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7 Ways Alcohol Ruins Your Results

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Shots, shots, shots, shots!

Alcohol is a consistently popular topic, especially now since it’s summer.

Your social summer calendar is packed! You’ve waited all winter to enjoy time with friends and family at cookouts, happy hours in beer gardens and endless nights around the bonfire with a favorite IPA, cocktail or bottle of wine.

As a nutrition coach, alcohol is a hot topic and these are the 3 most popular questions I am asked:

“Do I have to stop drinking to hit my goal of _______?” [insert your goal].

“If I’m going to drink, which type of alcohol is “best”?”

“Which alcohol has the least amount of carbs and calories?”

If you enjoy sipping adult beverages BUT also want to be fit, healthy and looking your best, you may be wondering how you can still enjoy summer drinks without ruining your progress and results.

After all, as adults, you are inclined to enjoy an adult beverage from time to time!

CHEERS to that NO problem.……..or is it?

We all know alcohol comes with some trade off, but what exactly does this include and HOW detrimental is alcohol to your results?

I am here to break down the truths so you know what to expect and can adjust your expectations / behaviors as you see fit.

In this week’s Coaches Blog, I have compiled the 7 ways alcohol is ruining your results plus what to do if you do want to keep drinking.


7 WAYS ALCOHOL IS RUINING YOUR RESULTS

Alcohol consumption can and will most definitely put a halt to hitting any health and fitness goal for 7 very specific reasons:

1. Slows Fat Loss: Alcohol puts everything else in your body on hold meaning, when you drink, your liver must burn off the alcohol first before resuming all other “normal” duties like burning fat. As long as alcohol is in your system, everything else in your body is being stored as fat.

Fat loss is directly linked to body composition; think common goals/ results like being “toned”, having “firm” arms, fitting into clothes better, having visible muscle definition. IF your goal(s) have anything to do with body composition, alcohol will derail and slow this process down.

2. Provides Empty / Extra Calories: Empty calories are foods or beverages like alcohol containing little to no nutritional value. Consuming empty calories doesn’t do you any favors plus, puts you at greater risk for disease. Remember, our bodies require FUEL to function properly and the quality of what we consume matters. If your diet includes a lot of these empty calories, your body is not getting what it needs.

3. Leads to Poor Food Choices: Drinking alcohol loosens your inhibitions and decision-making skill; especially when it comes to volume of drinks and food choices (if you’re human, you’ve likely experienced this before!). You may start the night with the very best intentions (only having one beer, no late-night pizza or Taco Bell run). However, a few drinks later, your mentality shifts, judgement gets clouded and despite your best efforts, one beer turned into several and it’s a food free for all on the way home from the bar.

Just think back to the last time you had a few drinks and got the buzz munchies. Did you order a big ass salad or hit up that drive thru?

Chances are you opted for everything BUT the veggies because alcohol causes our bodies to crave junk food in larger amounts than we’d typically consume if sober. Do this several times a week and you will end up overconsuming calories which leads to weight and fat gain.

4. Delays Muscle Growth & Recovery: If you are investing time and energy exercising, you are not going to like what I’m about to tell you. Alcohol inhibits both muscle growth and recovery, putting a serious halt on reaching goals and seeing results. If you’re consistently consuming several drinks per week, your body will not recover as quickly or efficiently. And, without recovery and repair, your muscles / body can’t change meaning you won’t see results as fast you want them – talk about a buzz kill!

5. Elevates Stress Levels: Continuous consumption of alcohol has been shown to raise cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is released during periods of high stress and can result in the temporary shutdown of other physical processes, causing physical damage to the body. Higher levels of cortisol also increases your appetite and cravings for highly processed, high calorie foods. This can lead to overconsuming and weight / fat gain.

6. Causes Digestive Woes: Alcohol can damage the tissues in your digestive tract, preventing your body from absorbing vital nutrients and vitamins. Over time, this can lead to malnutrition. Remember, properly fueling your body is key for reaching ANY goal.

7. Guarantees Sh!tty Sleep: Though drinking can initially make you fall asleep faster, alcohol disrupts your normal sleep cycle, preventing you from getting the quality rest your body needs.

Why does this matter?

Sleeping less than 7.5 hours of sleep per night puts you at a greater risk of heart attack, stroke and insulin resistance/glucose intolerance. This alone can lead to Type 2 Diabetes not to mention, research shows adults who sleep less than 7 hours per night tend to have a higher BMI and Body Fat.

When you don’t get proper sleep, you are more likely to crave highly processed foods, be less productive and lack the energy and focus to exercise.


SMART TACTICS FOR DRINKING

Ok Coach Amie, what you are saying is, drink alcohol in moderation…but what does that even mean?!

A “moderate” amount of alcohol for men is up to 2 drinks per day and for women, 1 drink per day.

It’s no surprise that number can add up quickly if you have a social calendar or look forward to that glass of wine at dinner. If alcohol is something that helps you unwind or decompress, try replacing it with an active recovery tactic like walking, stretching, yoga, or meditating.

You also have the option of not consuming alcohol as well. Perhaps try switching alcohol out for sparkling water if you feel out of place not having a drink in a social situation. Or, try one of the mocktail recipes posted below!

Sometimes it’s more of the habit – holding and sipping – we find most comforting when at home or in a social setting.

If you do decide to have alcoholic drinks, have a game plan by using these tactics:

  1. Prime your body with nutrients! Use the other hours of your day to focus on consuming lean proteins and plenty of vegetables.

  2. Limit your intake: Choose the number of drinks you plan on having and stick to that number.

  3. Hydrate! Be sure to stay hydrated and have a glass of water between each drink.

  4. Avoid sugary mixers + cocktails: Remember that whole thing about empty calories? Not all drinks are created equal- do your best to avoid the super fun drinks because these contain hundreds of excess calories and will dehydrate you super quick:

  • Margaritas

  • Daiquiris

  • Sex on the Beach

  • Long Island Iced Teas

  • Piña Coladas

  • Mai Tai’s

  • Flavored Martinis

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if consuming moderate amounts of alcohol is worth the trade-off.


CHEERS TO MOCKTAILS!

The perfect alternatives to cocktails! MOCKTAILS is where it’s at and you can go as simple as sparkling water infused with fresh fruit or coconut water infused with fruit as well. If you are looking for something a little more refreshing, here are a few mocktail recipes to try out.

BLOOD ORANGE SPRTIZER

  • 4 ounces fresh-squeezed blood orange juice

  • 4 ounces plain coconut water

  • ½ lime, juiced

  • 2 ounces seltzer water

  • Crushed ice

Fill glass with crushed ice. Add blood orange juice, lime juice, coconut water, and stir until combined.

WATERMELON LIME MARGARITA

  • 4 cups frozen, diced watermelon

  • 2 fresh limes, juiced

  • 1 cup water

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add additional water to achieve desired consistency. Pour into salt-rimmed glass.

BLUEBERRY MOJITO

  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries

  • 4 mint leaves

  • ½ fresh lime, juiced

  • 1 cup plain coconut water

  • Ice

Muddle blueberries, mint and lime juice. Add this to a cocktail shaker with remaining ingredients. Shake well and pour over ice.

VIRGIN PALOMA

  • 2 ounces fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup

  • Sparkling water

  • Ice

  • Grapefruit slices, for serving

Add grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maple syrup to a glass. Stir well. Fill the glass with ice and top off with sparkling water. Stir. Add a grapefruit slice for serving.


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