The Truth About Booze

So let me start off by recognizing that I’m posting this on a Sunday morning – yes, a Sunday Funday- during football season. Read: Sunday + Football Season = Bloody Mary’s. But the topic of how drinking alcohol can impact fitness goals is one that comes up daily in my world. So here is the deal:
Our bodies have priority systems. This is a great thing because our bodies ensure our brains and hearts are functioning correctly before, say, worrying about the growth of our nails or hair. Well, at every given moment on every given day, we are burning fuel sources (fat, carbohydrates, protein) to power the systems of our body. So even when we are sitting on our butts doing nothing, we are burning fuel so our brains and hearts and muscles, etc. can function. In the presence of alcohol, our priority systems kick into high gear. You see, alcohol cannot be used efficiently for fuel. And to make matters worse, the longer it stays in the body the more damage it does to cells and organs. Facing this harmful agent, our bodies focus on one thing and one thing only- kicking the alcohol out of the party! So, the burning of stored fuel (i.e. fat or carbs) gets put on hold in the presence of alcohol.
This is bad but I’m not done yet. We all know that the more lean muscle on our bodies, the more calories our bodies burn at rest. Well, alcohol suppresses the growth of muscle. Do all the push-ups and pull-ups you want. If you are consistently inviting booze into your body, the muscle gains will be very limited.
Lets just go ahead and throw the final dagger. Alcohol is a legal (Thank God!) mood-altering drug. It inhibits our decision-making processes, and when it comes to diet, that usually results in bad food choices. So we are already not burning fat, and not building muscle, but now we are eating crap that is soon to be stored as well.
Look, I’m not suggesting everyone stop drinking. I can almost taste the Bloody Mary I will be having later today. But I do think its important we GET REAL and stop making excuses for why we don’t hit our fitness goals if we consistently have a wine glass clutched in or fists.