What blog would be complete without the obligatory entry about alcohol consumption and the end of year celebrations? Though I doubt you asked, you will still receive. Here is the thing: I am not going to lecture you about drinking. I will however remind you about the AAA Safe Ride Program in case you do find yourself in a little bit of a mess while ringing in the New Year.
So pull up a barstool and let’s chat about the real effects of alcohol on real fitness. Do you remember first reading the studies that supported a drink a day as a part of a healthier lifestyle? A glass of red wine is good for your heart health and all of that? Well I do. As with most college students during that time, we decided if one was good well then we were going for best!
Now that we are just a few years older and hopefully many more years wiser, it is time to take a look at what drinking can do to your efforts to improve your fitness and health. The biggest and most obvious draw back to drinking is the calorie load. Just 5 ounces of red wine is going to add a caloric punch of about 110-150. For the record, your average glass of wine in your cabinet holds about twice that amount. This means when you sit down to have that glass of wine at the end of a hard day, you just added 300+ possibly unplanned calories to your daily intake. For an average person, this may not have an overall disturbing impact on health but when you are in training, or using an extreme fitness program like P90X, your body needs the calories for fuel. Are you thinking of substituting vodka? You still got busted for just under 100 calories. That assumes of course that you take your vodka straight.
The second problem with including alcohol in a real fitness nutrition plan is that once most of us finish that first drink, we start looking for something that the second drink can wash down. I don’t know too many people that are satisfied with steamed veggies as a side to a Texas margarita. Nope, I am having the bottomless basket of chips with mine, thank you! With a large cheese dip. And guacamole. And…
Assuming you do avoid the snack bin and manage to limit yourself in drinks consumed, are you still at risk for ruining your efforts in your home gym (did you notice how I just subtly and cleverly promoted home fitness programs)? Here is a simple list to consider before you pop the top again:
Alcohol dehydrates you. That is a pretty big deal when you are already spending an hour a day sweating like a…
Alcohol has no nutritional value other than calories, and if that is not bad enough…
Alcohol calories are used first, so your healthy nutrition is now stored. As fat. Lovely, huh?
Alcohol stimulates insulin production which also leads to storage of-you guessed it-fat.
Alcohol messes with your body’s hormone regulation. This is not user friendly if you are “Bringing It” with P90X or doing “Whatever It Takes” with Body Beast.
Alcohol messes with your sleep patterns. So if you manage to still have the good judgment to get to bed on time, your sleep will not be as efficient. It certainly makes meeting the 6am workout plan more difficult to achieve.
So all in all, a drink now and then is not going to be a big deal, but regular drinking (even just a little) is not going to be a positive influence on your fitness efforts. If you really want to lose weight, gain muscle or improve your athletic performance, it is probably best to let your wine glass gather a little dust…at least for the typical 90 days of a Beachbody program.