Holy moly! My DM’s are full of messages from women (and men) wanting to reach their ultimate fitness goals but they don’t want to give up alcohol!
I understand that people need balance in their life and deserve to indulge in things they enjoy. However, when you want to achieve a specific fitness goal and refuse to set the alcohol aside you have no idea how detrimental it is.
“I drink 5 times a week, I can cut it down to 2 but I won’t cut it out completely”
“I do IIFYM and allow for the extra calories”
“I cut out my carbs for the week so I could drink on the weekend”
“It’s just a glass of wine”
“I drink the alcohol with the least calories so it doesn’t make me fat”
“There’s no sugar in it… right?!”
“But I’m going out with my friends! It won’t be fun if I’m not drinking”
“I’m so bloated and I don’t know why. I’m only drinking once a week but I am walking more so I should be losing weight”
The things people say to try and justify their decisions are mind boggling.
I can give you all of the fitness tips in the world but if you can’t understand some of the basic concepts of living a healthy lifestyle then I’m just wasting my breath.
Drink more water
Eat more protein
Get enough sleep everyday
Cut out alcohol and processed foods
Start with basics and see what happens…
We all know people like this!! What kind of excuses have you heard?
OR… tell me about your success story. What happened to your physique after cutting out alcohol?
@mnben87 That’s right! There are some well known tricks with alcohol when it comes to elite level athletes like; hard alcohol or red wine before a show or Chris Duffin’s Whiskey&Deadlifts concept etc.
The main problem that I encounter is with clients who are habitual drinkers. Sure, they can make great progress when changing other variables while continuing to drink but it will come to a point where they need to decide whether it’s more important to take their physique to the next level or continue to drink every day/week.
@Andrewgen_Receptors I know you’re joking but the fitness thing is way easier than most people realize… we just make it more complex than it needs to be.
If that is the case, then as a coach, one would have a few options. Drop the client, let them continue on, or try to reduce the negative impacts as much as possible.
I think if one is going from drinking every night of the week to only drinking Friday and Saturday is going to make a big impact. I think going from sugary or high calorie drinks to no sugar lower calorie drinks can have a significant impact.
Maybe having a calorie allowance for drinks per week might work pretty well for a lot of people. Ex. you can have 500 calories though drinks a week. How they choose to do so is up to them, but I can’t see that impacting nutrition or recovery all that much.
Absolutely! That works well for the general population but when people are trying to achieve a very low level of body fat then everything they put in their mouth impacts their recovery.
500 calories from alcohol is not going to fuel the body the same way 500 calories from protein would (for example)
It really depends what the goal is but I get what you’re saying.
I think this is the challenge for most people. They are so used to having that ‘wine after work’ or ‘beer at a bbq’ or ‘cold brew on a hot day’ whatever habit they have gotten into. I used to drink a fair amount like most adult males do, particularly in my 20’s and early 30’s. After having our first child at 35, I reduced my drinking to a very low amount, maybe just on holiday or the occasional meal with friends. In the past 2 years I have reduced this even further and now rarely drink at all.
Recently we had some family visit from overseas and stay with us for a few weeks. I noticed almost immediately that the family members visiting were habitual drinkers. Similar time every day it was time to open the wine, go out for the morning and as soon as we got home, they opened the wine, sun shining its time to open the wine. I had never noticed or thought about this before as previously I would have probably joined them. Observing this led me to thinking ‘why are they drinking?’ and I really struggled to find a good answer other than it was a habit. If they were thirsty water was a better option, we weren’t in a social situation like a party so it wasn’t to feel good or to have ‘more fun’, we weren’t enjoying a meal so they weren’t ‘matching wine with food’ (I never understand this one). There really was no (from my point of view) perceived benefit to having a drink at that time.
I think as adults we become conditioned to doing many things, drinking, smoking, eating certain foods etc. etc. and if we stop and think, there is really little or no benefit or reason, other than we have formed a habit.
The challenge as a coach is how do you break that habit, how do you change someone’s mindset when they have become so psychologically conditioned by society, advertising, social groups etc. to do something they know is bad for them.
I know for me drinking less has been a massive positive, I feel physically and mentally better without alcohol.
This is a good question. There’s a lot of evidence that you have to break the sense triggers to break the habit. Like, if you’re a smoker, you have to stop seeing the same place you took a smoke break or the visual will trigger your brain that you need to smoke.
How do you break the habit when the trigger is it’s 3pm?
This is definitely one way to do it, but as you pointed out it has its floors. The other way I found is to beak or change the mindset around the perception of losing something. I’ll call in the ‘giving up effect’ (if someone else has already called it that then sorry). Whether its alcohol, sugary soda even cigarettes. The negative association with the words and thoughts around ‘giving something up’ make it extremely hard to break a habit. Just thinking that by not having something you are losing some sort of benefit to yourself makes it nearly impossible to stop having it for most people. The key for me was to change that mind set and look at it differently. What am I gaining by not doing this habbit? For me drinking had many physical and mental negatives which I wont go into here. But by focusing on what am I gaining by choosing to drink soda water vs beer I was able to make a positive connection with not drinking. I also never used the words giving up or stopping. If someone asked me if I wanted a beer, I just say no thanks I don’t really drink. I add the words ‘really’ cause if I say just ‘dont drink’ there is always a conversation or explanation required. But the word ‘rarely’ people seem to accept as I just dont feel like it today and they move on and order you soda water,
For sure. There’s a replacement concept here as well: you have to put something in place of whatever you had before. In your example, you’re still hanging with friends so there’s no void. I’m too tired to come up with other examples, so just agreeing with your point I think.
I agree with that. Thinking that you’re “giving up” something makes you feel as though you’re really losing something, and I don’t think anyone enjoys losing something.
In contrast, if you think that you will gain benefits by eating lean meat, more vegetables, less alcohol, etc, then you get the sense that you’re gaining something positive, and everyone enjoys gaining more positive things.
I know of people who have great success by attaching negative connotations to the habit. If they can label the habit as the actions of an addict, or as “the kind of thing a sucker would do”, they have far more success changing the habit.
I would make them all read “The Naked Mind” by Annie Grace.
I drank 5 nights a week whilst trying to train and never set out to quit when picking up this book. It lays out so many of the lies around alcohol, breaks down the conditioning, and has all the info to back up what she talks about. It’s an enjoyable read for anyone. I was a stubborn drinker with all the excuses under the sun; Celebration? Drink! Happy? Drink! Sad? Drink! The match is on? Drink! It’s Wednesday? Drink!
I still occasionally have a drink because it’s one of the best social lubricants there are, but I respect it so much more now and for the most part, avoid it. I’ve read a ton of books on all kinds of different subjects, but this is one of the very few I feel that genuinely rewired my brain. I can’t imagine many people wanting to take their training seriously will bask in their excuses after finishing it.