beer?
Wine is better than beer, right?
But vodka is clear – isn’t that better for you?
If I had a dollar for each time I’m asked these questions about alcohol and fitness, I could retire!
I’m not going to sugar coat this.
What is your goal?
Washboard abs? More muscle? To lose fat? To look and feel better about yourself? To fit in your favorite jeans every day of the month? For your husband to see you and think “WOW”? To look good naked?
Keep your answer in mind and now ask yourself if your desire to reach your goal is enough to make smart choices.
Don’t choose something for its short-lived taste or the buzz you feel if you really want to make a change to your body.
Fat Loss – alcohol slows this process. If you followed your meal plan all week, didn’t miss a MET or Boot Camp class, and then celebrated on the weekend by crushing a 6 pack or a bottle of wine, you’ve sabotaged yourself.
Performance – alcohol impairs muscle growth and slows down recovery of your muscles. This is critical for anyone trying to pack on lean muscle and lose those unwanted pounds, especially because recovery assists in better execution of your workout. Alcohol dehydrates your body, often causing muscle cramps. Alcohol may also act as a sedative, preventing you from entering into the deeper stages of sleep. How are you going to have an effective workout if you don’t get out of bed because you are too tired or hungover, if you get muscle cramps that cause you stop exercising, or if you are too tired to push yourself during your workout?
Nutrition – what nutrition? Alcohol is empty calories. It has 7 calories per gram, or about 130 calories per serving (assuming that you actually stop at one true serving size). Alcohol is often paired with sugary mixers, sodas, or fruit juices, or drank with “bar food” that is high in calories and fat, and is also without much nutritional value.
If you really want to know your drinking alcohol affects you, keep a journal for the next 2 weeks and diligently write down every alcoholic drink you have. Include the drink and any mixers, sodas, or juices, number of ounces of each, and the quantity of each food you ate with them. Now ask yourself if you are making the right choices to help you reach your goal.