So this post may be long overdue, but we’re going to fire it up anyways.
With Christmas fast approaching and NYE right around the corner, I don’t doubt that we’re all in good spirits. Work slows down, holidays parties are everywhere and family get togethers are a must. One thing that we all love to do during these holiday times is enjoy a cocktail or two. It’s just the nature of our social times and perhaps for some it’s the fuel needed to get through those family get togethers (lol!).
Alcohol as a whole is actually considered a Macronutrient. It has 7 calories per gram. A few glasses of red wine here and there have been proven to be good for the heart thanks to those polyphenols. Beer actually has some B vitamins. However…
While alcohol is a great social enhancer, there is no denying that alcohol ideally serves very little purpose on the journey to gains and a balanced diet. Lets take a quick journey as to how alcohol can impede your fitness progress.
Aside from those highly regarded polyphenols (which you can also find in dark chocolate, strawberries and coffee), alcohol offers zero in terms of nutritional value (sorry!). It simply provides you with empty calories that will spark an insulin spike. As we all know, insulin helps shuttle nutrients/calories throughout your body for use as tacking fuel. If there is no need for those calories at the moment, they get stored and can lead to fat gain
Impaired Liver Function
Alcohol really serves no purpose being in the body (sorry, that “liquid” diet isn’t going to cut it). So to that tune, your body will immediately shift gears into filtering the alcohol out of your body. The liver is the crucial organ tasked with completing this objective. In order to do this, the liver leaves all other objectives and makes filtering alcohol out of the body priority #1, #2, #3, etc…
What else does the liver help out with?
Fat oxidation. The liver plays a crucial role in our body’s ability to break down fat/not store fat. Once this process stops, we’re pretty just storing excess fat/calories.
Yup! Precious gains will be hard to come by with excess alcohol consumption. The social lubricant has an adverse impact on growth hormone and testosterone, pretty much the two most crucial hormones for making gains. It also spikes cortisol, which is inhibits the uptake of amino acids into the muscle cells, making it damn near impossible to fuel muscle cells when cortisol levels are too high for too long. It simple terms, no muscle repair.
Alcohol affects REM cycles. This is deep sleep for us. Call it the magical land where we dream beautiful dreams and our bodies work their magic to repair and replenish. No true/real REMs during a night’s sleep can lead to drowsiness & poor concentration aka a bad hangover.
And there you have it folks. Alcohol & gains/fitness in a nutshell.
*** Please don’t shoot the messenger ***
There is no denying that alcohol is a part of most of our lives. I too love to enjoy some adult beverages. This is merely meant to arm you with educated information so you can be sure to make realistic projections on your progress. Alcohol and fitness can definitely coexist. But as the saying goes, everything in moderation.
So with that said, cheers and hope you all have a fantastic holiday!