We are in the results business but we are also in the ‘people’ business. It’s important to have a life outside of the gym and this time of year for many it will involve social nights out and drinking. With this in mind we thought it a good idea to give our take on alcohol.
To drink or not to drink
There’s no point in dressing it up, alcohol is a poison first and foremost so in the vast majority of cases your health will be better served if you avoid it. However we appreciate that most will indulge a little more ( sometimes a lot more ) over the christmas period. For this reason we’d like you to take the following into consideration prior to ‘letting your hair down’.
- Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram which is nearly double that of carbohydrate and protein. Alcohol offers zero nutrition to the body, otherwise known as empty calories. So straight away the alcohol is taking nutrition from the body rather than giving, on top of this it is likely to contain gluten if beer and sugar if wine either of which we can do without.
- Because alcohol is essentially a poison your body will prioritise its metabolism before it does anything else, such as fat burning or building muscle tissue. This means that if you eat around the same time that you drink the calories from your food is likely to be stored as fat.
- Alcohol will suppress the immune system. It does this by increasing the stress hormone cortisol for up to 24 hours. It will also effect sleep quality, for despite sometimes helping to induce sleep, the quality is severely impaired due to its disruptive effects on blood sugar.
- Alcohol has an appetite stimulating effect along with loosening our inhibitions, this often leads to high carb and fat food choices, think pizza or crisps rather than chicken stir fry or steak and green beans.
- Alcohol depresses growth hormone and impairs testosterone production both of which will have a significant effect on metabolism, mood and energy.
So as you can see drinking alcohol is not exactly conducive to fat loss or muscle building. Therefore if you really want to see great results its important you refrain as much as possible. Having said that if you feel you can justify a drink then try to stick to the following:
Tips for when drinking alcohol
- Prior to drinking try to eat as well as possible in order to accumulate the majority of your days nutrition. This will aid in the detoxification of the alcohol and also ensure you are maintaining your metabolism.
- Try to drink Red wine as opposed to white, red wine contains less sugar and also contains reversatol – a powerful anti oxidant.
- Have water in between drinks. The body needs more water than what is provided in the alcoholic drink in order to metabolise the alcohol. This is why despite drinking ‘pints’ of beer you will still end up dehydrated and in need of extra water.
- Drink Green tea and supplement with curcumin and milk thistle as these all help speed the elimination of toxins through the liver. They will also help counter the inflammatory effects of alcohol.
So in summary it’s important to make an informed decision before drinking to excess over the coming weeks. Remember all the hard work you put into your training and remember the reasons you started in the first place. That being said the better your health ‘constitution’ the better able you are to detoxify and thus get a way with a little indulgence now and then. All things in moderation, have fun out there!