Alcohol is often referred to as a “4th macronutrient” because it does not fall under the category of a protein, fat or carbohydrate, and does not provide any essential nutrients to your body. Having a few alcoholic beverages, a week, can really bump up your calorie intake without you even realizing it. Alcohol contains a ton of empty calories and can truly crush your goals.
Your body doesn’t metabolize alcohol very well. It takes quite a bit of time for alcohol to move its way out of your system. When the body is trying to metabolize alcohol, it stops metabolizing other nutrients that are more beneficial to your body. For this reason, alcohol will stunt the recovery time from your workouts.
Aside from interfering with your calorie goals for the week, alcohol will also affect your performance in the gym. Ever feel sluggish after a night of drinking? Alcohol slows down your response rates, which affects your power and endurance while working out. When consuming alcohol on a regular basis, you will have feelings of fatigue much sooner than you normally would.
If you are someone who tracks your macros, then you should place your grams of alcohol under the carbohydrate or fat categories. You should never place alcohol under your protein. Protein builds your muscles and as we all know, alcohol does not do that.
Will alcohol completely derail your progress? Not if you are only consuming 1-2 beverages a week, but if you are someone who drinks 4+ alcoholic drinks a week, then you may want to consider how it is affecting your results in the gym!
Below is a cheat sheet for calculating your calories/macros for some of your favorite beverages!
- 1g of alcohol = 7 calories.
- Champagne = 65 calories/ 9g of carbs or fats
- Mojito = 220 calories/ 31g of carbs or fats
- Red Wine = 120 calories/ 17g of carbs or fats
- Margarita = 350 calories/ 50g of carbs or fats
- Seltzer = 100 calories/ 14g of carbs or fats
- Vodka Shot = 95 calories/ 14g of carbs or fats