How to Booze & Still Lose

The holiday’s are here; and lets face it, most of us are going to be having a few drinks. Especially if it’s one of those lame work parties….

…or worse, your significant others lame work party!


At which point a little inhibition reduction is essential to keeping the conversations flowing and the awkwardness to a minimum.

I know this is a horrible rationale for having a couple drinks – similar to taking the edge off after a stressful week of work – but it works.  And if it helps you relax and be social is it all that bad?

As we discussed this time last year, moderate alcohol consumption can be beneficial to your long-term health.  With those consuming 1-2 drinks, a few nights per week, living longer, showing superior cardiovascular (1, 2, 3) and metabolic health (1, 2, 3), and experiencing lower rates of depression, dementia (1, 2) and cancer.

Despite popular belief, alcohol also doesn’t get stored as fat.  What it does, is prevent you from burning any (from storage or circulation), as your body is wired to burn alcohol first.

After 1-2 alcoholic drinks fat-burning is blunted by nearly 75%!

fat burning

So, if you’re ‘drinking to get drunk,’ the easiest way to not gain is to not eat. This will ensure there’s no previously consumed food flowing through your bloodstream that will get marked for storage. Plus, it will make sure you get the head buzz you’re looking for, without having to consume an unhealthy amount of booze.

You’ll also want to choose a drink that’s high in alcohol and low in carbohydrates. With the clear spirits (vodka, gin, etc) mixed in soda water (increases absorption), or dry wines, being the obvious choice. Although the wood aged spirits (whiskey, brandy, cognac) have some nice antioxidants (1, 2, 3), and don’t require much more than a few ice cubes.

For those under 25 or still single, taking a couple shots and coasting is also an option. As there’s no arguing with the fact that this will get your blood alcohol very high very quick.

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If any of this worries you, or if you need to eat, you’ll want to consume LEAN protein and low glycemic vegetables. Since both ‘fat’ and ‘carbohydrates’ will be marked for storage when consuming alcohol, while protein is the only macronutrient that won’t.

Obviously the downside of eating while drinking, is that you need to drink more. But if it’s a lengthy event and you’re okay with consuming additional drinks to get a buzz (or you’re okay with not getting one) this may be the option for you.

Another thing that helps is trying to schedule your HIIT workout on the same day as the event, and skip out on the post workout sugar/starch. This not only frees up glycogen space (liver and muscle) for emergency glucose storage, but it elevates your energy burning rate and improves your insulin sensitivity. Which could prove useful at a party where your inhibitions are down and your desire to eat is up (1, 2).

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike


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