It’s Friday! Perhaps you’ll be meeting up with friends sometime this weekend, kicking back, having a few beers or cocktails. Your plan may be to have just a beer or two, but before you know it, you’re 3500 calories in. All the good work you’ve put in at the gym this week is undone. Keep in mind, the average beer has 156 calories and a glass of wine is about 130. These calories quickly add up (not to mention the snacking and eating that also usually goes with it). Your body is the result of 70% of how you eat and 30% of how you exercise. Most of you probably already know this though, in fact, this is why the market has been flooded with light and super light beers. But the calories really aren’t the only thing you should consider and the light beer commercials don’t talk about what we’re about to tell you.
Alcohol and Body Fat
It’s not only the amount of calories you’ll consume by throwing back a few beers, but the effects it has on how your body burns fat and absorbs nutrients. The body is not designed to absorb alcohol, so it tries to get rid of it as quickly as possible (think frequent bathroom trips). But by your body working to get rid of the alcohol, it gets in the way of the other things your body is working on; absorbing nutrients and burning fat. The alcohol is directly interfering with your body’s absorption, storage, and use of nutrients. This also means you’ve slowed down your body’s ability to process the protein and carbohydrates you’ve been consuming to build and maintain muscle; directly hindering the recovery process for your muscles and your body. The alcohol actually impairs the body’s ability to produce pancreatic enzymes, which are needed for the body to metabolize fat. Simultaneously, the liver glycogen becomes depleted and the liver is unable to form new glucose. What does all that mean? It is the perfect recipe for your body to store fat! And creating conditions that make it very hard to gain and maintain lean body mass!
Alcohol and Hormones
Alcohol is also shown to disrupt our sleep. It decreases our sleep duration and increases our wakefulness. When the body does not get the sleep it needs, you reduce your human growth hormone output (which is responsible for building muscle) by 70%. That’s right 70%!! This will really put a kink in the progress you are able to make. If that’s not enough, alcohol also causes the liver to produce a substance that is toxic to testosterone. The production of this substance decreases the concentration of testosterone in your body. This also results in lower muscle mass and definition, which is certainly not what you’re striving for. So before you head out this weekend, keep these things in mind. Without a doubt, alcohol is not a good pairing with weight loss and muscle building.