Whiskey Or Washboard Abs? Now, you can have both !
Alcohol and Fitness: two words that are rarely uttered in the same breath. While it’s generally thought that these two things are poles apart, as with most things, the truth lies somewhere in between. First and foremost, it is essential to remember that alcohol's effects occur on a broad spectrum that depends on how much you consume. One pint of beer per week is not going to affect your health (and gains) in the same way as 1 pint every night. As with everything else, moderation is the key. Now, I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. If you like your tipple, then you like your tipple and that’s that. But if you ARE going to drink, then you need to be aware of the effects alcohol can have on your body and overall health: 1. Muscle Loss: On a maintenance or muscle gain diet, you’re not going to lose muscle even if you drink moderately. However, alcohol does increase the chances of muscle loss if you’re in a calorie deficit and chasing fat loss. So, even if you manage to fit your beer calories into your diet, they still might have a more negative effect as compared to other calories consumed. 2. Fat Gain: When you consume alcohol, most of your cells prefer to burn it as a fuel source before they switch back to burning their usual mixture of carbs and fats. This means that your body is not burning the other calories as efficiently, and they are slightly more likely to be stored as fat. If your goal is weight loss, then alcohol is likely to slow down your progress. 3. Impaired Recovery: Alcohol directly reduces the rate of recovery after a training session. It means that the harder you train and the more recovery demands you make on your body, the more pronounced the harmful effects of alcohol will be. Athletes, in particular, are likely to be most affected since recovery plays such an important role in their performance. 4. Effect on Sleep: Sleep is the elixir of life, and plays a critical role in facilitating weight loss, muscle gain, and general wellness. Alcohol disrupts the normal sleep cycle and makes it more difficult for someone to reach levels of deep sleep. To minimise this effect to some extent, it’s a good practice to sober up before going to bed. 5. Hydration Issues: Alcohol consumption causes dehydration. You can prevent this by drinking extra fluids during and after your drinking sessions. But, mind you, alcohol is a diuretic, so be prepared to make a LOT of trips to the bathroom. Now that you know what to expect when you’re tippling, let's have a practical discussion on how you can include alcohol in your diet, and reduce some of its effects on your health. Here are a few strategies you can adopt: 1. Drink in moderation: Don’t consume more than 2-4 drinks at a time. Also restrict the number of times you drink in a week. 2. Avoid the “chakna”: High-calorie snacks with alcohol are a big no-no. Stay away from them. 3. Mixers: Use a calorie-free beverage. Water and plain soda are preferable. 4. Avoid drinking too late: Maintain a sufficient gap between happy hours and bed time 5. Less is Better: An obvious one - try to limit alcohol intake as much as possible 6. The Other Liquid Of Life: Remember to stay hydrated. Drink water between drinks and after you’re done. These are just guidelines that can reduce the adverse effect of alcohol. But keep in mind that there will likely be a trade-off with your progress. Include alcohol in your lifestyle only if you are okay with that. As always, drink responsibly! Cheers!! References - 1.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24748461/ 2.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20575805/ 3.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10840864/ 4.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19079280/ 5.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22254055/