Wednesday, July 6

Alcohol and Your Metabolism

As Ultimate Bootcampers, we have a work hard, play hard mentally. We enjoy a challenging outdoor workout, but we also love to gather with friends and enjoy a summer BBQ.

But if you're REALLY looking to get the results you want from your 4-week bootcamp experience, there is one thing you can reduce or even eliminate from your "play hard" lifestyle that will help you reach your goals quicker: alcohol.

OH! I hear the SIGHS (and arguments) right now.

"People who drink red wine moderately live longer"

"Alcohol reduces aging of the arteries"

"Dark beers give you strength because of the iron content"

I'm not saying these statements are false, but here is a bigger truth: alcohol significantly sloooooows down (we're talking turtle slow, inch worm slow) your body's normal metabolic process.

How Alcohol Slows your Metabolism

The metabolic process is your body's act of turning food and drink into other compounds that, ultimately, our body uses for energy. Throwing a wrench into your metabolism like alcohol means your body can't absorb the proper energy source it needs for day to day functions.

While you might not feel the effect a couple glasses of wine has on your everyday functions, you will absolutely feel the lack of effort your body gives to you during an intense boot camp workout. I'm talking increased shortness of breathe, legs that feel like 1 ton boulders and arms that laugh at you when attempting bicep curls. Wait, I think I just described a typical boot camp workout without alcohol...make it a 2 ton boulder. ;o)

A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Each standard drink contains a similar amount of alcohol. This alcohol prevents the proper processing of vitamins and minerals which are needed in the natural metabolic functions. Without the vitamins and minerals, energy production is reduced.

Also hindered - by even just a small amount of alcohol - is the ability of your body to bring on lipid oxidation (the burning of fats), according to the American Journal of Clinical Research.

How alcohol contributes to weight gain

Alcohol contains almost TWICE the amount of calories per gram (7 calories per gram) than proteins and carbohydrates. This is one of the reasons why it contributes to weight gain - even if you're working out regularly.

Plus, research has shown a 20% increase in calories consumed at a meal when alcohol was consumed before the meal. So, that often means that healthy summer salad you just ordered might turn into a salad + bread & oil + dessert + an extra drink or two. In studies, people who drank alcohol with their meals consumed a total of 33% more calories!

So if you're really looking to lose weight or fit into a smaller dress or pant size, kicking alcohol to the curb could help speed up the process - and your metabolism.

Jill Tomich is the owner of Ultimate Bootcamp and a Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant who enjoys fresh mint mojitos - except when she's turning up her activities to reach her own fitness goals.

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