Hey Guys! So the holidays are over, and it is the beginning of a New Year! Most of us are looking forward to exciting plans and new beginnings for the year 2016. In addition, I’m sure that a lot of us are happy to get back into our regular eating and workout routines now that the celebrations are over. I know I am!! Which brings me to my first topic of the New Year. I’m sure a lot of us have fitness goals planned for ourselves this year, but I’m not sure if many of you know the affect alcohol can have on your fitness goals… other than the obvious. So, I made a list of the top three! Now don’t let the titles of each point fool you! There’s bits of information in there that I’m sure many of you didn’t know alcohol could do!
- When you’re drunk or while you’re drinking you tend to eat more!
I’m sure we’re all quite aware of this, especially if you’re drinking on a regular basis. However, I’m sure that most of you are not aware that it is because alcohol has no nutritional value, it stimulates our appetites. So not only are you drinking empty calories, it stimulates your appetite for foods that are high in fat and sugar. In addition, because alcohol loosens our inhibitions, we stop thinking about the negative affects that alcohol has, and we also stop worrying about our diets. Basically alcohol torpedoes your diet to put it lightly. Drinking alcohol is a social event, this means that it is usually accompanied by food, and party food is mostly unhealthy food. So you’re drinking empty calories, you become hungry, you loose your inhibitions, and there just happens to be plenty of party food around, so basically set yourself up for failure. But that’s not all! And this is where the not so obvious affects of alcohol come in. Certain types of alcohol like wine, and beer have sugars in them aka carbs. Or if you’re mixing your alcohol with juice, pop (soda), or any other sugary drink, you’re increasing your blood sugar levels, as well as your blood alcohol levels. As you keep mixing, or drinking your wine, your blood sugar levels keep rising. Even if you didn’t eat any drunk food that night, (pizza, burgers, fries, the list goes on) your insulin levels will still stay pretty high because of all the sugars you drank from a night of binge drinking. That means the next day, because your insulin levels are still above normal, you will crave hangover foods the next day. Hangover foods are the same as drunk food, high carb and high fat meals. So even if you don’t eat party food the night you’re drinking, you are very likely to eat comfort foods the next day. This is one of the many reasons why drinking and dieting do not mix!
2. Alcohol Lowers Testosterone Levels
A lot of women reading this article might be thinking, what does this have to do with me? Ladies, even though we have lower testosterone than males, doesn’t mean we don’t need it! Testosterone has a strong fat burning effect, however, this is reduced once you consume alcohol. In addition, testosterone is much needed in growing lean body tissue. If alcohol reduces your testosterone, it will decrease your potential for lean gains, and if you have less muscle, that will mean it will slow down your metabolic rate aka your metabolism. Lower testosterone will slow down your metabolism, decrease your ability to burn fat, and it will decrease your ability to make gains in the gym… basically alcohol makes you fatter in more ways than one. Also boys? If you’re afraid of getting man boobs, then you may want to think of reducing how often and how much alcohol you drink! Over a period of time if you keep up your heavy drinking, you will quicken the aromatization of androgens into estrogen in the body, giving you many boobies. and nobody wants that!
Again, this may seem pretty obvious to you, but dehydration along with lower testosterone levels, decrease your body’s ability to synthesize proteins. Alcohol dehydrates your muscle tissue, making it more difficult for it to absorb protein and grow. Along with lower testosterone levels, this further weakens your body’s ability to increase lean muscle tissue, and therefore further decreases your body’s ability to burn fat. In addition, because your muscles are dehydrated it is much more difficult for them to contract. This makes your workouts that much more difficult the day after a night of drinking. Alcohol weakens your gym performance, your body’s ability to absorb protein, and grow muscle. This will only take you further away from reaching your fitness goals, not to mention all the calories in alcohol, as well as the drunk/hangover food too! Lastly, when your body is dehydrated it blocks essential nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation, and growth. These nutrients include minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. Dehydration makes you feel tired and weak. This is why hangovers suck so much!
So, it’s a new year, and if you have any fitness plans this year, I would consider putting down that glass of wine! Drinking is fun, but it is not necessary. I can say that, because the vast majority of the year I’m not drinking, and somehow I still have friends believe it or not! They enjoy drinking, and that’s fine, but for me, my fitness is far more important to me. I love being social, so I will still find ways to have fun with my friends without a drink in my hand. That is a personal choice of mine. Not many people can do that, and that is OK too! But if our fitness goals are important to you, then maybe you should consider going out less? It is your body and if you want to feel good living in it, then sometimes it’s not worth another Friday night at the bar.