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Alcohol Damage Control: How to Booze and Only Slightly Lose

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Alcohol Damage ControlBelieve it or not, I get more questions about drinking alcohol while keeping with a training routine than just about any other topic. You know what? I’m happy that people ask as everything we teach at The CUT Method is built to adapt to your lifestyle. A lot of my close friends and family are surprised to see me at Happy Hours on the weekends or enjoying a few glasses of something good here and there. So how do I do it and stay lean year ’round? What are the key points to balancing alcohol intake with a healthy lifestyle?

Let’s be real. At the end of the day, alcohol generally does nothing good for your body. Sure, a glass of red wine or two does pack some health benefits, but alcohol as a whole does cut into overall fitness progress. Essentially, alcohol slows muscle recovery and metabolism which are two of the main components to achieving your fitness goals. If you’d like to know more about exactly what effects alcohol has on your body, there are a lot of sad, draining articles all over the web. Remember, at The CUT Method we’re all about getting your exactly what you need to know without delving into a science project.

All that being said, there are a number of simple ways to minimize the damage while continuing to enjoy a few alcoholic drinks, keep up with your social life and make progress at the same time. Amazing! Here are several key points on how to incorporate alcohol successfully:

– Keep volume as low as possible

This is a pretty simple idea, but most people don’t follow it. Liquor, as opposed to beer or wine, typically packs more of a punch per ounce. Since most of us drink to get a buzz, it’s logical to switch out the beer and wine for liquor. Honestly, I’ll typically have a couple shots and then 1, yes 1 beer. That usually does the trick and I’m able to keep my volume very low. It’s also nice avoiding the sick, hungover feeling that usually accompanies higher volumes.

– No more sugary, sweet drinks! (Ahem, ladies)

I’ve definitely seen many a fella holding a Cosmo or another sugary drink of choice but I’ve found my female clients over the years to find this a little more challenging overall. The goal here is damage control so we want to keep overall calories to a minimum. All alcohol has 7 kcal per gram. Contrary to popular belief, there are no zero calorie alcoholic beverages. That being said, vodka & soda with lime or whiskey & diet with lime are two great options to minimize calories. Feel free to choose your own unique combination but try to stay away from tonic, honey, sour mix (the worst!) and juices added to your drinks. On a similar note, wine falls into this category as it is made from grapes and has a lot of sugar.

– Understand that drinking does not have to go hand in hand with pizza/nachos/gluttony

The truth is that this is where the real damage is done. If you were to have a few margaritas or vodka & cranberries but continued to eat clean once a week, the damage would be minimal and you could theoretically continue on your merry way. Typically that is tough for most people to do as after a few drinks homemade grilled chicken salad just doesn’t sound as good. The key here is setting yourself up to survive if you know ahead of time you’re going out for drinks with friends. It’s probably not the best idea to meet for drinks at an Italian or Cuban restaurant as the “good stuff” there is heavily starch-based. Since judgement is impaired/weakened/sometimes non-existent when paired with drinking, it’s best to avoid sitting down at spots like this if you’re really serious about keeping progress moving forward.

Everything is about moderation and incorporating everything we talk about here so it adapts to your lifestyle. If you fall off the wagon every now and then it is really NO BIG DEAL if it’s every once in a while. What we want to avoid is having this happen routinely as that will severely start to cut into overall progress.

We continue to get question after question on this so please feel free to fire away any specific questions you may have by posting here or by finding us at The CUT Method on Facebook. Cheers!

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About John Schaefer

John is a professional personal trainer with a degree in Exercise Science from Florida State University. He has trained and counseled hundreds of people over the last 15 years in fitness and nutrition. Founder of Cut Method, John specializes in changing the way people view fitness and nutrition as a whole to create rapid and lasting results both mentally and physically.

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