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How to stay in shape while drinking alcohol regularly? (bodybuilding)

My experience with staying low bodyfat whilst still drinking alcohol

Published:

Dated: 2015-12-06

Me while in Ibiza drinking regularly and training just twice per week


Suppose, as a lifter, you eat a standard macronutrient split. E.g. 30/50/20, which means 30% protein, 50% carbohydrates, 20% fat. (Roughly - this blog isn't for a pro bodybuilder/athlete, but more for those who want to enjoy life).

 

On a 3000kcal / day diet, this would be 225g protein, 375g carb, 67g of fat. But you want to drink alcohol - you want a big night out(s), or you want a few beers every night. The only thing you can really do, from my experience, is to deduct the alcohol calories from carbs, or maybe fat intake.

 

Or, if its an occasional blowout, you can just blow your caloric budget for the day then make up for it the next day intermittently fasting until around 4 pm.

 

Or, finally, you can just stack the alcohol calories on top of your normal food and get fat then cut later when summer comes around. In a pint of lager, there are about 250kcal and 700kcal in a bottle of wine. With 375g carbs, you have 1500kcal of carbs to eat per day, so it can be done, even on a heavy night out. (For simplicity, I wont talk about the metabolic caloric expenditure of the four (yes four, ethanol is the 4th macro with 7kcal per g) macros. Yes, alcohol has a different mechanism of energy storage/expenditure, but for simplicity here lets consider a calorie a calorie rather than turn this into a four-pager). Whats the main problem with this? Alcohol wont replenish muscular glycogen the way carbohydrates do.

 

So, if you do this a lot youll look small, less full and flat, and be weaker in the gym. Then one day youll carb up and your friends will say Man, you look big today. But, at least you wont get fat. Youll also want a decent multivitamin to avoid malnutrition if you drink chronically. If youre a girl/guy who doesnt lift but wants to stay lean, you probably just deduct the calories from total expenditure - thats harshly titled alcorexia or drunkorexia.

 

The fact is, when I am drinking regularly I will always notice some strength loss and body fat gain. Believe me, Ive tried for years to find the perfect way around this, but my best conclusion is: If drinking alcohol, reduce the caloric intake from carbohydrate and leave fat/protein the same.

 

Of course, when youre in party mode, this is the last kind of thing you want to think about. But its a necessary evil if you drink regularly and want to stay aesthetic year-round IMO. Or, you can bulk and cut when it's beach time. It's your call.

About Kishore Naib (Kit Naib)

Kishore founded the e-commerce company Watch Shop in 2007 and exited in 2014 after an acquisition by Watches of Switzerland. Watch Shop was a medium sized enterprise (£44 million sales) and was one of the UK's fasted growing companies, doubling turnover every year.

After leaving Watch Shop Kishore did a few coding projects but decided to follow his true passion: Lifting and bodybuilding.

Kishore Naib