Having to choose between a lean bod or craft beer is a decision I never want to make, and I don’t have to, because there’s a way to have both.
I’m not here to tell you to stop drinking beer or to start drinking if you don’t!
Many of us do things that aren’t perfect: Stay up too late, kill a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s at once and drink alcohol.
We’re not striving to be the most healthy human being on this planet. Most of us, anyway.
But in the long run, we do need good habits to outweigh the sinfully delicious ones.
I got into craft beer when I studied in Italy in 2010. I discovered there was better tasting beer than Keystone.
It became a fun hobby: Visiting breweries, learning how to brew beer and teasing people about Sam Adams doesn’t count.
But when I started taking my fitness performance seriously, it could’ve become a hobby that cost my performance, gave me the bad kind of gains and affected my health. But I’ve got a handle on enjoying my pints and bombers while I continue to progress my goals.
I have five easy tips to help you over the holidays (and every week).
It’s so simple I should have titled this “Tips for Dummies to Keep the Beer Without the Gut!” 😉
1. Schedule your water.
This is the best thing I’ve done for myself. Writing future digital notes to your tipsy self.
Most people know, and say, drinking a glass of water every other boozy beverage is a good idea. It helps you not get so dehydrated and could keep you fuller (less likely to want to drink more).
But who are we kidding when we say we remember to do this every time?
So I set reminders on my phone for every hour. Why don’t you do the same? Name your reminders “Drink water, ya sexy animal.” Exclamation points included when it’s 1:00 AM.
You could do this with late-night food, too. “Order chicken and absolutely no fries!”
2. Worship the Deadlift
Cardio alone will not keep it off. Steady state cardio is great for your heart, but if it’s not mixed with doses of strength training and high intensity, your body will adapt to the repetitive steady state which makes it even harder to lose weight.
Besides deadlifts, I encourage squats, pull, squat thrusters, and other compound exercises. Deadlifts are in my top three favorite exercises because they work your muscles from head to toe in short time, release endorphins, raise your metabolism, boost the most powerful part of your body, makes you look and feel like a badass.
Seriously, it’s like the unicorn of exercises, it’s magical.
Tip: Lift at least four hours before you have a cocktail so you don’t inhibit protein synthesis (the gains).
3. Fuel with protein before you go out
Saving room for the meal – as lovely as that sounds – usually leads to two outcomes:
- You get too tipsy because you haven’t eaten. (Not super classy.)
- You go overboard with your eating because you’re ravenous.
Boom – your quest for a sexy bod has been unraveled.
Just because you didn’t eat before does not mean you earned some superhero ability to burn extra Christmas cookies.
Fill up with protein and vegetables, for nutrients and fiber, before you go out. Empty carbs won’t fill you up.
If you don’t have time to put together something, I usually go to Chipotle and order a burrito bowl with no rice, a handful of beans, chicken, fajita vegetables and guacamole. Doable, no?
Never ask me out for Italian, because I will eat a burger before I go have Italian. Unless you’re cool with triple protein toppings on my pasta or pizza.
4. Stop blaming the beer.
Beer isn’t directly related to your gut. I’ll ask a few questions that will force you to self evaluate:
How often do you watch TV or get up and away from the computer?
Do you strength train 3 times a week?
Are you drinking in moderation? As in, a handful of drinks twice a week compared to 4-5x a week and drinking more than your fingers can count.
Do you sleep enough?
Are you stressed all the time?
When your cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise, they take it out on you by giving you pesky abdominal fat. It is a flight and flee response – they take fat because the body think it needs food, and there are more cortisol receptors in the abdominal area.
If a beer helps you unwind at the end of the night, so be it! Rather than wasting calories on watered down beer, enjoy a craft brew. If you’re really looking to, er, loosen up – craft brews usually have a higher ABV so you can get more bang for less beer, and less stress!
5. You do have the time to train. Hush.
You got time to go to these parties? Which is something you scheduled…by choice.
I’m willing to bet you have the same ability to schedule a training session for yourself. Trust me, it’s sexy, even if it makes you a little late to events.
I saw a quote on Instagram the other day:
Self-love is the best middle finger you can give.
I’ll raise a glass to that.