Why aren’t you reaching your goals? Answer - Alcohol

Is alcohol the reason you aren't reaching your goals?

‘But I only have a couple on Friday and Saturday nights’ I know this is a phrase all to many of us hear time and time again but do we realise how detrimental the effect of alcohol is to us achieving our goals whether they are simply to lose fat, build muscle, ‘tone’, or a certain fitness level that you desire to attain? The answer unfortunately will become very clear by the end of this article.

First off lets look at what alcohol actually is, yes, it is classed as a nutrient but if you ask any nutritionist the chances are they will say the phrase ‘empty calories’ when it comes to this particular nutrient compared to the other three that are around – protein, carbohydrates and fats. Alcohol has almost double the amount of calories that protein and carbohydrates per gram (7 calories) and only 2 less than a gram of fat and seeing that your body cannot particularly make use of these 7 calories per gram of alcohol then we can clearly see why the term empty calories gets used here.

When the body sees alcohol in the system it is using this as the first form of fuel to be burnt meaning that the body stops using carbohydrates and fats for energy, postponing the fat burning processes meaning that more of these calories will get burnt for fat. Not only is this a real bad thing but when we look at the alcoholic beverages that get consumed there is not JUST alcohol included in the ingredients, a lot will contain sugary carbohydrates, fats, so with the body already stopping utilising carbs and fats for energy the extra carbs can cause insulin spikes in the system, meaning more fat storage and that fat included in the alcoholic drink, you guessed it, goes straight into those fat cells for a rainy day.

Let’s look at another thing that seems to happen also and that is loosening the mental inhibitions you may have when sober (this is blamed for lots of walks of shame the morning after) what I am getting at is, what else do you have after and alongside the great booze nights out, do you stop for a pizza? A kebab? Burger?  Alcohol has a massive effect on increasing your appetite so eating that extra junk means loads more calories for example a large pizza will probably amount to a good 1200 calories itself, remember, the body is already using the alcohol before burning the carbs and fats for energy so what happens to these 1200+ calories from the junk food? There is a danger the body could store these straight up for that rainy day also.

What other damage does alcohol do to the body? Well, liver damage for starters. A healthy liver is needed to process toxins and to break down fats for fuel, damage to this can have a very negative effect on your bodies composition.

I know you have heard of that thing called Testosterone. Used by the body to build muscle, good levels are vital to help with burning fat. Alcohol will lower your testosterone levels dramatically, meaning less fat burning, less muscle building, in fact less muscle can have a double impact on fat burning as your metabolic rate will decrease meaning you will find it harder to burn fat once again.

When we look at athletic performance decreased coordination will be seen, hand/eye coordination along with reaction times, greater fatigue levels, you will get easily dehydrated, there is a great impact to the amount of recovery time needed for cellular repair, lower endurance and aerobic functions, depletion of vitamins & minerals, sleep issues, and glycogen depletion of the brain can have a massive effect on your alertness.

Most think the day after is the worst but in fact reports have shown these effects prominent for 48 and even 72 hours after drinking sessions in some case studies.

So going with the facts discussed above lets revisit what we started with ‘But I only have a couple on Friday and Saturday nights’. The answer to the question is a simple, Yes, it can have a massive effect and it is easy to see why so many champion athletes avoid alcohol completely and why so many fall short of their goals however big or small. For help with losing fat, why not check out our range of Fat Burners.

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