5 Ways Drinking Can Affect Your Health and Fitness Status : There is a multitude of events in our lives that may lead us to be more healthy. Maybe it’s to lose weight, to finally get those toned abs, or because you want to improve the way you feel. Either way, the motivation is there.
One of the first steps to being in peak physical shape is accepting that you will have to cut certain things out of your life to reach your goals. Everyone’s body works in different ways, but there are constants that stay negative no matter which way we look at it. All kinds of sugar such as candies and fizzy drinks are a no-go. Margarine and other oils can also lead to weight gain.
While eliminating those foods from your diet might not seem so difficult, there is one culprit that’s tough to say goodbye to. Something that is so integrated into our culture that it is accepted from a very early age. You may even look uptight or socially uncomfortable if you deny having it. I’m talking about alcohol.
If you want to get as fit as can be, then there are no exceptions here. Stop laughing at those memes about drinking lots of wine, because even occasional drinking can slow your stride. Even worse, there are studies which show that having even one drink per day increases breast cancer risk.
The safest way to proceed is to not make any excuses for yourself. If you want to reach that level you’ve been shooting for, then you have to stop drinking alcohol altogether. Let’s take a look at how alcohol affects us and our goals.
1. Alcohol Increases Your Appetite
What’s the first thing you do when you get hungry? You start to look for something to eat. Having said that, it seems logical to avoid anything which causes excess hunger. Yet, people ignore this effect of alcohol and keep on drinking.
Our bodies naturally create a hormone called leptin. The role of this hormone is to send signals indicating that you have eaten enough and that you are full. Studies show that alcohol suppresses leptin, thus making us feel hungry even though we aren’t. Now you know where all those midnight munchies come from after a few cocktails with the ladies.
2. It Decreases Vitamin B12 in Your Body
When you drink, even in moderate amounts, the lining of your stomach suffers. If you ignore the signs, you might end up with atrophic gastritis. When that happens, your stomach cannot properly absorb vitamin B12; an essential vitamin to life.
Some of the known symptoms of B12 deficiency include fatigue and muscle weakness, among others. If your body is not in shape and doesn’t have the energy to complete your workout, you will not get much out of your gym sessions. Stay away from booze and regulate how much B12 your body needs.
3. Bad Quality Sleep
This might come as a shock, seeing as a few drinks seem to make you feel woozy. It’s not the amount of time that you sleep which is lower, it’s the quality of sleep you get during those hours. This is because it affects your REM sleep stage. Also known as the point when people start to dream, around 90 minutes after they hit the pillow.
If the quality of your sleep suffers, then it doesn’t matter how many hours you squeezed in, because you will still feel tired. Same as a B12 deficiency, tiredness will not allow you to do the best you can in your workout routine, and you will not get the same results.
4. Alcohol is Full of Empty Calories
Empty calories are one of the top contributors to weight gain, especially in women. They say that calories give us the energy to pump out that extra set of squats, so how can they be empty? They do in fact provide energy, but it’s not the nutritionally balanced kind you would get from other healthy foods. This is becoming more of a problem because of statistics that say women are drinking more than they used to.
If you take in too many empty calories and don’t compensate for them with exercise, your body will store them in fat cells. That leads to weight gain. Alcohol is so stuffed with empty calories that even a few drinks in a day can surpass your daily calorie intake significantly.
5. Muscle Growth
Also known as the negative effects on muscle recovery. Because, if your muscles don’t recover, then they won’t grow and get toned. When your muscles want to heal from those squats, they go through a process called protein synthesis. It’s what happens when the small tears you make repair themselves.
Research has shown that alcohol can interrupt this essential process. Bearing that in mind, it makes no sense to go work out if you don’t end up seeing any results. Stay away from alcohol and give your muscles the time they need to recover. Then you can take yours before and after pictures!
Aside from the obvious and immediate effects alcohol has shortly after drinking it (I’m pointing at you, dreaded Sunday hangover!) there are other repercussions that can stop you from reaching your goals. We know that letting go of the drink can be a tough decision, especially with the girls always asking you out for margaritas. Make it clear to them that you have some personal achievements you’d like to follow through with, and from then on, all you have to do is beat your own craving. If one thing is for sure, it’s that alcohol does not belong in a healthy diet.
Andy was born in Bogota, Colombia, but raised in Los Angeles, California. I spend my time helping others with their recovery and growing my online business.
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