A Guys Walks Into a Bar: Part 1

8 Nov

Beer and the Gym: The Pillars of Collegiate Extracurricular Activites

For guys, the time spent during the week while not studying (read: Facebooking), going to class, and playing intramural sports, is usually spent at the gym.  Every guy wants 6 pack abs, large biceps, broad shoulders and a strong chest.

 But what are you really doing to help yourself get there? The answer is probably a whole lot less than you think.  While you may be properly stacking your protein shakes and supplements, it’s what you do on the weekends that’s killing you. 

Yes, clearly I’m talking about drinking.

Most of us spend 1-2 hours a day at the gym split in some combination of lifting and cardio.  For me, I generally work two complementary muscle groups each day and end with 30-45 minutes of cardio.  To supplement my gains, I take protein shakes post workout and in the evening before bed.  So why am I not benching 300+ and squatting 450?  The answer is because drinking does a lot more harm than you think when it comes to building muscle.  Alcohol actively destroys muscle and essentially nullifies all the work you do in the gym and keeping your diet clean and protein rich. 

Why doesn’t working out hard all week successfully allow you to get the body you’re aiming for?  The answer is because the effects of alcohol aren’t limited to the excess amount of empty calories that you consume.  Alcohol negatively affects the body and actively works against what you are trying to achieve at the gym.  It primarily does this in two ways; by decreasing testosterone levels, and increasing your appetite.  The former is most important when it comes to building muscle because with lowered levels of testosterone, your body stores more fat and builds less lean muscle.  The latter obviously leads to the inevitable drunk eating that tends to happen at around 3:00AM.  I don’t know about you, but at 3:00AM after I’ve knocked back 12+ brewskis, I’m not thinking about grilled chicken and vegetables, I’m thinking wings, pizza and more beer.

Bottom line: You probably aren’t going to change your drinking habits just for a marginal increase in results at the gym.  However, you SHOULD change your pre and post drinking habits. 

HOW?

  1. On nights you drink, eat a late dinner.  If you’re going out at 10:00, eat dinner at 9:00.  Drink a couple glasses of water with dinner.  What this will do is give you a full stomach before you go out so you are more apt to drink at a slower pace. 
  2. If you know you will be drunkenly craving food, make something healthy for yourself beforehand that even in your drunken state you can reheat  (This means microwave at most.  I don’t even want to get into the birthday weekend fiasco where I thought I could operate a grill at 2 in the morning). 

Healthiest Drunk Foods

  • Chicken breast: Cook it up beforehand and throw it the fridge for later so you can have something at the ready.  Not only will this satisfy your hunger, but it will provide you with some extra protein to help nullify the muscle destroying effect of alcohol. 
  • Protein shake:  On top of protein benefits, these shakes also give you other nutrients that you are no doubt going to need the next day as you recover.  It will also keep your metabolism going all night long so that hopefully, all those empty calories you consume won’t be stored as fat by the time you wake up the next day.
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One Response to “A Guys Walks Into a Bar: Part 1”

  1. Rick Hancock November 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    This was good, could have been great! More links and I’m sure you could have found a video on YouTube to support your post. But I’m nitpicking!

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