Alcohol - How much is too much?

Enjoy the odd glass of bubbly? Love a girls' night out? If you want the body and the booze it's important to know your limits.

Transformation coach Emily Hackett answers the most common questions surrounding the social subject.

Do you need to give up drinking too lose weight?

The simple answer is no, BUT, the less you drink the quicker you can get the results you want. When coaching our clients this is one of the first things we address. People who want to get seriously lean will need to cut it out completely for a sustained period of time. If not, all their other efforts (eating clean and training mean), will go to waste.

Is binge drinking once a week better than enjoying a couple of drinks every night?

This is like asking “what’s better a punch in the nose or a kick in the crotch?” Both have serious downsides. Binge drinking is a massive issue with the younger generation and something that causes havoc every weekend on the NHS. Just walk into any A&E on a bank holiday weekend and you’ll see just how seriously damaging binge drinking can be.

Having a couple of drinks a night is certainly not as dangerous as ending up in A&E, BUT it's important to know that alcohol is like poison in your body. Your body's first response when you consume poison is to stop everything else and get rid of it. Even though you may not feel hungover by drinking every night, you'll always be in a state of recovery which means any effort towards getting healthier will inevitably take a back seat until the poison has been processed.

Other downsides to drinking whilst trying to lose weight:

There is a lot of sugar in alcohol. Sugar, as you probably know is not great for losing weight.

Alcohol gives you a beer belly

Alcohol, contrary to popular belief, is a depressant. This means it puts your body on a serious downer, which is why we get slurred speech and stumble around when we're drunk. Your body in this state is highly stressed. Your body's natural stress hormone is called cortisol and when your cortisol levels are high, you store fat around your mid section.

Alcohol makes you weaker

The effects of drinking cause your muscles to lose size and strength as well as weakening your bones and even increasing the amount of time they take to repair.

You don't necessarily have to be tea total to stay in shape

Here’s the thing, drinking is a massive part of our culture and how we celebrate. As with most things if consumed in moderation, alcohol can be fine as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle. For this reason we would never tell our clients to give it up for the rest of their lives because:

A) They probably wouldn’t be able to stick to it

B) We would never ask our clients to do something we’re not prepared to do ourselves.

Instead, we supply them with these three awesome strategies;

1) Understand the difference between ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’drinking

Essential drinking counts as all the parties, weddings and social occasions where people are enjoying a drink together to celebrate. In these situations it can be deemed rude and unsociable to not drink plus, as humans, we need to relax and unwind otherwise we can become miserable. Non-essential drinking counts as everything else. Getting home and having a few beers, going out for lunch with a colleague or popping for a ‘cheeky beer’ when you should just go home. By separating these two you will massively reduce your intake and stop yourself drinking out of boredom or habit.

Use the 1 on, 1 off rule

This works especially well on holiday. If you’re in a situation where there's a lot of drinking involved you can simply alternate between alcohol and water. You won't reduce your fun intake, but you'll HALVE your alcohol intake and massively reduce the chances of getting a hangover by staying hydrated.

Pick the best of a bad bunch

All drinks are not created equal. The difference in the damage to your body between a cheap Jagerbomb and a gin and tonic are vast!!! Not only is there a s*@t load sugar in party shots and cocktails, but all sorts of chemicals and nastiness can be found in most of them. So, to make a better choice, opt for white spirits (vodka or gin), and swap the lemonade or sugary mixers with soda water and a squeeze of fresh lime.

By Emily Hackett
Brought to you by Muscle & Fitness HERS UK.

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