When you’re working towards a health goal, summer can be a tricky time. Long evenings and sunny days call for post-work drinks, boozy weekends in the park, and a whole load of social engagements that seem to revolve around alcohol. Whether your goal is to increase muscle mass, burn fat, or simply to be healthier version of yourself, it’s well known that regularly drinking alcohol is not conducive to improving health and fitness. After all, alcohol provides 7 kcals per gram (for comparison, protein and carbs provide 4, and fats 9 kcals per gram) and gets the label of ‘empty calories’ for having no nutritional value.
However as with all things, life is about balance. Whilst there are many known and notable downfalls of alcohol on our health, we are all human and enjoying a healthy social life (which may or may not include alcohol) is important for our mental wellbeing too.
Here to guide you through a balanced summer is Fresh Fitness Food nutritionist, Robin Swinkels, sharing her five top tips on how to enjoy a sociable summer whilst being mindful of, and helping you to achieve, your fitness goals.
1. Be mindful of how much you are having, anticipate what else you are going to be having on that day and ensure it fits your macros. It’s important to realise that something is not going to taste any better by having more of it. You really do not need to finish the whole bottle.
2. Choose a drink that you really enjoy regardless of calories. This may sound a bit controversial as some alcoholic drinks are more diet friendly than others. Yes straight vodka on the rocks may be a relatively “skinny” choice of drink, however few people really enjoy the taste. Trying to quench a craving with something less than the crave will only leave you craving more, hating your diet and feeling deprived. It’s better to have one glass of something you really enjoy so you feel satisfied, and it’s easier to then go back to your diet the next day.
3. For fat loss you need to be in a calorie deficit. If you have lots of social events lined up, and tend to opt for dessert, ensure you are still in a calorie deficit by extending your workouts to ramp up your energy expenditure. The extra run isn’t an excuse to go all out but it can help control the damage.
4. Ensure you have a healthy meal or snack pre-prepared for when you come home so that when you’re hungry, you don’t find yourself reaching for quick, unhealthy and calorific alternatives. If you’re pushed for time and/or feeling inspired, let Fresh Fitness Food do the work for you – choosing from one of their delicious and bespoke meal delivery plans.
5. Drink water in between your alcoholic drinks. It helps slow down the rate at which you finish your drink and ensures you are less likely to lose control. It also helps with the hangover!
6. Learn to say no. Sometimes it really isn’t such a bad thing not to drink, even on special occasions. Going out and not drinking is a skill but definitely worth trying. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you can have and how great you will feel the next day!