One of the biggest struggles our clients have when it comes to staying on track is how to manage their alcohol consumption. We get it — we’re social beings and most social events involve alcohol.
If you account for it correctly, it’s totally doable to have an occasional drink and still progress towards your goals. But, you have to be honest with yourself. If your goal is truly fat loss, it’s going to require that sometimes you order a seltzer and lime, and not all the cocktails your friends are drinking.
So here’s how to drink and still progress towards your goals:
HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS THE BODY + FAT LOSS
⚡When we have alcohol in our system, our body may not metabolize protein, carbohydrates, and fats. So, food eaten in the presence of alcohol may just get stored as fat.
⚡Drinking alcohol will lead to a decrease in performance. It can influence hydration, aerobic performance, as well as the recovery process. There’s no way around it.
⚡Alcohol may negative affect muscle protein synthesis. What does that mean? It means that regularly having alcohol in your system can inhibit your body’s ability to build muscle.
⚡Alcohol slows liver function, so some of the hormones in your body that were on track to be removed from the body get recirculated back in the bloodstream. And, more estrogen in the blood is not great for muscle building or fat loss.
HOW TO HAVE IT AND STILL PROGRESS
⚡Because of some of the points noted above, you’re actually better off having a few drinks 1-2 nights a week rather than having one glass of wine every night.
⚡If you’re going to have a drink, you’ll want to account for it correctly in your macros. Most accurate way is to take the total calories of the drink and divide by 4 if deducting from your carbs, or 9 if deducting from your fats. Easiest way, though is to say 1 drink = 29g of carbs or 10g of fat.
⚡Avoid high-calorie, sugary drinks and IPAs and stick to simple ones. Glass of wine. Vodka seltzer. Tequila soda.
⚡Set a drink limit before going out. If you hit your limit while the night is young, order a seltzer on the rocks with a twist of lime and no one will know the difference.
⚡If food isn’t getting metabolized in the presence of alcohol, try to keep food quality high. I know no one after a night out is like “Man, I really want a salad” so make sure that everything you eat before starting to drink is protein and veggie-heavy to offset what may be eaten late-night.
⚡Drink water. Getting enough water will help prevent dehydration and the dreaded hangover.