One of the toughest issues affecting anyone committed to a healthy lifestyle, would have to be the topic of alcohol. After all, we all want to look lean and mean, but still enjoy life. Is there a happy medium?
Do beer and other alcoholic drinks make you fat?
Can we still go out and ‘get smashed’ from time to time whilst maintaining an awesome physique? Or will beer make me fat?
The 70% Rule with beer and alcohol
A rule I regularly practice, and actually works. It might not work for a small number of the population, but for the rest of us it will lower your stress levels and make you feel like you’re rewarding yourself every week.
Let me explain…
The idea is – If you eat quality foods which are low fat, high fibre, moderate carbs and high protein 70% of the time, you can afford to go completely off the charts (within reason) the other 30% of the time.
By this I mean, you should be aiming for 5 days of your week taking care of your body. Go to bed early, drink plenty of water and try to avoid junk food and those late night after dinner snacks. The other 2 days (generally the weekend), you can live it up. Go out and have a few (several) beers with your friends. Quaff that bottle of wine like there is no tomorrow and order a pizza at 3am devouring it all by yourself.
Where’s the proof?
I wouldn’t be saying all of this if I hadn’t lived this lifestyle myself. Its been a series of trial-and-error changes over years of experimentation that has drawn me to the conclusion that you need to enjoy your life so you can reap the rewards of all of those hours spent in the gym every week. I used to go out and not drink, not order things on the menu with too many carbs and all of these other restrictions all for what? So I can annoy the people Im around by taking my shirt off at the beach, revealing my abs and saying ‘Haha! See I told you not ordering those carbs was worth it! Touch my abs.. go on TOUCH THEM!’.
See it as a reward
You’ve taken care of business the entire working week, so when the weekend comes, its time to live it up. See it as your own personal reward for all of the dedicated training and wise food choices you’ve made during the week. Want that 500gram steak on the menu? Go ahead and order it. You deserve it.
The bright side of alcohol
- Regular alcohol consumption affects nutrient partitioning favorably via improvements in insulin sensitivity.
- Moderate alcohol consumption improves insulin sensitivity, lowers triglyceride concentrations and improves glycemic control.
- Studies have consistently shown that moderate drinkers live longer than non-drinkers.
Alcohol’s Dark side (yes there is one)
If you hit it too hard on the weekends in terms of alcohol consumption, keep in mind it’s definitely going to hinder your training (particularly as you age).
Heavy beer consumption will also give your body extra calories to burn which will of course, lead to fat-gain if you’re not careful. Your liver will also likely be clogged with the poison that is alcohol, making you feel drained and lethargic.
The key is moderation – don’t party EVERY weekend and expect your Monday legs-day to go as planned, and your six pack abs to be chiseled out like a Ken Doll. You’ll be sorely disappointed.
Christian Finn, a certified personal trainer, wrote an excellent article detailing what goes on in the body after drinking beer – or any alcohol for that matter.
It explains how alcohol stops your body from burning fat.
The article is HERE