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Diet and Nutrition

Can I drink alchohol and train in the gym?

At RWF, we try and live in the real world.

For many people, training and fat loss/muscle gain is important to them.

However, it’s not important to the point that they will completely abstain from drinking going out and socialising – and rightly or wrongly, socialising often involves alcohol.

Alcohol and training are a bad mix, for the most part.

Let’s assume none of you are drinking immediately before or during training. You can’t fix stupid.

Alcohol impairs your body’s ability to repair, disturbs sleep patterns and usually causes bad decisions with regard to food choices. It’s not simply the excess, and useless, calories that alcohol provides at the time of consumption, it’s the knock on effect from drinking to excess.

Let’s work an example:

You’re trying to lose weight. You work hard during the week to eat about 500 calories a day under what your body needs, generating a 2000 or so calorie deficit. That’s great, and will likely lead to a pound or two of fat loss.

However, you’re out that weekend on the Saturday night.

You share two bottles of wine with a friend, have a cocktail, and then, hungry when you get home, have two or three slices of toast.

The next day, you’re mildly hungover so you have a fry up or a McDonald’s breakfast, and crave poor food choices all day.

You also skip the gym visit you had planned because you don’t feel great.

Guess what’s happened to the deficit you created in the week? You’ve wiped it out, and almost certainly had EXTRA calories over the week. You start the next week at Step 1 all over again.

Also, whilst your body is getting rid of the alcohol, it’s very unlikely to be expending energy building muscle or utilising fat for fuel. If you’ve had 20 units, that’s roughly 20hrs in the week your body is going to spend just getting back to where it all began.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Think about what and when you drink. A small glass of wine two or three times a week will be likely to have zero impact on meeting your goals.

A bottle of wine or more in one go, will have a HUGE effect.

Think about having a spirit with a zero-calorie mixer – gin and slimline tonic, whisky on the rocks etc. Not only will you save calories (gin and tonic, 70kcals, large glass of wine or pint of lager, 250kcals) but you’ll be unlikely to drink as much, and therefore not get the habit-changing hangover.

Most people are going to drink. You know that, and I know that. The best way to tackle alcohol and training is to be honest with yourself about it. The best results will be had by limiting alcohol. That’s a no brainer. But there’s a world of difference between tee-total, and just being sensible about it.

Ditch the ‘binges’, ditch the lager/beer and fish-bowls of wine. Move to spirits and mixers, spritzers and even diet soft drinks. Your results will be better and your head/stomach will thank you.

Or, drink to excess, and enjoy it, but don’t moan about lack of results. Regularly getting drunk *will* hold you back, whatever your goals. The odd glass of wine or beer here and there won’t!

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