Most of us love a cheeky drink (or ten) at the weekend. And why not? After a long week, I’d say we’ve deserved it. But what kind of effect does this have on your progress?
In short, consuming alcohol on an every now and again basis is completely fine (unless you end up in a puddle of your own sick, but that’s a discussion for another day). If you go out for a couple of cocktails with your friends, or have a few pints watching the football it really isn’t going to damage your progress – as long as this isn’t happening multiple times a week, and as long as you’re training and eating well the rest of the week.
But still, it’s good to consider your alcohol intake and assess it against your goals. I used to drink a lot – as a student, it was what you did. But I’ve gradually cut down my alcohol intake, to the point where I’m now drinking once a month – sometimes every 3 weeks, or sometimes every 6 weeks!
I tend to stick to something lower calorie still, opting for vodka lime and soda, or sometimes I’ll have strongbow dark fruit/strongbow and black.
The problem with alcohol is that it does make you pop on the pounds if you drink it too often. It has almost the same calories per gram as fat, with 7 calories per gram to fat’s 9, and to make it even worse these are empty calories, as in they don’t add anything good to your body. You’ll also burn these first. So while you might not drink that much and burn it straight away, the fat burning process is paused while your body uses the alcohol calories.
Alcohol is also an addition to our diet, rather than a substitute. Where we substitute a normal meal for a cheat meal, we will drink alcohol in addition to our daily calorie intake. Adding yo this the fact alcohol makes you want to eat (cheesy chips and pizza, anyone?) you can see why the weight can pile on if you’re not careful.
But, everything in moderation. Unless you choose not to for personal reasons, there’s no reason why you can’t have a few drinks every now and then. I’ve spent a chunk of the last few years being paranoid about whether calories will ruin my progress, but understanding that because I put in so much effort 99% of the week, I’m allowed a day off. I’m allowed a drink. I’m allowed balance.