I am a big advocate of a balanced lifestyle. I preach moderation NOT restriction.
Having recently gone through a Detox Challenge (No sugar, alcohol, grains, carbs, or coffee) It really reminded me to reset what I define as moderation. That amount can creep up slowly and get hugely out of whack.
So without further ado, lets talk a bit about our friend "Mr. alcohol".
You know him (Maybe too well some nights!) he was invited to your Superbowl party and helped you:
- Drown your sorrows
- Excessively celebrate or
- Tried to keep you from being bored out your mind. Probably didn't work did it?
Alcohol and Performance - What You Need To Know
One question that often presents itself to many athletes who are trying to add strength and endurance is whether or not alcohol can be included in their nutrition plan.
Alcohol is something that most adults do like to indulge in from time to time - some more often than others.
So what's the real deal about alcohol and your progress? Is this something that you can make room for in your nutrition or is it something that you need to give the boot?
Alcohol And Calories
The very first thing that you need to take note of is how many calories are found in alcohol. Alcohol itself contains seven calories per gram, whereas both proteins and carbs contain just four. Fat comes in at the highest caloric value per gram at nine, which places alcohol right in the middle.
But what's often worse is what the alcohol is mixed with. If you're drinking your alcohol with high calorie or fat mixers such as cream, sodas, or sugary mixers you could easily end up with a drink that packs in well over 300 calories per serving.
If you take in three or four of these over the course of the night, it's really going to add up.
Now if you are surfing multiple sessions a day for a couple hours each these extra calories are being burnt right out. Excess caloric consumption is not really the problem in this situation.
The problem arises when the swell goes flat and your activity level also flatlines. Add to this more responsibilities (Work, family, etc) and the hours available to surf goes way down.
Basically if you surf multiple hours a day extra caloric consumption (Not excessive mind you that's a whole other article) isn't going to make a huge impact on you. The quality of the calories from alcohol suck! But if you have well balanced and nutritious meals in your day you're going to be alright.
Alcohol And Fat Metabolism
The second important thing that you need to note is the impact that alcohol consumption will have on your fat metabolism. The minute that you put alcohol into your body, all fat burning is going to come to a halt.
Your body views alcohol as a toxin and as such, as soon as it comes in, it's going to do everything it can to rid itself of this alcohol. No further fat will be burned off until it's out of your system.
Only then will you start burning up body fat again. So if you consume quite a bit of alcohol one night, you can expect to see your rate of fat loss drop off for a more significant period of time.
This next one if where your surf performance is going to suffer, BIG TIME!
Alcohol And Your Recovery
Finally, the last important thing to note about alcohol consumption is the impact it will have on your recovery rates. This is the #1 effect I stress to all my Activity Performance clients in regards to alcohol.
In addition to putting the brakes on all fat burning taking place in the body, the second thing that alcohol is going to put the brakes on is protein synthesis.
This means that no further lean muscle tissue will be built up as long as that alcohol is in the body.
Again, you can imagine what this is going to do to your Surf Performance goals.
Imagine having a strong morning session, then hitting the gym at noon to focus on balance and lower body plyometric strength, an afternoon session, and then going out with some buddies that evening. But instead of just 1 or 2 quality drinks you tie one on and have over 5.
What's going to happen is: Besides probably feeling like shit in the morning
- Your body is going to ramp up and focus on purging that alcohol from your system.
- All the muscle tissue that you broke down the day before is going to be delayed in its recovery and you miss out on building more lean strength. Specifically in the muscle systems that benefit your surfing most directly.
- The excess calories you put in your body are going to stay right where they are for now Repeat this to many times and you will start carrying extra fat pounds.
- Lastly and where the alcohol compounds the problems listed above is if you even get your ass out of bed to surf the next morning your strength, balance, & endurance are going to be crap and your performance is going to be crap too.
- When you start stringing crappy sessions together the physical, mental, & spiritual aspects of your surfing are going to be hugely and negatively impacted. THIS CAN SNOWBALL and you can get to a place where at best surfing is more difficult and at the worst dangerous.
So as you can see, if you want to be truly successful with your Surf Performance Program, it's best if you can forgo alcohol for the time being. One drink every now and then may not hurt all that much, but if you're taking in any more than this, it will definitely hinder the progress that you see.