I’ve been writing Fitness On Toast for a year now – it’s been huge fun, the response has surprised me enormously, and has taken me on some fabulous adventures! A big thank you to everyone who has supported the blog, for reading, for browsing aimlessly, for your lovely emails and heartening comments… I’d like to propose a toast to fitness; let’s make 2014 the healthiest year yet! Now I don’t want to sound like a spoil sport, and a bit of a tipple is called for around this time of year, but to help you along, I’m reposting this “Alcohol vs Fitness” article I wrote at the start of 2013, as it’s totally relevant for this evening :D! HAPPY NEW YEAR xx (more…)
1) IF YOU MUST… Clients often ask what the ‘healthiest’ alcoholic drink is… My view is that if you must drink, make it red wine as a glass or two a day has been shown to decrease the risk of stroke, heart attack and cancer (elevates good cholesterol, lowers the bad cholesterol, rich in polyphenol antioxidants for cell health). But the emphasis is on “one or two glasses, only”! If red wine isn’t your cup of tea (like me), a straight spirit (vodka, gin or scotch) is fine. Avoid mixing them with juice, tonic water, coke etc. as these mixers are bursting with simple sugars (which will be quickly metabolised into fat) and will only increase the calorie content of your night out!
2) CONSIDER THIS: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories, 1g of protein = 4 calories, 1g of carbs = 4 calories, 1g of alcohol = 7 calories. So Alcohol is nearly as calorific as fat but it only has ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value, and will in fact speed up fat storage! For reference: a double Gin and Tonic = 175 calories (c. 10% of a girl’s daily calorie intake – alot for something that doesn’t fill you up!). Here are the scores…
– Single Gin and slimline tonic = 75 calories.
– Glass of Champagne = 91 calories
– Can of Stella Artois = 247 calories
– Shot of straight Vodka = 55 calories
– A glass of Baileys = 133 calories
3) ALCOHOL’S EFFECTS ON MY TRAINING ? It can stop you reaching your goals by dampening performance, recovery and focus. Although it’s absorbed quickly, it metabolises slowly and can still affect the system up to 48hrs after consumption. It decreases strength, dehydrates (damaging to kidneys), exhausts the body (impairs liver function, as it metabolises alcohol at the expense of glycogen), disturbs sleep (crucial for muscle recovery), slows down reaction time, disrupts the body’s balance and co-ordination, impedes cardio exercise (raises blood pressure so the heart works harder to pump blood through the body) etc.
A typical night out will likely involve 3+ drinks and perhaps some cheesy chips as well. That could amount to 1250-1500 calories in itself, (>60% of your daily calorie allowance, on top of what you’ve already had that day). No wonder next day you’ll feel bloated and tired, so perhaps try to avoid the hangover fry-up – you don’t need the calories!!!