This is why booze won't help you get a six pack
Why are the best things in life always bad for you?
Alcohol is a prime example. It tastes amazing, it makes us dance better, and when we've had a skinful we feel more suave than James Bond and more loquacious than Russell Brand.
It's wonderful stuff for your social life, but if you're trying to build that honed summer physique it ain't gunna help you nailing 10 pints a night.
We're not saying you should cut out the booze entirely, everything is about moderation. But if you are trying to build a six pack in time for your holiday, then there's a few things you need to know about the old wobbly water...
If you're trying to lose weight or strip fat off your abs before your holiday, then you have to be mindful of calories.
If you eat more calories than your body needs then you're going to store fat and gain weight. It's basic science.
Carbohydrates and protein both contain 4 calories per gram - although if you're eating the right stuff, they're loaded with nutrients your body needs.
But alcohol contains a ridiculous 7 calories per gram (only fat has more with 9 calories per gram). Sadly your pint of lager or double vodka and coke has no nutritional value. It's just empty calories you're pouring into your gut.
The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day from food - but if you add 10 pints of Guinness on a Friday night (which have 210 calories in each) you're heading for trouble. That's an excess of more than 2,000 calories.
While your body can't readily turn alcohol into body fat, all those extra dietary calories will be stored in your fat cells.
Makes you eat more shite
If you've ever been sat waiting for a taxi at 3am outside the club, so drunk that you're spinning, you're never sat thinking 'Christ, I could murder a salad.'
No, all you can think about is ordering a huge greasy pizza, covered in doner meat, with a side of cheesy chips.
We all make terrible life choices in general when drunk, but especially where food is concerned - even if it feels like the greatest idea ever at the time.
When you drink alcohol your liver is working overtime to deal with it, so it stops burning glucose for energy. So your blood sugar levels drop and that's when you start craving all those carb-filled, calorie-dense junk foods.
The excess calories from alcohol aren't great, but dumping another 2,000 calories of carbs and fat into your belly at the local kebab house late at night, isn't going to help you get washboard abs.
Sadly for us, men are more prone to storing fat around their abdomen - so you know where that late night takeaway is heading.
Stops fat burning
If you're trying to lose the beer belly, you need to burn fat. There are many ways that help your body get burning fat - from HIIT cardio, intermittent fasting, general calorie restriction and increasing the Omega 3 in your diet.
Sadly 'drinking nine Jagerbombs on a Saturday night' is not among them.
Drinking alcohol actually shuts down your body's ability to burn fat. Fat oxidation happens in the liver, but when your beleaguered organ is trying to deal with all the alcohol you're knocking back, everything else is put on a back burner.
Fat oxidation stops altogether while your liver is trying to metabolise all that Jagermeister. It can take up to 48 hours to fully deal with.
So when you stop burning fat, your body will naturally keep all your dietary fat tucked away in your fat cells - many of which are on your abdomen.
It's a double whammy though. If you drink heavily or often, it can lower your testosterone levels. Research shows that higher testosterone levels inhibit the creation of new fat cells, speed up your metabolism and make it easier for your body to burn fat.
So what can you do to minimise the effects of alcohol on your physique?
- Drink in moderation - go out and have a couple of drinks rather than 10 pints with whisky chasers
- Drink lower calorie drinks. Here's a guide to how many calories your favourite alcoholic drinks contain and here are some low calorie alternatives.
- Drop your dietary calories on your drinking day to account for the extra calories from booze.
- Try not to eat a load of junk food when drunk. Maybe even prepare some healthy meals for when you get in and the day after so you won't be tempted by pizza.