“You can have friends or you can have abs, but you can’t have both.”
You may have heard this quote before. But I’m here say, let them eat cake, baby! (Not actually though, that sh*t will go straight to your hips).
Summer is great for a lot of reasons: the beach, the boardwalk, the bodies; not to be lost in the shuffle is a cold drink on a warm patio with your besties. But is it possible to avoid the beer-belly while still enjoying a tall-frosty? If you’re smart about it, heck yah it is.
A night or two per week of competitive drinking (or co-ed recreational drinking) won’t turn your 6-pack into a camel-pack; just don’t go back-to-back. Back to back binging not only puts extra stress on your organs from the boozing, it prevents them from doing what they do best, which is eliminating radicals, processing foods, and burning fats. Not allowing for at least a day of recovery in between means that you are amplifying the effects. Additionally, scheduling applies to your eating patterns earlier in the day. If you know that you are going to be hitting the patio and crushing some major calories that night, eat a little cleaner and a little lighter during the day. In general, this is where the 80/20 rule works best (if 80% of the time you are good, then 20% of the time you can be bad).
In case you live in a cave, alcohol’s derivative is sugar, and sugar is a carbohydrate. Excessive carbohydrate consumption by a human leads to the carbs being stored in their body as glycol-lipids (aka. Fat cells). However, carbohydrates are more efficiently metabolized when consumed with proteins. A ratio of about 4:3 (carbs to proteins) is ideal for your body to metabolize those carbohydrates most efficiently. To put that in patio terms, for every pint of brew (approx. 14g carbs), you should eat 2 dry-rub chicken wings (about 5g protein). Or for every Bellini (approx. 24g carbs), you should eat 3 pieces of salmon sashimi (about 6g protein). If you are a subscriber to intermittent fasting, you will find this balance often has you coming out leaner and tighter the next day.
Ever been inundated with the ever popular fitness phrase, “You can’t outwork a bad diet”? False. Totally false. You CAN outwork a bad diet. You workouts should all include minimal rest, super-setting, and should target big muscles. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is all the range and gives you bang for your buck when it comes to cardio. But do NOT do a heavy resistance training workout the morning or afternoon following a heavy night of drinking. Your body is a beast when it comes to recovering and repairing itself. This applies to both your workouts and your night-outs. HOWEVER, it can only focus its reparative efforts on singular systems at a time, and it will always prioritize vital systems. This means that after a night of binging, you body is focused on repairing your liver, kidneys, lungs, and the other organs you decided to treat like an amusement park. If you decide to grunt out a resistance training workout the morning after, your body is going to ignore the reparative requests of your torn muscles, and you will actually be atrophying and potentially injuring yourself.
So it is possible to have underwear model abs, friends, and an enviable patio-season, all at the same time. Be smart, have a game plan, and wear sunscreen!