I used to work in the bar industry, where consumption of alcohol was an integrated part of my life, on a daily basis. I still enjoy going for a pint at the local pub and often opt for a glass (or bottle) of wine with dinner, every so often.
So how does this actually affect your overall fitness and ability to stay motivated? Lets have a closer look at various subjects.
When you drink beer, wine, or spirits, the ethanol in those beverages is given priority by your body in metabolism. It stops pretty much everything else and goes to work in a four step process to break down the alcohol.
One gram of alcohol is said to contain 7 calories (unfortunatly, these are considered “empty” calories as they do not contain any nutritiens necessary for muscle growth), but like protein, its conversion into energy is inefficient and so it has a very high thermogenic effect.
Also like protein, and contrary to popular belief, alcohol is not easily converted to fat, but the content of alcoholic beverages does signal the body that no sugar or fat needs to be burned.
Rather than a fat storer, alcohol is more of a fat burning suppressor.
In more plain words – when you consume alcohol it does not necessarily get stored as fat, but it can decrease the amount of fat you would normally burn.
The good news for those of us who like to have a glass of wine every so often is that in small amounts, alcohol can actually be beneficial, much like caffeine. Some of the positive effects can include: reduced stress levels, decreased insulin resistance, and increased HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
However, before you get too excited and start building alcohol into your macros every night, there are several other things you should take into consideration.
The munchies… Yeah you know, that time you had a couple too many and went to town on those cookies. Or, that time you had planned on only having a couple small glasses of wine, but the “couple small glasses” turned into a few more, because you were just having way too much fun to say, no?
To generalize, alcohol makes us crave more alcohol and food, and with that comes more calories. In theory, a small amount of alcohol won’t put a damper on your muscle building efforts, but it may indirectly lead to weight gain, lack of motivation for training and overall tiredness.
Too much alcohol consumption can also result in reduced blood flow to muscles, dehydration, reduced testosterone levels (after cardio), and increased estrogen – all of which are key elements in keeping a healthy lifestyle.
Overall, the message is dont be afraid or feel guilty to have a drink every once in a while. As long as its cosumed in moderation, it has a very minimal effect on your overall fitness and may, in some cases, actually proove beneficial.
Personally, I drink at least 2 or 3 times per week, that being wine with dinner or just a couple of ciders at a local bar. It makes no difference in my physical shape or performance and serves as a positive influence in my lifestyle.
If you are curious as to how many calories are in various beers, spirits, wine and cocktails, we have compiled a short list for you available to download here.
Hope you enjoy this and if you have any comments, please dont hesitate to get type in the comment section below.
-Stay fit around life, dont live to stay fit!