All things training and nutrition - all backed by science
How does drinking affect weight loss?
Everyone says that you can’t drink alcohol while you’re trying to lose weight.
But they say that because they don’t know the science of how alcohol affects your body when it comes to weight loss.
As soon as you know the physiology of how alcohol affects the body then you are equipped and informed to make good decisions so that you can enjoy sipping whiskey without it screwing up your weight loss.
Remember, it is possible to lose weight and still drink alcohol but there are some guidelines and considerations we must think about for this to be success.
Unfortunately, you can’t throw back 5 drinks a night and expect consistent weight loss, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to pour a bourbon or scotch and not feel like you are self-sabotaging?
What you drink and how it affects it
One thing that you should know is that Calories are the main driver of whether you lose weight or not. So, let’s talk about how what you’re drinking can affect your Calorie intake and your subsequent weight loss (or lack of it).
For example, did you know that proof can affect calories?
Why does 50 Calories matter?
If you have one drink in one evening, it probably doesn’t. 50 Calories is unlikely to make or break your day. However, over the course of a week or weekend it can add up (and get all sneaky on you).
Let’s paint a picture. It’s the weekend and you’re watching a lot of football. You’re not going crazy with the adult beverages, but you have a couple beers watching College football and then you have a couple 1.5oz pours over dinner.
On Sunday you do something similar: a couple beers during the afternoon and a couple pours of whiskey for SNF.
If you’re drinking light beer/lower proof your total is going to be around 800 Calories.
If you’re drinking regular beer/high proof your total is going to be around 1200 Calories.
That 400 Calorie difference is about the equivalent of going for a 60-minute walk or a 30-minute job.
The way I see it you have two options:
Option 1: Drink lower proof alcohol
Option 2: Drink higher proof beverages but go for a 60-minute walk.
(Option 3): Drink higher proof, don’t do anything else…and get fat.
As a successful businessman you have to make the executive decision: Is it worth it?
Note: If you want to keep your higher proof whiskey then something has to give and that something is volume. Maybe you have 1oz pours instead of 1.5oz (it really does add up overtime) or you have a single pour instead of multiple in a single evening.
It’s not just Calories
We can talk numbers all day, but you can always cancel out the Calories you drink by eating less or exercising. What about the other things that come with drinking?
Drinking and sleep
How many times have you heard “I can drink a bunch and it doesn’t affect my sleep”.
Personally, I normally hear it from people who are newer to drinking or they have been doing it for such a long time that they don’t feel it anymore.
A nightcap may even make it easier to fall asleep. What gives?
Well, a drink may make it easier to fall asleep, but it messes with the deep sleep that allows us to wake up feeling rested. Alcohol typically takes hold in the second half of the night, that’s why you might wake up at 2am/3am.
Why is this important?
Reduced sleep actually makes you eat more the next day and makes you feel less full when you do eat.
That means you overeat and then you get fat. Bummer.
What’s the fix? The earlier your stop drinking the better.
Drinking and hydration
Everyone knows that alcohol makes you dehydrated. It makes you pee more even though your body doesn’t have much water in it to begin with.
What makes it worse is that as we start drinking alcohol, we typically stop drinking water. Talk about a double whammy.
Working out when you’re dehydrated…SUCKS!
Not only are you less likely to go workout (because you feel bad…because you’re dehydrated) but the workout is going to feel a lot harder.
What’s the fix? Alternating between whiskey and water or just keeping a bottle of water close by while you’re drinking.
Now you’re fully in-the-know when it comes to drinking and weight loss.
It may seem like there is a lot of negatives to drinking while trying to lose weight and unfortunately that kind of true. However, all of them can be buffered or adjusted-for so that you can have a drink guilt-free.
How should you structure your workout for best muscle gains?
Body-part Split or full-body Workout?
When I first got into lifting weights everything was all about the body-part split.
What do I mean by that?
Each body part got it’s own workout. There was Chest day, Back day and Leg day etc.
Then, when I got into the Strength and Conditioning world, everything was about whole body workouts.
So which is the best?
There is a boring answer and a more interesting one.
We’ll start with the boring answer: it depends on your goal.
If your goal is to throw faster, jump higher or swing harder then you are definitely better off using a whole body workout routine featuring primarily compound movements (that’s movements that use more than one joint). Bonus points if you use compound exercises that mimic movements in your chosen sport.
For football that would be stuff like squats and presses.
For jumpers athletes that would be a lot of squats, step-ups, and lunges.
But what about building lean muscle?
In other words, what's the best type of routine to look better naked?
It all comes down to stimulating your muscles.
You see, when you do a set of bicep curls you create tension in your biceps muscle. This is a stimulus for the muscle to grow.
If you do 2 sets of bicep curls instead of 1 then they are stimulated a little more but eventually you reach the point of diminishing returns.
Doing 12 sets of bicep curls in a workout isn’t any better than doing 3 or 4. You see a muscle reaches a point of being maximally stimulated to grow after 3-4 sets of an exercise.
That signal or stimulus to grow lasts about 24-48 hours. Then, the muscle stops growing. It stops responding to that workout.
Why is all this important?
It’s important because it provides the key to answering our question: which is better? body-part splits or full-body workouts?
Just for reference, a typical body-part split workout may look something like this:
On each day you might do 4-6 exercises for 3-4 sets, each targeting that one muscle group.
My opinion...that’s overkill!
Remember, your chest isn’t going to be anymore stimulated to grow by doing 6 exercises than it will from doing 2 exercises for 3 sets. It’s already maxed out.
Your chest will grow for 2 days and then nothing...no more gains until next week when it’s chest day again.
That’s 5 days of nothing!
Now what about a whole body workout?
What if you did 4 workouts per week. With 1, maybe 2, exercises each for your chest, back, shoulders, legs, arms, and abs. You could do each exercise for 2-3 sets.
It may look something like this:
Monday: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs, Arms, and Abs
Wednesday: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs, Arms, and Abs
Friday: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs, Arms, and Abs
Sunday Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs, Arms, and Abs
Remember, your muscles only grow in response to your workout for 24-48 hours afterwards. Using this approach, there would never be a day where your muscles were not growing.
SIDE NOTES: This isn’t my main point but did you see how we went from 6 workouts a week to 4 a week?
I know what you might be thinking
Alex, this sounds awesome and makes complete sense...but what about the big guy at the gym (could also be a friend or neighbor) that says to build muscle you should do Chest day on Mondays and Back on Tuesdays etc...
Well, he’s not wrong. You can definitely build muscle on body part-splits but it’s just not optimal.
Body-part splits have been used by old school gym-rats forever and old school gym-rats tend to be big because they’ve been doing it forever.
Just because someone has achieved something doesn’t mean that their methods are optimal for you.
It’s not true in business and it’s not true in fitness.
Doing cold calling works amazingly well for some businesses but it’s completely sub-optimal for other businesses.
Body-part splits CAN work (especially if you’re using anabolic help) but more than likely, they’re not the best option for you.