Alcohol and fitness

The Caribbean Premier League (CPL), dubbed the biggest party in sport, just concluded in Guyana and some of the biggest alcoholic beverage companies in the Caribbean partnered with the Amazon Warriors.

Scores of fans (myself among them) witnessed the euphoria at the National Stadium with an alcoholic beverage in hand. The occasional social drink is okay but it’s so easy to drink a little too much a little too often.

So how much is enough and how much is too much that it inhibits your fitness goals?

A study defines moderate drinking as no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women – yet many Guyanese exceed that amount, often accidentally. Often, this is thanks to portion distortion, with heavy-handed pours and oversized glasses which causes more than a standard drink, which for the record, is 1.5 oz hard alcohol (3 tbsp), 5 oz wine (⅓ cup), and 12 oz beer (1.5 c) to be served.

Women tend to commit accidental over-consumption more often than men, owing to their lower alcohol tolerance/drink limit and alcohol choice. More women tend to drink wine (while men seem to prefer beer, according to a poll). While beer tends to come in single-serve cans or bottles, wine is purchased in multi-serve units; drinkers have the discretion to pour however much they want at any one time. Even careful pourers tend to underestimate the amount in a single pour, thanks to curved glasses, which skew perception of serving size.


Weight loss

Alcohol is calorically dense. Per gramme, it contains seven calories, more than both carbohydrates and proteins (which contain four calories per gramme), but not as much as fat, which contains nine calories per gramme. A standard drink contains between 100-150 calories. And remember, most drinks (especially hand-poured) tend to contain more thanks to over-pouring.

If you were to cut out a single drink each day (and not replace those calories with other food or beverage), you could lose nearly ten pounds (9.6, to be exact) in a single year.


Muscle growth

Studies have shown that consuming alcohol in the hours after exercise inhibits muscle growth and repair. And let’s face it, many of us have hit up happy hour after lifting or gone home for a glass of wine after aerobics.

While abstinence isn’t most people’s first pick, no one wants to waste the time they’ve invested in the gym. Sure, it’s not always possible to avoid alcohol on the days that you work out, but the more you do, the more you set yourself up for results in fitness and muscle growth.

Tip: Feeling under the weather after a big night out? Branch chain amino acids will help replenish your dehydrated body so you can ditch hangovers faster.


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