How Alcohol Can Ruin Fat Loss (Not What You Think)

What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewanyj on And in this video today I want to explain
the relationship between alcohol and fatloss, and go over what the potential problem with
drinking is and what it isn’t when it comes to leaning down because there seems to be
a lot of misunderstanding on this topic. Now before I jump into it, if you enjoyed
this video make sure to hit the subscribe button below to stay in the loop on all of
my future content. And click the little bell symbol as well and
that way you’ll be notified whenever a new video is available so that you don’t miss
out on anything. So what the problem isn’t when it comes to
alcohol and fatloss is the alcohol itself. Meaning there’s nothing inherently fattening
about alcohol and it is possible to consume some alcohol as part of your diet and still
lose fat consistently just as much fat as you would otherwise as long as you exercise
some reasonable moderation and you track the calories. Just like there’s nothing inherently fattening
about eating a slice of pizza or having a couple cookies, how alcohol actually affects
your results all depends on how it fits into the overall picture as a whole. In order to lose fat you need to maintain
a calorie deficit. Alcohol contains calories and if you track
those calories as part of your diet just like if you track the calories from piece of pizza
or a cookie you can still maintain a nett deficit, get in all of your other macro and
micro nutrient needs and you can still lose fat while having a few drinks here and there. So as long as you don’t go overboard, meaning
you’re having no more than the equivalent of about one to two drinks per day for a male
about half that amount for a female, or you’re going out and having a higher number of drinks
but doing it less frequently, like having a night out with your buddies and drinking
a bit more heavily but just doing it every now and then, alcohol itself is not going
to be a problem from a pure fat burning or muscle building perspective. There’s a lot of myths on this floating around
but no, it won’t suppress testosterone to any serious degree unless you consume a huge
amount and even then the effect is temporary. It won’t reduce protein synthesis to any serious
degree and it won’t affect recovery either unless you’re doing very high volume training
or endurance training. And again, you’d have to be drinking a fairly
heavy amount for that to be a problem. And I did a detailed video on this last year
that I’ll link below, and I’ll also link some studies below on this as well. So, alcohol itself tracked and in moderation
is not going to significantly negatively impact fatloss. However, where drinking can become a real
problem and where it can legitimately throw your fatloss program and your physique off
course is from the behavioral changes that it can produce which then carry over to your
program as a whole. Meaning, maybe you go out drinking and you
do take the calories into account and it all fits into your intake for the day. No problem there, but what do you end up eating
at the end of the night, for example. Are you really going home and eating you know
a chicken breasts with sweet potato or are you sitting at McDonald’s at 03:00 A.M. eating
a 20-piece Chicken McNugget meal with five sweet and sour sauces and a large fries. Big difference there. You’re probably also not going to get the
best sleep in the world. Maybe you have a bit of a hangover. So how does that affect your motivation the
next day? Are you going to say, “Okay, that was a
fun night time to get back on track let’s get back into the gym get back on track with
my diet.” Or are you going to say, “Screw it. I already messed up last night so I’m just
going to relax on the couch and watch Netflix and order some pizza.” And if that happens, how is that going to
affect your training? Are you now going to feel discouraged and
skip a workout or skip a cardio session? Is your diet going to get even worse? And if those things happen how does it affect
you moving forward? When friends ask you to go out drinking again
the next weekend are you going to say, “No, I drank last week I’m going to take it easy
and stay in.” Or are you going to give in and go ahead and
repeat that same process again. Little fluctuations in calorie intake or a
missed workout here and there are not going to be a big deal but if it’s happening too
frequently it obviously will add up. And since fatloss primarily comes down to
overall nett energy balance, burning more calories than you consume in the overall picture,
enough little spikes and calorie intake and enough missed workouts and your deficit can
end up being significantly cut down or erased altogether. Or you could even end up in a surplus and
start gaining fat. So that, as I see it, is the real potential
problem with alcohol and fatloss or even alcohol and muscle growth. In a vacuum with all the variables controlled,
moderate alcohol consumption is not going to be an issue. But for certain people it’s the spillover
effect. That’s what you really have to worry about. There’s no question that drinking lowers your
willpower and makes things harder to resist. And if you’re somebody who struggles with
willpower in the first place, when it comes to food, then that could be a legitimate issue
for you. Just like how some people can eat one doughnut
and enjoy it and move on without a problem, for other people it can be a trigger food
where one doughnut leads to two doughnuts which leads to five and so on. A doughnut is not inherently fattening in
and off itself it’s the quantity of donuts and how those donuts end up affecting the
overall picture. So if you’re serious about leaning down and
achieving a great physique, you have to know yourself, okay. Everybody is different and you have to be
honest with yourself and say, “Can I go out and drink socially and have, maybe, three
or four drinks, take the calories into account and then call it a night and carry on as usual.” Or “Does three or four drinks usually spiral
out of control for me?” Or, “Yeah, I want to go out one night have
more of, like, a party night, drink a larger amount, can I have that one big night and
just let loose and have my calories temporarily spike up a little bit and then get right back
on track? Or, “Is that big night likely going to affect
me negatively moving forward.” Am I going to be tired and eat more the next
day or in the next several days? Am I going to skip workout to lose motivation,
et cetera. If you know that you can drink in moderation
without any issue then you’re probably fine. And you can strike a good healthy balance
for yourself there. Or if you have maybe more of an addictive
personality or you struggle with willpower, especially when it comes to food, maybe you
decide that abstaining altogether at least for the time being while you focus on your
fitness program is the better choice. Or maybe you do have a drink or two here and
there but only in certain settings, meaning that you avoid those typical party scenarios
where people are drinking more heavily and you just stick to more casual settings like
a restaurant or a small gathering or something like that. Now, what are some things you can do to minimize
alcohols spillover effects? I’ll give you a few tips here before closing
the video out. Number one, if you’re drinking more heavily
then don’t do it the night before a workout since you’ll have a higher chance of skipping
and if you do train then your performance likely won’t be as good. That’ll give you a day to recover, or maybe
two days to recover, and to get your motivation back and to hit the gym when you’re feeling
fresh again. Or at the very least try to schedule your
easiest workout on that day rather than the more challenging ones. Secondly, save up some calories during the
day for later on in the night. You probably don’t want to be drinking on
a completely empty stomach but at least earlier on the day you can eat a little bit lighter,
because that’ll create a bit of a calorie buffer so that if you do have a higher calorie
meal later on the effect it won’t be as significant overall. Third, have a set limit in mind for how many
drinks you’re going to have that night before you start drinking. It doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to
stick to it, obviously, but it’s something that I personally find really helpful because
I’ll end up spacing my drinks out a bit further rather than just getting caught up in it and
letting things get a bit out of control. Fourth, one tip you can try is to have a pre-prepared
meal ready for you at home for later on. So if you know that there’s a meal ready for
you when you get back and all you have to do is just pop it in the microwave, that’ll
lessen the chance that you will end up binging on fast food or some other really high-calorie
takeout food at the end of the night. And fifth is to rehydrate. Most people don’t need to be told this, but
alcohol is very dehydrating and replenishing those fluids after you drink will go a long
way in minimizing any potential hangover which will also minimize the chances that you’ll
fall off track with your nutrition and your training. The better you feel after a night of drinking
the better off you’re going to be in terms of your fitness program and vice versa, and
if besides drinking water there are other things you know that personally help in terms
of reducing your hangover, have the discipline to do those things before going to bed. So bottom line here guys, alcohol itself is
not a problem when consumed in moderation. It doesn’t ruin fatloss in and of itself. You can drink socially in moderation and still
lose fat and achieve a great physique. But what can ruin fatloss is how the alcohol
affects the overall picture. So, know yourself and know what your strengths
and your weaknesses are and structure your training and diet and your potential alcohol
consumption based around that if you truly want to succeed at this and get into the shape
you’re after. So, I hope this was helpful for you. Feel free to share the video if it was. You can hit the like button, leave a comment
and subscribe as well. If you want to check out my complete step-by-step
Body Transformation Blueprint system that shows you how to maximize your muscle building
and fat burning results, including easy-to-follow workouts and meal plans supplement guides
and one-on-one coaching, then you can click the little icon here. Or you can visit, the
link for that is in the description box. The official website is over at And make sure to follow me on Instagram and
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box. Thanks for watching, guys. And I’ll see you in the next video.

67 thoughts on “How Alcohol Can Ruin Fat Loss (Not What You Think)

  1. Being English, this is something of an issue socially since I have been tracking calories. I like ale and lager which are typically higher in Cal's. I guess some options could be vodka and a diet mixer… Hmm moderation is key.

  2. Highly informative video today Sean! I use vodka neat as my go to drink, i usually have about 5 or 6 drinks a night but, only 3 days a week. So Approximately 15 to 18 drinks a week. Nice to know I am not ruining my weight loss program

  3. Better vodka than beer even the alcohol % amount is the same. Wine is popular (resvaratrol) but we talk about a quality brands. In fact wine is worst. I remember only when I have a walk alcohol hadnt destroyed lose weight effects. But it depends on personality if we are strong enough.

  4. i dont drink anymore just because it affects my workouts the next day. simple as that haha. and i’d rather spend those macros on dessert ?

  5. Or…you could always drink while at the gym! Gotta get it in! Totally kidding! Thanks for the info… I feel so much better now!

  6. One of the best YouTube fitness channels. Love the straightforward, logical approach. Keep it up Sean!

  7. I used to go by 3 beers a week seems like I can squeeze in some more ?
    Great timing btw just came to my parent's house for holiday ?

  8. Hey Sean great video. I follow that same way of thinking. I would also love to see a video on the affects on trainning from the major type of blood donations. Whole, double, plasma & platelets. When can you work out again, will it affect weight loss or gains affects on performance etc.. Thanks!

  9. It’s unbelievable, human race have a design error. Whatever makes us to fill good (alcohol, chocolate, sex, smoking) is not good for our health. We are a cosmic joke ??

  10. Great video. Question here, other people recommend eating very little fat on drinking day. Do you think it matters if all drinks are tracked and you stay within your daily calories?

  11. Very true that alcohol does affect will power to resist eating junk. Like who wants to eat chicken and sweet potatoes after a night of drinking lol

  12. ??Lol omg i had 3 slices of pizza, 6 cookies and a few drinks at a party last week. Gainz gone. Im kidding but this is good info about alcohol consumption ????

    I havent had a drink in 6 months

  13. So would you say it's best to eat under maintenance on days you drink alcohol? That's what i've been doing. Slightly under maintenance to be on the safe side, track the alcohol calories, and keep it low fat. Also, eating before drinking helps immensely in curbing your post-drinking food binge.

  14. As a “Hardgainer” (#BroScience4Life) and a person of a •non-addictive personality type, moderate alcohol consumption serves as a cool 250-500 calories at the end of my day.

    I can totally see how this would get out of hand for many people.
    It’s a polar duality it seems.

  15. Any bout of heavy drinking knocks me off track for a good 3-5 days. That's why I no longer drink on the weekends, it was the single biggest factor affecting my progress and causing me to plateau on all my main lifts..

  16. I made a commitment to quit drinking until I’m under 200 lbs. Drinking kills my will power. Great video Sean. Thanks.

  17. I find that not eating before drinking gets you hammered faster. Plus you save on cost of food. Once you puke out all the alcohol at the end of the night, you won't be thinking about food. Plus the puking removes calories from your body. Win win overall in the calorie game. Hahaha

  18. Great advice – important to note however that it's important to socialise and enjoy yourself, what's the point in looking great if you can't take advantage?

  19. If it fit in the macros you can have it. Just has to be balanced I drink corona light it has 0 fat, 5g of carbs and 0 protein but yes drinking makes you want to eat and not care about the diet at the moment

  20. Awesome vid Sean. The key is moderation. I still like to enjoy a drink now and then, but have lost a lot of weight after taking up a more disciplined approach and lifestyle.

  21. Effects of Drinking Alcohol on Training and Recovery w/ Alcohol Scientist Dr. Jakob Vingren

  22. I always plan out my day if I'm going to go OUT out. I probably eat around 200-300 calories, mostly protein early in the day. Up my cardio, more intense workout.

  23. For me it wasn’t a problem when I lifted weights, but when I started doing MMA and high intensity cardio I was getting dehydrated really quick. Same thing happened with junk food! Didn’t feel sluggish when lifting weights, but when I did MMA I couldn’t endure half a class. The smell of my sweat changed, the taste was awful and my body wouldn’t respond like the week before. I later found a loophole. Drank on fridays and saturdays, but on sundays I would drink the equivalent of 24 glasses of water. On mondays I was like new.

  24. My issue is as soon as I start drinking I stop caring about tracking amounts or food choices. Its very destructive!

  25. Add drinks in your fitness pal on your drinking days right when you wake up that day and drink vodka water wit lemon and a miller lite only has 3.5 carbs 95 cals add cardio too ??? and track everything of course I did this on the weekends and still lost 30lbs although the last bit of flab is still chillin lol so I might quit drinking for awhile to see what happens ?

  26. a side question Sean: how do you overcome the difficulty when you are sick and unable to hit the gym ? What would you do during this recovery time to minimize the loss of your body ? thanl you !

  27. I rather roll a blunt. Or have a huge cheat meal instead. Alcohol not only adds calories, but messes with hormones. It clears about 72 hours from your system. So it's like 3 days lost if you burning fat or building muscle. Max 2 times a year or so. Just my two cents.

  28. Quick question Sean.
    I know this is off topic, but do you still recommend creatine mono over HCL? I’m debating on which one to get. I used to take mono back in the days but I constantly hear that HCL is superior by so many people so not sure? I know mono has been around longer and is backed by true science.
    Thanks Sean!

  29. how can I loose my muscle fat because I followed a video on exercises to make your legs skinnier and toned and the next morning my legs had a lot of muscles and thats not what I want

  30. Thats good to know, I do drink but like on average, maybe three times a month, and just one drink, or glass of whatever, never really cared for it.

  31. Can you do a video about DUP? (daily undulating periodization), I rly want to start planning my workouts, and I think this method is pretty good.

  32. If you like to drink, but are on a diet, choose what you drink carefully. Drink a whisky with water, not a rum and Coke. Drink a gin and tonic. Not gin and juice. Sip on a shot of tequila, don't drink a margarita. Etc, etc.

  33. I usually lose weight when I drink. It tends to kill my apetite for the next few days. When I drink regularly I tend to not eat at all. Until my body gives me you need to eat now signals. I have a superfast metabolism though and am very sensitive to blood sugar spikes. For example eating white bread makes me sleepy. I have never been overweight in my life even when I was a teenager. When I just sat around eating nothing but junk. For example I used to eat at least two large slices of italian cream cake a day and would burn through one cake a week in my teens. Oddly enough these days I dislike eating sweets. I don't hate them but I have no apetite for them.

    I've always been curious about it. Why I never gained weight even when I lived a lifestyle indicative of weight gain. I would actually lose weight in many instances.

  34. Hey Sean! Do you have any knowledge regarding the effects of muscle relaxers ( i.e flexeril) have on muscle growth and/ or protein synthesis?

    As always, great content! Thanks man!

  35. I am a physician and that is the best common-sense, reasonable discussion of alcohol and training that I have seen. Great work!

  36. I’m literally on my third ? as I watch this, preparing for a night of drinking. ??‍♂️ But this is my treat meal. I’ll get back on track tomorrow.

  37. He is right on track oh, this is so true. I've been in bodybuilding since I was 25. And I love my beer, but I only drink on Friday nights. But I always make sure I'm in a caloric deficit and fit it in with my macros and I don't binge eat afterwards. I just have a cup of cottage cheese and maybe a small chicken breast if that. And I still lost weight and still remained and a low percent body fat. The mistakes so many people make is overeating afterwards

  38. I saw in someone else’s video that you can’t burn fat for 48 hours after even one drink? That really sucks if it’s true

  39. I only drink if there's a major event where there is a lot of people and alcohol is free (e.g. a wedding). I drink fairly heavily (at least 5 drinks) since A. it doesn't cost me anything and B. I need alcohol in order to handle a room full of people and loud music and C. These events are rare so drinking fairly heavily for that one day won't set me back.

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