How To Enjoy Alcohol Without Destroying Your Physique
The following is a guest post from my boy, JC Deen. If you want to get jacked, but still be able to get crunk, then this article is for you. I’m not a huge drinker, but when I am, I listen to JC.
Okay, so if you’re like me, you have a life outside of fitness. Sure, my job is to make others big, strong and pretty, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy alcohol when I go out regularly…
I’m your typical gym rat. I love to hit the gym 4-5 times per week, train for hours on end while doing insane amounts of squats, deadlifts, and cable curls, all contributing to my increasing levels of jaktitude™.
A long time ago, way before I ever coached, or began training others, I was deathly afraid of what alcohol might do to my gains. A common myth among the serious bros on campus was that excessive drinking would completely ruin my results, and abolish all the hard work I’d put in.
It was funny – the more into health and fitness I got, the more I believed a bunch of crazy ideas about food, alcohol, and meal timing – most of which had no real backing as far as validity.
I just did what everyone else said, and followed their lead.
That was until I became a social pariah, staying in from the parties in college because I didn’t want to turn down drinks and be questioned about it. Over many months of abstaining, I began to question whether or not this was an approach I could sustain for the long haul.
This went on my entire freshman year, and I eventually left college with a similar mindset that next year.
And then my 21st birthday came about – and you cannot abstain on your 21st – no matter what. So I didn’t. I chose to partake. Along with the alcohol consumption was a big bed of fried rice, and meat.
And it was delicious.
Over the coming months, I decided to be a little more lax when it came to my drinking and training. I had a few nights one might call disastrous – where I drank and ate way too much. I seem to be a bottomless pit when consuming wings smothered in ranch dressing, while downing pitchers of beer.
As you might imagine, I experienced some negative effects. Aside from the headaches, I managed to pack on a little bit of fat over the next few months.
The cool thing I experienced, however, was that I didn’t lose strength, or size. All the talk about alcohol ruining my gains was not true – at least not for me. The main problem was my lack of restraint when it came to stuffing my face alongside all the drinking.
And this is when I began experimenting.
Before I go into what I do, and what I tell my clients, let’s cover some ways people usually screw up when incorporating alcohol into their diet.
They’re either eating a TON of food when they get drunk, as they lack judgment, or not preplanning during the day when they know they’ll be going out at night for drinks and dinner.
With both of these issues in mind, I usually opt for a simple strategy of eating very little during the day, which creates a ‘sink’ for calories later on.
By doing this we accomplish a few things:
- Meet our protein requirements for the day
- Cut down on the possibility of creating a huge caloric surplus
So here’s what I do, and what I often recommend to my clients who plan to consume alcohol 1-3 times per week.
The first thing is to focus on consuming about 90% of your protein needs before you go out. So for me, with a goal of 200g protein for the day, I’d aim to get 180g before going out.
Along with getting this much protein, I’d aim to keep the other macros super low – this is basically a PSMF (protein sparing modified fast). I’d consume lean cuts of protein (beef, chicken, fish, non-fat cottage cheese, tinned tuna, protein powder, etc).
The goal is to hit protein without getting much carbohydrate or fat.
By doing this, you’re affording yourself the option of having 2-3 drinks with your dinner, with little to no worries about the excess calories.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure the drinks are naturally low in calories. Some good options are various light beers, or mixing hard liquors (whiskey, vodka) with no-calorie sodas. If you decide to have a few margaritas, skimp on the food, if you still want to make sure you’re not creating a surplus.
For others who like to get trashed, like I do on occasion, you’ll be surprised at how few drinks it takes to get your buzz on.
I’ve used this approach on myself when dieting or bulking and saw very little to no adverse affects on my physique.
I’ve had clients follow similar plans with similar results as well.
The trick is aiming to keep yourself from losing all sanity, and eating everything in sight, which has proven to be difficult for some (EDITOR’S NOTE: including Jason).
And oh yeah – drinking is dangerous, so please do at your own risk. Be careful, and have one on me.
JC Deen is a Nashville-based strength coach, and writer who teaches people how to Look Great Naked without all the worry or rigidity you might find with other approaches to fitness. He’s been featured in Forbes, Bodbuilding.com, ZenHabits.net and The Alan Aragon Research Review. Check out his newly released fitness course LGN365.
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