Over the next few weeks, we can expect to see plenty of alcohol being consumed by people all over the world. We’re on the countdown to the holidays, which means that it is party season, and alcohol and partying generally tend to go hand in hand with one another. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a drink now and then, in moderation of course, the problem is that many people don’t just draw the line with one alcoholic drink, as they instead tend to consume way, way more than they should, which is not only bad for your fitness progress, it is also actually very bad for your health and potentially dangerous. If you enjoy the odd tipple now and then, then by all means indulge yourself as it’s Christmas, but if you find yourself binge drinking and getting yourself in a pretty bad way, you may wish to re-think things somewhat. If you’re trying to get in shape, alcohol is probably the worst ingredient you can imagine, as it offers virtually no benefits at all, and plenty of drawbacks. Here’s a look at several ways in which alcohol can halt your health and fitness progress.
Alcoholic beverages are high in calories
Alcoholic beverages are generally very high in calories, as just one drink can provide the equivalent of a fairly substantial meal. As you know, if you consume more calories than your body requires to maintain itself, you will gain body fat, and the best way to lose weight is to create a caloric deficit. As one or two drinks can provide as many calories as a meal, you can understand why people that are regular drinkers find it so difficult to lose weight. Many spirits are already high in calories, and by mixing them with sugary mixers such as cola, lemonade, and orange juice, the calorie content increases even more. Then of course, you have beers, ciders, and wines, which are also very high in calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, or maintain your weight, you may wish to stick with water when you’re out with friends/family members.
Alcohol lowers testosterone
Testosterone is arguably the most anabolic hormone within the human body, which basically means that it is essential for muscle growth and repair. The higher a person’s testosterone levels, generally the higher their muscle mass percentages will be. If you’re trying to build muscle however, you may wish to skip the alcohol as this substance has been proven to naturally lower testosterone levels, and to suppress testosterone production. Testosterone also increases your body’s metabolic rate, which means that it produces more energy and burns more calories. By consuming alcohol and lowering your testosterone levels, you are also indirectly lowering your body’s metabolic rate, which means that you will have less energy, and will find it harder to lose fat as a result.
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions
When we drink alcohol, the more we consume, the more we lose our inhibitions. This means that people that drink a lot, as they become intoxicated, will not stop to consider the negative impacts of their actions on their bodies, and indeed, on others around them. Whereas before drinking several glasses of wine, you may have convinced yourself that you needed to hit the gym harder than ever before, and be super strict with your diet to lose some excess pounds, after those glasses of wine, you will take a far more relaxed approach to dieting and fitness in general, and will generally say ‘what the heck’. After a night of partying, no night out is complete without a drunken pizza, kebab, or greasy burger and fries on the way home, so not only will you have consumed way more calories than you should with the alcohol, you then have to deal with the additional calories from the junk food you ate on the way home. If you had been sober, you would have decided not to eat junk as you would have known the effect that it would have had on your body and your weight, but with alcohol inside you, well, you just won’t care, until the next morning that is, where you will then wake up filled with shame and guilt.
The dreaded hangover
A hangover caused as a result of you consuming too much alcohol the night before, is also incredibly detrimental for a person’s health and fitness, because with a hangover, you basically become pretty useless. When hungover, you generally want to lay in bed or on the sofa, nursing a headache and stomach ache, and eventually eat yet more junk when you feel up to it. The last thing you want to do is go to the gym, and even if you do manage to do so, your workout is hardly going to be productive. By not drinking however, you will have woken up feeling great, full of energy, and ready to hit the gym and have a productive workout.
Alcohol provides empty calories
Whilst alcoholic beverages are naturally high in calories, to make matters worse, the alcohol is actually empty calories, which means that your body gets virtually no nutrition from the calories consumed via alcohol. If you were to eat a cheeseburger for example, as unhealthy as that would be, you would still be getting protein and fat from the meat and cheese, and carbohydrates from the bun, but with alcohol, well you get nothing that is of any use to you or your body.