Booze and fat loss
Ok, there is no point denying it, we are into the Christmas season, despite the fact it’s only mid-November. That means the gym sessions start being less of a priority in favour of drinking booze and eating your body weight in food every other day!
Like I wrote in my last blog guys this situation can be avoided by very simple tricks like tracking and planning your meals ahead, ensuring that you still eat all your favourite foods while hitting your macros every day. Now let’s talk about booze and fat loss! I get asked about this topic a lot. The simple answer is its doable and you can minimise the damage you do to your body by doing it responsibly and not like a 14 year old out to prove to his mates how hard he is!
First thing I need to say is alcohol in general is not your friend when you are trying to stay lean, strong and healthy, I think most people will understand this. Regardless let me explain why. First of all let’s look at it from the most basic perspective. Calories matter! For each gram of alcohol you are getting 7 very empty calories.
Remember guys that’s a gram of alcohol not a gram of your chosen drink unless you like to chill with a jar of 100% pure alcohol, in which case I imagine your nights never last long enough do any real calorific damage. Apart from the calories delivered by the alcohol alone some drinks will have an amount of carbohydrates on top of that as well, depending on the type of the drink. Usually the stronger drinks will have less added carbs like Whisky, Vodka, Gin, Tequila, then the medium group like malt liquors and wine, followed by pretty much the most calorific only because of the way its consumed - (pints) Beer! So apart from the calories we have a few other things happening when hitting the booze.
Most people think that the next day hangover is the only thing they should be worried about, however the negative effects of alcohol on your body can easily spread across a few days depending on the amount and frequency we drink with.
Some of the most common and proven side effects of drinking are lowered testosterone, downgraded liver function, brain function, Inflammation in our bodies goes up, water retention and all of these things matter a lot when it comes to maintaining a lean physique, getting lean, gaining muscle, maintaining muscle mass, performance in the gym. All of these things can add up.
Like I said in the beginning there might be a way of minimising all the negative effects providing that we don’t binge or try to outsmart how our bodies work.
Ok so here is the fun part! The leaner you get the more you can manipulate your macro nutrients and experiment with alcohol, I still wouldn’t go over one top two nights a week where you have a beverage of your choice.
As with all treats we need to account for them! There is no free ride! After we pick a day of the week that we want to enjoy our booze we need to make sure we agree on the quantity and type and actually fill in my fitness pal with the couple of glasses.
Next off - protein intake! Make sure your daily protein allowance is entered into the calorie and macro tracker right next to your drinks. Then you top up the remaining calories with fat and carbohydrate. Presto you should be at your daily allowance of macros with fully charged protein intake, a couple of drinks and some carbs and fat. If you are going out for a meal pre-drinks make sure you create a slightly more of a calorie deficit over a couple of days, cutting your carbohydrates and fat slightly, let’s say by 100kcal from each a day. On the macro/calorie front that’s all I would advise. Make sure that the drink is not extra kcal added on top of your allowance.
On the weeks you choose to have some alcohol you should put extra effort on staying well hydrated and making sure that fruit and vegetable intake is up! I would also invest in a greens powder and add extra nutrients to our diet. On the booze day make sure you have minimum 3 litres of water throughout the first part of the day to build up your hydration levels, then in the afternoon at least another litre. When all the celebrations are done, all the drink downed and food eaten it’s time to lay a foundation for faster recovery!
When you get back home make sure to drink 1 litre of good quality mineral water (high mineral content). I would also advise on taking some sort of mineral supplement! I usually just go for a big dose of ZMA (zinc, magnesium and fit.B). An extra dose of vitamin B before going to bed should make you feel a bit better the next day as well!
So here is my recipe for controlled alcohol intake and meeting your body composition goals! The system has been tried and tested with myself and a lot of my clients. As long as you stick to the principals and make sure to log and plan everything in advance. It should allow you to have a more social way of meeting your fitness goals as well as not feeling like you’re doing something that is not sustainable!