As a personal trainer, I get asked lot of questions. One question I get asked a lot is, do I have to give up drinking to lose weight?
The short answer is no, you do not need to give it up.
Who doesn’t love to kick back on a cool summer’s evening and have a beer or sip on some bourbon with friends after a long day of skiing in the winter?
My personal slogan for life is: SCOTCH AND SQUATS
When moderately consumed alcohol does have some health benefits. The word moderate is somewhat arbitrary, for most people, meaning that for some moderate is a six-pack of beer and to others moderate might be two drinks.
Since alcohol lowers your inhibitions, it can be hard to say no to late-night snacks or all out binges when dieting and drinking are combined. It can turn into something like the scene of the Ark being opened in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
In Raiders Indiana spent the entire movie trying to prevent the Nazis from gaining the Ark of the Covenant.
The Nazis believe the Ark holds an ancient power that will make their soldiers invincible.
At first, when opened, it looks as if the Ark is only full of sand.
Suddenly, ghost-like figures emerge and float around the gathered Nazi horde. Indy quickly surmises that these apparitions are “angels of death” and instructs his partner in crime, Marion, to close her eyes.
Suddenly a vortex of flame shoots from the Ark and kills all the Nazis that have gathered around it.
People assume that alcohol is the “Angel of Death” when it comes to fat loss, that like Indy and Marion, you have to shut your eyes and not look at it (in this case drink it) to lose weight.
Restricting things from your diet will ultimately lead to failure. You do not need to give up the food you love to achieve your fat loss goals, that includes zee booze.
Thanks to the stigma of “Beer Bellies” everyone assumes when it comes to losing weight you must stop drinking all forms of booze, not true. As I said before, when moderately consumed alcohol does have some health benefits. Benefits that include improved insulin sensitivity, improved glycemic control even for those with Type 2 diabetes, and not to mention that studies show those who moderately drink outlive non-drinkers!
A few weeks ago, I filmed myself day drinking. Instead of listing these tips and tricks, I wanted you to see them in action.
After the video, we will cover these tips and how you can follow them to become a Raider of the Lost Bar!
*feel free to pour a cold frosty beverage into your chalice (Holy Grail) while you watch*
5 Keys to Drinking Without Fat Gain
Step 1: Plan Ahead
Know what day you plan on drinking and plan out your meals beforehand. This way you can mentally prepare or actually prepare a protein-rich meal to have before you start drinking. A trick I use is to go out to the bar with just my ID and a set amount of cash. This will prevent you from drinking more than you wanted and from caving in and buying a Crunchwrap Combo and an order of Cinnamon Twists if you get hungry.
Step 2: Choose to count the alcohol calories as fats or carbs
Alcohol has 7 calories per gram but due to the thermogenic effect of food (TEF) it actually counts for around 5.5 calories once it is processed. In that case, you can choose whether to count the bourbon/beer as carbs or fats. If it is beer, I suggest counting it as fat (due to higher calorie content) and if its bourbon/whiskey/scotch take it from your carb total.
Step 3: Lean Protein and Veggies
On days, you plan to do a decent amount of drinking you need to load up on the protein.
Your first meal of the day, or the meal before you decide to drink, should be full of fibrous veggies and a lean protein source like chicken breast, fish or shrimp. This will keep you satiated and help you to avoid hunger pangs once the drinking has commenced.
Avoiding the late-night pizza binge is what we are trying to accomplish here.
Step 4: Drink Water
Between every drink or every other drink slurp down at least 16-20 ounces of water. This will help to rehydrate you as well as provide some sense of satiety if hunger rears its ugly head.
Step 5: Fast Until it’s Time to Drink
Limiting your feeding window will help you to save more calories for booze later in the day. Skip your breakfast and drink coffee or water until it’s time to start your Boozemageddon.
*Apply this rule if you plan on day drinking. If you are only planning to drink with dinner, you do not need to fast until six or seven at night, just make sure to eat as much protein as possible during the day and load up on the veggies.*
*Optional Step 6: Raise Calories to Maintenance*
This is optional only if you know you will be drinking all day and night since it’s summer and that shit happens. If you are in a deficit raise your caloric intake up to maintenance for a day to give you some added calories for booze or food.
If you decide to work out the day you plan to drink be aware that recovery will be hampered. If you hit the gym the day after your Boozemageddon be prepared to have a workout that goes over about as well as a Uwe Boll screenwriting workshop.
I love Scotch and Whiskey and Bourbon and Stout Beers. I enjoy drinking them with my friends on a summer’s night or at a Saturday cookout. I also try my best to stay on track with my current goals and want to help others implement plans to stay on theirs as well.
You do not need to cut booze out of your plan. You just have to prepare for it and remain smart while you drink.
Eat lots of protein, limit your carbs and fats, if you have to have mixed drinks use zero calorie or diet sodas, fast to give yourself a calorie buffer, drink plenty of water, and plan out your fun a few days ahead.
In the simplest of terms, you cannot gain fat if you remain in a caloric deficit. If you can drink and stay below maintenance, your body won’t build a beer belly.
If you drink and afterward chomp down on some Taco Bell, snack on 4-5 palm-sized servings of nuts, or dislocate your jaw and eat a whole pizza in one drunken bite, then you may be punching yourself a ticket heading straight to the Kingdom of the Crystal Girth.
By Fitmo Coach, Robbie Farlow
I am a gamer and for years, I gave up my pursuit of health and fitness. My body became like the unplayed games on my shelf, forgotten and unused. I had zero confidence, my stomach was beginning to ooze over the top of my pants, and I felt like a stranger was looking back at me in the mirror. Then I realized that I could accomplish these goals if I turned the process into a game and made it an adventure that played out like games that I spent hours pouring into. I’m now an online personal trainer and I see my role as your sidekick. A companion who assists and helps make your quest easier to complete.
Learn more about Robbie, and working with him via the Fitmo app here.