Have you ever wondered if alcohol really impairs your ability to get fit, healthy and looking radiant?
Let’s say that a client of mine goes out and has two lite beers and two shots. On average, that might be about 450 calories. As you might imagine, those extra calories add up quickly, and can put a halt on any fat loss goals in a hurry. Not only is it easy to consume too many excess calories when drinking alcohol; alcohol also puts the body in a state not conducive for fat burning and muscle building. Alcohol intake spikes insulin levels (which can lead to fat storage), and then can quickly drop a person into a hypoglycemic state where they continue to crave sugary drinks and junk food.
In addition, although it’s hard to come to any firm conclusions, scientific research suggests that alcohol drops testosterone levels in both sexes. Lower testosterone equates to less muscle and more fat. Too much alcohol can literally make a man less of a man, and can lower a woman’s sex drive as well. Oh…the misery! What is this world coming to?
Remember that one glass of wine will take at least 7-10 days to fully leave your body. This also applies if you’re in good health and in good physical condition. If not, it may take longer then that…
Alcohol can reduce your strength, endurance, recovery capabilities, aerobic capacity, ability to metabolize fat and muscle growth. It can also affect your nervous system and brain. Long term use can cause severe deterioration of your central nervous system. With short term use, nerve-muscle interaction can be reduced resulting in a loss of strength.
When alcohol reaches the muscle cells, it can cause damage to them. Inflammation of the muscle cells is common among alcohol users. Over the long term, some of these damaged cells can die resulting in less functional muscle contractions. It will also leave you with more muscle soreness after exercise making recuperation periods longer.
Alcohol has many affects on your heart and circulatory system as well. You may see a reduction in your endurance capacities when you drink alcohol. When drinking alcohol, your heat loss increases, because alcohol stimulates your blood vessels to dilate. This heat loss can cause your muscles to get cold thus becoming slower and weaker during contractions.
Alcohol can cause digestive and nutritional problems as well. Alcohol causes a release of insulin that will increase the metabolism of glycogen, thereby sparing fat making fat loss more difficult. Because alcohol also can interfere with the absorption of many nutrients, you can become anemic and deficient in the B vitamins. Since your liver is the organ that detoxifies alcohol, the more you drink, the harder you liver has to work and the extra stress can damage and even destroy some liver cells.
Alcohol is also diuretic so large amounts can put a lot of extra stress on your kidneys. During diuretic action, ant diuretic hormones are secreted. This can result in heightened water retention and no one who exercises wants that to happen. Alcohol, although having no nutritional value, also has seven calories per gram so excess consumption can lead to weight gain as well.
To summarize, we know that alcohol can help get the party started, but seriously keep it to a minimum if you want to have a body impressive enough to be featured in the next J-LO video. That lean, muscular, and fit look is becoming more rare with each passing day, these physiques are only built off a clean diet of wholesome foods, and consistent physical exertion.
The more you indulge in alcohol, the more you put the brakes on your fitness program.
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