Do you have a habit of weekly exercise paired with eating healthy but are not seeing the results that you want? Sometimes, the choices we make during the weekend can negatively off-set the hard work we did during the week. One of those choices is drinking alcohol. I get that we all work really hard at our “9-5” and we are typically stressed and ready to relax when the weekend comes. However, if we are not careful, the amount of alcohol we drink might keeps us from hitting our goals. If you feel that alcohol is affecting your progress but are not ready to give it up just yet; I’m going to give you some options to still be able to relax and enjoy your weekends, without sabotaging your weekly gains.
The impact of alcohol in your body
Alcohol tends to be a source of empty calories, and people don’t always stop at drinking 1-2 alcoholic beverages. This can lead to consuming excess calories. Consuming excessive calories in any form – food or alcohol – leads the body to store extra fat and gaining weight, often in terms of excess belly fat, or the dreaded “beer belly.” In addition, some studies suggest that a moderate dose of alcohol may impair normal muscle recovery after very strenuous exercise. If exercise and performance are goals for you, drinking alcohol in excess could contribute to injury and impact your goals.
Have a plan
If you do enjoy the occasional libation, there are some things you can do to avoid ruining your progress. First, let me give you some suggestions in regards to your behavior:
- Go into a social event with a plan. If you know that you have to get up early the next day or have an exercise planned, reminding yourself of your goals may impact your decision to drink in excess.
- If you know that you are going to drink alcohol, similar to the idea of taking time to really enjoy and savor the taste of your food, pick an alcoholic beverage that you truly like. Pick 1 drink, and sip it slowly, being mindful of the taste and flavor, and pay attention to the social setting that you are in, enjoying the environment you are in, and people you are with.
- Make it a goal to have 1 glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.
Make better choices
Once you have decided how to approach drinking, it will be good to make better choices when you drink. Mixed drinks are never a good idea as they are loaded with syrup and sugars (for example, a 16oz mojito can have as much as 457 calories). If you know that you will be drinking, here are some healthier alternatives:
- Vodka seltzer with lemon or lime
- Bloody Mary
- Red wine
- Scotch on the rocks
Whether you decide to drink alcohol or not, it is important to realize that our choices affect our overall progress. In my experience, people rarely track their drinks. So, if you have been hitting the gym and sticking to healthy meals during the week, take a look at what you have been drinking. The reason for your lack of progress may lay there. If you need help determining how to achieve your goals, let any of the coaches at Celebration CrossFit know. We will be happy to help.