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How to Drink Alcohol and Maintain Fitness

You’ve been working hard to see the results you want and then, uh oh, a big partying holiday is coming up. Or happy hour with colleagues. It could be your friend’s birthday. Maybe it’s just a regular old Tuesday. If you like to partake in “the libations” you will be faced with the possibility of drinking while working on your fitness goals.

For years I’d drink alcohol and not consider it’s contents. It wasn’t until well after I’d gotten serious about my eating habits that I realized I also needed to pay attention to what I was drinking and how often. I’d order some of the sweetest, flavorful, and fruity ass drinks and pair them with some of the heaviest foods ever to help soak up the liquor. Once I got focused I understood that liquor was just as much of a problem as food. So I shifted and began to cut back. I learned how to enjoy a few drinks a week and still see progress. Now I drink even less. Drinking takes a bit of planning when you have  fitness goals. It’s not hard. Just like with eating, you have to think ahead of time. Have a game plan. As I stated in Eating 101, liquor has it’s share of energy. Yes, alcohol contributes to your daily caloric intake. It may be wise to avoid it all together, especially in the beginning of your journey, but if we’re all honest with ourselves that may not happen. So instead of just showing up and showing out at the party let’s look at how not to mess up your progress. Pre-game

Rum & diet Coke (65 cals); Hurricane (250 cals)

If your first thought was getting with your friends ahead of the party for shots, lol no. When you have goals, you’ve gotta start days ahead of time. A few days before having alcohol you should increase your water intake. Hopefully you’re already drinking at least half a gallon of water a day. You want to be adequately hydrated. Alcohol makes you pee way more than usual. So, if you’re not properly hydrated, before you drink, you’ll definitely feel it with a headache, muscle cramps, and spasms the next day. Prior to drinking, you should have a full balanced meal. This will help to ward off the drunken munchies (the urge to eat everything horrible while drinking). Game Time

Piña Colada in Pineapples. Stay away!

The problem with drinking alcohol, specifically liquor, is that the drinks are usually mixed and loaded with sugar. Drinking alcohol is perfectly fine until you add all of the juices, sodas, and syrups. Instead of ordering a margarita


pick something like tequila on the rocks with a splash of club soda (or a tablespoon of agave) and a lime. See what I did there? Those mixers are the problem, not the liquor. Think about it like this, a 10 oz piña colada wine cooler has about 290 calories and 44g of sugar alone. That’s more calories and sugar than a chocolate glazed Krispy Kreme donut (about 250 calories and 38g of sugar). So if you’ve given up donuts and other bad carby goodness it doesn’t even matter if you’re making poor liquor choices. Drinking mixed drinks will cancel any progress you’ve had by avoiding the good carb loaded junk foods. Also, avoiding the added sugary mixes you’ll avoid getting the drunken munchies. When choosing beers it’s simple, choose low carb options. I hate the bloat it gives so I stay away from it. I may sip it just for a taste. I should note that when you drink your body wants to get rid of the liquor first. This means your body is gonna focus on the liquor instead of burning the food you’ve consumed. If it’s not being burned it will be stored to “possibly” be used for later. So, try to avoid snacking while drinking. If you’re having dinner with drinks, ehhh well I’d say just avoid mixed drinks. I want to add that you should drink in moderation. Also, have water in between drinks. This will help to rehydrate you, keep you full, and slow down your drinking. Main points - Stay away from mixed drinks - Drink in moderation - Drink a glass of water between drinks (a shot is the same as a drink) - Beer: opt for low carb options


Post-game

Water is your best friend. Especially alkaline water. Drink plenty of it after a night of drinking. It will rehydrate you, flush out the toxins, and neutralize the acid in your body caused by the liquor (if you get acid reflux, here’s your cure). If you normally fast in the morning I’d leave it up to you whether or not you eat breakfast. Some times I was ok with fasting after a night of drinking and some days I felt like I needed to eat breakfast to feel better. I’d go for eggs and fruit. Sometimes I’d need eggs, bacon and hash browns. Go with how you feel but be mindful. Don’t stray too far away from your plan but don’t be in the streets feeling miserable. If you’re not too hungover, which you shouldn’t be because you’re learning to drink in moderation, get out and sweat. Get a workout in or a hike. Sweating also helps to flush out the toxins from the alcohol. You can drink and have success with weight loss and fitness. I would have a few drinks every Tuesday, for months, at the beginning of my journey and I still saw plenty of progress. I’ve come to understand that drinking isn’t as important as my goals. So I don’t mind turning down drinks. Then again, I don’t always let my goals get in the way of enjoying life and there are times when I will have a few drinks. If you do choose to drink though, please don’t drive.

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