How Does Alcohol Impact Your Goals?
Do you understand or know the effects alcohol can have on your health and fitness goals?
I’ve added this section to give you a few details about alcohol and the main concerns associated with it on your transformation journey.
Alcohol is a well-established part of society: it is something that has become as acceptable as eating and breathing. It’s a social facilitator with a feel-good factor that is continually increasing on mass.
Study after study shows that alcohol can diminish performance, mental impairment, creates possible addiction, diabetes and liver disease to varying degrees. Not good!
However, people still enjoy it’s sedating influence, and without a doubt, it does play a vital role in many of society’s traditions and practices.
I’m merely looking to discuss and outline the impact this feel-good toxin has on the body and how it can affect you more than you realise.
Ever heard of empty calories?
I’m sure you all have but do you understand why we use such a phrase?
Unlike macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, alcohol supplies excess calories without nutrition – empty calories. To make matters worse, if alcohol is consumed with carbohydrates, fats and proteins, alcohol will be the FIRST fuel (energy supply) to be used as energy. This postpones the fat-burning process, and as a result, this can lead to higher fat storage.
So basically whenever alcohol is consumed, your body will not burn fat! That being said, it does not stop the weight loss process; it merely postpones it. Alcohol does not store as glycogen, and you will immediately go back into ketosis/lipolysis after the alcohol is used up.
Here are some facts and the main concerns associated with alcohol:
1. Alcohol Supplies Almost Twice As Many Calories As Protein & Carbohydrates.
At seven calories per gram, alcohol supplies almost twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrates. Calories in alcohol lack the nutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism and will, therefore, hasten fat storage.
Alcoholic drinks also tend to contain calories from other sources, which add to the overall calorific intake. Cocktails, for example, tend to contain higher levels of fats. Wine and beer both have high carbohydrate content. But beer/lager/ale contains more carbohydrates and less alcohol than wine, so those choices are more fattening due to the higher energy content.
2. Alcohol Loosens Inhibitions & Increases Appetite.
When we drink, and I’m a victim of this as well, people will usually not stop to consider the impact the alcohol is having on loosening their inhibitions.
A key example of this is the relaxed thinking state it puts us in. How many of us eat more of the wrong kinds of food without thinking of the consequences when we drink alcohol?
We do this because alcohol tends to have an appetite-stimulating effect as it provides little in the way of nutrition, leaving a craving for other foods at the time of consumption. Add this to the fact that fatty and salty foods tend to accompany most occasions featuring alcohol, combined with the loosening of the disciplined mindset and boom; you have a recipe for disaster.
3. Alcohol Can Damage The Stomach.
Alcohol is a by-product of yeast digestion: it can have an irritating effect on the lining of the stomach and gradually weaken the kidneys and liver functioning ability, leading to serious health problems and even death in certain extreme cases.
Any weakening of the stomach will lessen the rate and efficiency at which food is digested and utilised, which ultimately interferes with a healthy metabolism and the fat loss process.
4. Alcohol Lowers Testosterone. Key point and fact!
Testosterone, which is one of the most powerful fat loss tools, is reduced whenever alcohol is consumed, halting its full potential as a fat burner. It is also an anabolic hormone, which contributes to gains in lean muscle mass. Lowered testosterone means fewer muscle gains and less muscle means a reduced metabolic rate.
I hope we’re beginning to see the picture here. It’s not rocket science. A lower metabolic rate will make the job of losing fat so much harder.
So based on all this, what are the best alcohol choices?
Alcohol taste is a personal matter. I find clients will usually choose what they like when it comes to taste, rather than what I advise them based on the health content of the drink.
A few tips I try to implement on myself and pass onto my clients are:
- Drink alcohol with a lower caloric value and a higher alcohol percentage (like a spirit such as vodka or gin, for example). Less will be consumed, meaning lower overall calorie consumption.
- Avoid high-calorie liqueurs. These are incredibly deceptive (they taste so good) and will add enormously to overall caloric content.
- Keep healthy food on hand when drinking. As mentioned, drinking will relax the inhibitions and cause one to compromise ones nutritional habits.
- If drinking beer, try a lower calorie-light alternative.
- Drink water between alcoholic drinks, which will increase feelings of fullness and may help to prevent overconsumption of alcohol and help keep you hydrated as best as possible.
On a final note, alcohol decreases the body’s production of antidiuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. With less antidiuretic hormone available, your body loses more fluid than usual through increased urination, which leads to dehydration.
As mentioned previously dehydration affects you in many ways. Dehydration can also dehydrate the eyes, which during golf can affect your vision and judgement, especially with regards to putting.
However, with all this being said, I love a drink or two now and then. But if you’re serious about changing your body shape and improving your game, you need to consider the adverse effects drinking can have.