Alcohol and Your Gains

Alcohol can derail your fitness and nutrition

Research indicates that, when it comes to losing fat or gaining muscle, your nutrition plan makes up approximately 75 percent of the equation. This includes beverages, from water for hydration to alcohol for recreation. Alcohol, specifically, can play a key role in derailing your goals, especially when it comes to fat loss and muscle gains. 

Sleep Fact:

You might think you are sleeping better after a night on the town; however, studies show your quality of sleep throughout the night is actually diminished.  According to the findings, alcohol does allow healthy people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, but it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. And the more you drink before bed, the more pronounced these effects.

Fat Fact:

When it comes to calories, alcohol has 7 calories per 1 gram. This is very dense especially compared to the main macronutrients:

1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of pure alcohol = 7 calories

Alcohol is the first “fuel” the body burns off.  This means that the body metabolizes alcohol first and stops fat oxidation.  This slows the metabolism and can lead to weight gain. Additionally, alcohol stimulates your appetite and increases impulsive snacking.  Those extra calories can add up to extra pounds on the scale.

Muscle Recovery Fact:

Growth hormone is predominately secreted during the early sleeping hours of the night. Because alcohol tends to disrupt natural sleep rhythms, it can decrease the amount of growth hormone released by as much as 70 percent.

Other fast facts:

Alcohol impairs your ability to get quality sleep.

It slows your metabolism because the body metabolizes alcohol first.

Alcohol has 7 calories per gram.

It halts muscle recovery and muscle synthesis.

Alcohol has been shown to increase the stress hormone cortisol, which can reduce the levels of growth hormone (needed for muscle gains) by as much as 72 percent.

Alcohol is a known depressant that suppresses the brain’s ability to function.

Alcohol accelerates skin aging.  It also impairs your body’s ability to produce collagen (needed for healthy joints, muscles, bones, and skin).