How to drink booze and still get a six pack
Men want to look good.
Getting in shape takes a high ranking on many blokes' list of life goals.
But so does going out on the tins with your pals. Festivals, football, barbecues and just about any standard Friday night often involve a few beers... or probably an absolute skin-full.
The two things don't exactly go hand in hand.
Booze is loaded with empty calories, it can put you way over your daily calorie limit and stops you fat burning while your liver deals with the alcohol.
It will probably get you making terrible life choices too, like smashing three Big Macs in one sitting at 3am, as we explain in detail here.
But if you think you're going to have to make a do-or-die choice between the booze and the body, we're here to tell you you might be able to have both.
If you're smart about it, you can enjoy a drink or two without completely sacrificing the shred. Here are a few clever tricks to get around it....
Try drinking in moderation
This might seem obvious, but we're going to say it anyway - drink in moderation.
Ideally don't drink any alcohol at all and you'll probably get results much quicker.
But we all know that going all draconian and just cutting things completely out of your life is neither fun nor sustainable.
Quitting doing something you love, like having a few weekend beers, won't last long term. You'll just want it more and more and the moment you cave in you'll probably go silly on it, think your diet is completely ruined and just sack the whole thing off.
Allowing yourself a wee drink now and again will keep you ticking over and will make any diet far more sustainable, if you can fit it in with a healthy lifestyle.
Instead of going out and nailing 10 pints every night, try limiting your drinking to one night a week. Or if you're going out try just having a couple of drinks (by that we mean 1 to 3 drinks rather than the 'couple' that means sinking three bottles of wine). It will limit the amount of empty alcohol calories you're getting in and therefore how much dietary fat you're storing.
Chose your drinks wisely
Alcohol is loaded with calories. We created this list to show you just how many cals your favourite tipples are packing.
But not all alcoholic drinks are created equally, some are lower carb and lower calorie than others.
It stands to reason that if you order a White Russian cocktail with full fat milk, extra cream and loads of chocolate and marshmallows on top, it's probably going to be more calorific than a gin and slim.
As well as moderating your alcohol intake, the kind of drinks you're having when you're out can keep you from going well off track from your physique goals.
Obviously try and steer clear of drinks that are high in sugar - ditch the sugary mixers, energy drinks or fruit juices in your alcoholic drinks.
You can always rely on good old spirits to be low calorie and pretty much zero carb. The best choices, according to this diet expert, are tequila, gin and vodka.
In fact this 65-calorie Paleo Margarita could be the 'cleanest' alcoholic drink in the world.
Resveratrol-rich red wine (in moderation) has also been shown to stop your fat cells from gaining more fat, according to this Harvard study.
Balance up your calories
Your body needs a certain amount of calories every day to be in balance - an average bloke needs around 2,500 per day. Eat more and you'll gain weight, eat less and you'll lose it pretty much.
The thing with alcohol is that it's full of calories - and not the good kind that are packed with slow digesting fibre, amino acid-bearing protein or healthy fats. Just empty calories. There's 7 calories per gram.
So if you've eaten your 2,500 calories for the day in your meals and then you go on a big Friday bender and nail a belly-full of pints, you're going to be way over your daily calorie limit. That's when your body stores dietary fat from your food during the day.
We know counting calories isn't fun. But it works like a dream. So if you know you're going to drink six pints of cider at the pub that night, then adjust your food intake during the day accordingly.
The Ripped Body coach advises that you keep your daily protein levels the same (so you don't lose muscle) but instead cut carbs and fat out before your drinking session to make way for the alcoholic calories (This is, in basic terms, because alcohol stops your body burning fat - but if you've eaten very little fat during the day, then there won't be any to store).
So if six pints of cider adds up to 1,260 calories, the site advises you could have to cut 600 calories from fats and 600 calories from carbs. So that would work out as 66g of fat and 150g of carbs.
The Lean Gains site advises something similar - advising to eat 0.3g of fat per kg of bodyweight and limiting carbs to 1.5g per kg of bodyweight from vegetables, while eating as much lean protein as you like.
The bottom line is, know your calories - stay ripped.
A teacher once told us to always remember the 'five Ps' in everything we do - 'Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance'. We're pretty sure he was on about studying for exams, but you can just as easily apply this to your diet.
We know the one big diet-ruiner is waiting until you're absolutely ravenous before sorting some food out, according to Conor McGregor's nutritionist.
When you're hungry you make bad food choices. When you're drunk and hungry your food choices are even worse.
When you're drunk and hungry the last thing you're thinking about is your physique - you just want burger and chips in your belly right then and there.
Drunken late night junk food is another big factor in pushing you way over your calorie limit - and getting you storing fat.
It can spill over into the following day when you're rough as a badgers arse and all you want to do is eat crisps, drink pop and lounge in bed watching box sets.
The best way to stop your diet going way off track, smothering that six pack in fat and losing all your gains is preparation.
If you know you're going out on a big one, prepare some go-to healthy meals for when you get back and for the day after that you can leave in the fridge.
Minimum effort for when you're drunk and incapable of doing anything but order takeaway, or you're too hungover to cook.