Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What's your POISON?

I made significant progress January-September 2012.  October came and I started slipping.  I indulged my sweet tooth and drank more than I should.  I almost undid everything in a matter of three months!

There are two things I've learned I must stay away from in order to compete in figure: sugar and alcohol.

I went out last Saturday to shoot pool and I said NO for the first time.  It was hard.  I felt bad for my man his shop was broken into and he wanted a drink but I stood strong and he supported me.

That was just one weekend.  I have 18 more to get through before I can think about indulging.

My man who is a personal trainer specializing in speed and agility training not body building wanted to know why it was so important for me to abstain.  We thought it was okay for me to enjoy a few gray goose vodkas on the rocks with lime over the weekend even though my trainer said no as long as I monitored my caloric intake.    But it was becoming more apparent to me he knew what he was talking about as my progress although there was slow and not at the level it could be.

And so I decided to research why...

The main setback with alcohol is not the number of calories but the effect it has on fat metabolism.

Well isn't that a slap in the face?  It's not a simple matter of calories in versus calories out. 

The reason why alcohol has this dramatic effect on fat metabolism has to do with the way alcohol is handled in the body.  When alcohol is consumed, it readily passes from the stomach and intestines into the blood and goes to the liver.  In the liver, an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase mediates the conversion of alcohol to acetaldehyde.  

Acetaldehyde is rapidly converted to acetate by other enzymes.  So rather than getting stored as fat, the main fate of alcohol is conversion into acetate, the amount of acetate formed is dose dependent on the amount of alcohol consumed.  This sharp rise in acetate puts the brakes on fat loss.  Because acetate is readily formed from alcohol it can be worse than taking in starchy carbs as far as affecting fat metabolism.  That's because glucose has to be sequentially metabolized through various steps to form acetate while acetate is formed from alcohol in just a few steps.

Our body responds to alcohol much as it deals with excess carbs.  Alcohol isn't necessarily evil because it's always stored as fat, but because it reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy.

The effects of alcohol on the body are far more damaging than can be predicted by the number of empty calories in some alcoholic beverage.  The truth is alcohol really affects the amount of fat your body can and will burn for energy!

Alcohol consumption is not something that any bodybuilder wants to get involved with because it has many adverse effects on everything we need to gain muscle.  Although alcohol is absorbed rapidly it is metabolized very slowly and its effects may still impact athletic performance up to 48 hours after the last drink.  Alcohol is specifically detrimental to bodybuilders, or any athlete, in that it can interfere with:

  • Recovery
  • Protein synthesis
  • Motivation 
  • Nutrient intake (increase appetite)
  • Decrease strength
  • Impair reaction time
  • Impair balance and eye/hand coordination
  • Increase fatigue
  • Interfere with body temperature regulation
  • Cause dehydration
  • Deplete aerobic capacity and negatively impact endurance
  • Impact cellular repair
  • Impacts the cardiovascular system
  • Disrupt sleep
  • Cause vitamin and mineral depletion
  • Cause cognitive impairment
  • Decrease in testosterone and increase cortisol 

By not drinking, you improve the quality of everything you do.

ABSTAIN-and get them GAINS!


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