Featured story December 30, 2015
Alcohol and Fitness: To Drink or Not To Drink
Many people that like to drink also like to exercise. Many people that like to exercise also like to drink. If you enjoy an accessional drink, and you are happy with your current levelof fitness, then I wouldn’t recommend changing anything, and kudos to you. If you lift weights as a hobby because you simply enjoy it and also like to get wasted every so often, then kudos to you too. However, if you are in this for living a lifestyle of continuously working to better yourself every day, then take a moment to continue reading and don’t let the booze hit the snooze on your gains.
These are some of my conclusions and opinions gathered from personal experiences, observations, knowledge, and various readings on the topic of alcohol and how it affects the body.
There are 7 calories for every gram of alcohol, so with the average 12 ounce beer containing between 10 and 14 grams of alcohol, approximately 70 to 100 calories willenter your body from the alcohol content alone. The carbohydrate content for an average drink will vary. Most light beers contain between 5 and 7 grams of carbohydrates per 12 ounce serving, while others are higher and a few are lower. Mixed drinks obviously have varied sugar contents and some can be rather high. Overall, the calories consumed while drinking excessive amounts of alcohol are not put to good use and will inhibit fat loss, muscle building, and serve of no benefit to long term gains.
When you go to sleep or “passout” after a night of drinking, your body will spend most of its energy metabolizing the alcohol (aka poison) so it can return to a normal state. The typical benefits we get from a good nights sleep…REM, muscle building, energy rejuvenation are minimized. That is one reason people still feel dog tired after a night of drinking, even though they may have slept for 8 hours or more.
Motivation is typically pretty low while one is in the hungover state. This contributes to valuable time being wasted while you lie on your couch cancelling your plans that you had made for that day.
We have anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 different thoughts every day. We dream, worry, fantasize, realize, figure, think, hope, fear, dread, analyze…the list goes on. When alcohol enters our system, our factor of reason is inhibited and we may tend to act out on some of these thoughts. This can lead to embarrassment, regret, and potentially put our personal safety at risk.
True fitness gains are made by remaining consistent in our daily lifestyles. We lift weights to break down our muscle fibers. We eat right to give our bodies the fuel to repair those muscle fibers so they grow in size and strength. We do cardiovascular activity to increase our bodies metabolic activity in the fat burning process. We might even spend money on supplements that might give us a 0.5% increase in the gains we are hoping to achieve.
There is simply no room for excessive alcohol consumption in a true fitness lifestyle. Moderately consuming alcohol is ok, but definitely not a requirement to get your physique to its absolute best.