It’s Friday and the weekend is almost here... you made it! Most people use the weekend as an excuse to go out and drink or have a few at home. Alcohol is a way that people de-stress or relax after work or a long week, socialize with others, or use to celebrate. A decent amount of CrossFitters especially are usually pretty fond of alcohol… possibly because we are putting our bodies through strenuous workouts on the regular. As they say, “work hard, play hard” right? But my athletes often ask me how their Friday or Saturday night drinks can fit into their healthy lifestyle… Can I have one drink? How much can I have? What’s the best type of alcohol? How many days a week can I have a drink? How bad is it really?
One of the first issues I notice is that when people are drinking, they are not reducing their food intake for the day. The alcohol is packed with extra calories, specifically carbs, that can add up quick. A 12oz beer can be about 140-320 calories or a 6oz glass of wine may be around 140 calories. The fruity mixed drinks like margaritas are even more calories, think like 650+. Ouch. All those calories right there could be food that will fuel your body for things like your strenuous workouts but instead are being used on alcohol. People often eat while drinking just out of habit rather than hunger, adding more extra calories to their daily intake. Over time, this equals weight gain & an unhappy camper.
How else does alcohol hinder our fitness goals?
With all that in mind, moderation is key. If you are going to have a drink every so often, so be it. Just be aware how these drinks over time can alter your fitness and health goals. If you are putting in all the work and still not seeing results you desire, take a second to look at your alcohol consumption. This might mean you need to give up alcohol for a certain period of time or limit yourself to one drink a week. Start small. If you drink 3-4 days a week, start by decreasing to two days a week. Once you do this consistently, decrease to one night a week. Maybe you can get down to just one drink a week and so on. Also, this might mean swapping out that mixed drink including sugary soda for a tonic or seltzer. I know my dad’s drink of choice when he wants to enjoy a casual drink is vodka mixed with either a KillCliff or an O2 formula recovery drink. Be smarter about your choices. Decide what is most important to you… a night of drinks that you regret the next day or hitting that weight loss goal/hitting a PR on your squat in the gym.. you get my drift. At a social event, consume water between each drink that way you will always have something in hand but aren’t necessarily throwing back alcoholic drink after drink.
Asses your goals and make changes accordingly. Cutting back to reach your goals may be the missing piece of the puzzle but we also only get one life and should enjoy it while we can! I make my weekend night out at the BARbell most nights which is where I am happiest, lifting all the weights! But moderation and balance are key. Remember that!
I am passionate about creating a healthy lifestyle for myself & helping those around me.