Ah, the age-old question: can you have your beer and drink it too? As much as we love a nice drink, we all know the struggle of trying to balance our love of alcohol with our love of fitness. The good news is, it's totally possible to incorporate alcohol into your life without completely derailing your fitness progress. Here are some tips to help you find that sweet spot:
1. Moderate Your Drinking Overall
Let's start with the obvious: moderation is key. We're not saying you have to cut out alcohol completely (although, for some people, that is absolutely the answer), but if you're trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to be mindful of how much you're drinking.
Keep tabs on how often you're drinking, and more importantly, why you're drinking. If you find yourself getting drunk because you're bored, lonely, or just using it as a coping mechanism, then it is probably best to talk to a professional about how to cut back. Alcohol has its place, but if we are using it for the wrong reasons, then it will absolutely disrupt our progress!
2. Alternate Alcohol with Water
Another way to keep yourself in check is to alternate between alcoholic beverages and water. Sometimes, it feels weird not to have a cup of something in our hand, and that leads to us drinking more alcohol than we need to. Sipping on some water can help make you feel more comfortable in a social environment when everyone has a drink in their hand. A good rule of thumb is that for every drink you have, make sure you have a glass of water in between. Not only will this help you pace yourself, but it will also keep you hydrated and help you avoid the dreaded hangover.
3. Don't Drink the Night Before a Workout
Speaking of hangovers, if you have a workout the next morning, it's probably best to skip the alcohol altogether. We often say that "the most important workout is your next one," so doing what we can to optimize our workouts will keep the fitness progress coming consistently. Your body needs time to recover and repair after a workout, and alcohol can interfere with that process. Plus, no one wants to be that person at the gym who smells like a sweaty brewery. Plan your schedule accordingly, and keep drinking nights away from morning workouts!
4. Front Load Your Protein
When you drink alcohol, your body prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol over everything else - including digesting your food. That's why you might feel bloated or uncomfortable after a night of drinking, even if you didn't eat a ton. To combat this, try front loading your protein intake by eating most of your protein in the beginning of the day. This way, even if your body isn't digesting as efficiently after drinking, you've already given it what it needs. For some recommendations, check out our Macro Cheat Sheet on this blog post.
5. Eat a Healthy Meal Before Going Out
On that note, it's also a good idea to eat a moderate-to-large healthy meal before you start drinking. Not only will this help you feel more satiated (and less likely to indulge in greasy bar food or that midnight Taco Bell run), but it will also give your body the nutrients it needs to process the alcohol. Aim for a meal with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs - like grilled chicken, avocado, and sweet potato.
6. Don't Be a D*ck to Yourself
And last but not least, if you do overdo it on the drinks, be kind to yourself. Don't beat yourself up or feel guilty – just get back on track the next day. Have a healthy breakfast, stay hydrated throughout the day, and hit the gym that week.
At Stoked Athletics, we believe in balance - and that includes enjoying a drink or two every now and then. The key is to be mindful of your choices and make smart decisions that will keep you on track with your fitness goals. With these tips in mind, you can have your beer and drink it too - without compromising your progress. Cheers to that!