Before you continue reading....go straight to the bathroom and pee, then observe the color before flushing.
What color was it? NoOooooOOo don't tell me, I don't need the TMI, you just keep that to yourself (seriously, please don't send me pictures). But DO review the color chart below and what it means.
Dark yellow (5-8) - Body isn't burning fat - read this article
Yellow (3-4) - Body isn't burning fat - read this article
Light yellow (2) - Now we're talking - Buuuttt you may need a few tips
Clear (1) - Oh yeah baby! You're taking care of that bod. - but still, read this article. Reinforcement always helps.
You've heard it a thousand times before, drink water, drink water, drink water.
"If you drink water you'll lose weight"
"If you drink water it will make you healthier"
And it makes sense to you every time you hear it for a variety of reasons that you've compiled specific to you.
But how does water really help you lose weight?
Your liver is the organ that is responsible for metabolizing fat. If your kidneys don't get enough water to function, the liver steps in to assist. If you drink enough water, it will reserve the liver for breaking down that fat, and keep it off kidney duty. This is the primary reason you should drink water for weight loss. Even when you are trying to cut/shred weight you still need a decent amount of water in.
The most important times to hydrate for fitness: First thing in the morning and pre-workout, specifically an hour before.
But be careful not to over-hydrate, or consume during your workouts because you will feel it, you may cramp or even slow yourself down. You may have heard that everyone needs a gallon a day. If you ask me, this is just not true. Water intake is based on you and your personal needs. For instance, someone like me would likely take in about a gallon or gallon and a half a day. Why? I live in Florida where the heat is high and the sweat is constant. I box moderately and train, sometimes I even need close to 2 gallons a day. But for someone sitting behind a desk all day, with light exercise, they may only need a gallon. Then there's the other extreme, for someone like a boxer who's working out 3-5 hours at a time, or several times a day, they may need nearly 3 gallons a day.
So when you asses your water needs, take into account how much you sweat, your activity level, and your daily routine and diet.
So, what does this have to do with drinking alcohol?
Let me tell you a story...
Earlier this summer at an awesome BBQ, I couldn't help but chuckle at one of my friends for her drunk yet intelligent behavior. During a hilarious alcohol-induced moment she pranced around outside shouting " BC motha fuckin A's" as she held up a brand of BCAAs that she loves and takes in most nights after a long night of drinking. Now during this moment of laughter among the girls, I wondered how many actually paid attention to how smart my friend was being. See, Jen may or may not have sounded like some gym rat who's all about fitness, but if you actually listened to her, it could have been a very good educational moment for anyone. She may not realize how her day-to-day routine actually does play a role in her body (which is AMAZING). Often times she's taking advice from varied sources and is open to trying anything (one of my favorite things about her). But what does it actually mean for her body when she drinks a bunch of alcohol and then shoves down x amount of ounces of water and BCAAS?
When you drink, two things are happening:
One, is that your body cannot store alcohol calories the way that it stores food calories, so anything you just ate is put on the back burner and your body goes into panic mode to get rid of the alcohol.
Two, is that you dehydrate yourself. As you just learned in the section above, when you're dehydrated your liver starts to worry more about your kidneys than metabolizing fat. When Jen drinks water, she re-hydrates. This helps to save her liver so it can continue metabolizing the fat once it's back in action. By adding the BCAA's to the mix, she's re-gaining leucine, which is blocked by alcohol, and needed for building muscle. She's helping her muscles recover, regulating her leptin levels, helping her body to remain in a state of satiety, and overall doing a lot of good for her body.
Now, because you're such a good sport, I'll throw in a few words about pre-game eating.
You wouldn't guess it by looking at her, but Jen can eat like the best of us. If you've ever looked at Jen and thought, "this girl has never touched a burger", you're dead wrong, my friend. Before a night out, Jen usually goes out to dinner with friends and has tacos. She's a Taco Tuesday fiend. Why is Taco Tuesday such a good pre- drinking meal? Forgetting the whole drinking-on-Tuesday thing for a moment, tacos are rich in fiber, avocado provides a healthy fat, and chicken or fish are great sources of protein. When you drink alcohol, your body needs a prep meal filled with healthy fats, protein, and fiber, Why? If you're about to go in on some cocktails and wine, you're also about to send your body through a blood sugar tizzy, so you need the fats, fibers, and proteins to regulate your blood sugar.
Finally, which is worse - one night of drinking, or one drink each night?
Okay, to be clear I am NOT telling you to go out and drink on a daily basis. But what I really WOULD NOT recommend is saving up all your drinks for the weekend.
Are you eating healthy all week, spending countless hours in the gym, then enjoying one amazing night out a week where you have all the food and drinks you want?
Wondering why you can't just have ONE night per week to enjoy without repercussions?
Here's the problem.
Alcoholic beverages are high in calories. If you have one drink a night - let's say vodka (the only thing I drink for the most part) - you're looking at about 100 cal, That's not so bad right? A quick re-hydration glass of water soon after and a few minutes on the treadmill the next day, and for the most part, you're good.
But maybe it's Saturday night and you're the "go all out" type, so you want the Long Island Iced Tea. I'll admit that is damned tempting....BUT, that's 780 in one glass. Have 2 of those and one vodka, now were at 1,660.
That's nearly half a pound of weight gain and were only 3 drinks in. Remember, alcoholic calories are processed much differently, so until your body makes its way through those 1660 cals, any fat that's sitting there or being taken in is being stored and not metabolized. That's the most important part of the alcohol / weight gain issue.
I always tell my clients that when they drink, they're temporarily shutting down their body for the night. Alcohol is poison, the body is worried much more about getting rid of the poison than the burger you just ate.
Lastly, the day after is always a good judge of how much damage you did the night before. I've had a rough morning or two in the past after a long night of drinking, and my "go-to" was lo mein noodles from my favorite Chinese spot. Everything about it was delicious and a perfect hangover cure. But if I knew then what I know now, I would have saved myself the calories with a quick and simple trick. After you drink, right before bed, give yourself a healthy snack with protein and fiber. It's going to sit in your stomach, but you'll need something there to last and avoid the morning hunger and cookie monster scramble for greasy foods.
So, combining plenty of water with some smart eating can minimize the damage to your body, the weight gain, and the morning hangover.
Drink responsibly, my friends!
Cliff Notes for water intake:
Always stay hydrated
Never let your pee turn yellow
For every drink that dehydrates you, add a drink of water to counter
Cliff notes for alcohol consumption:
Stay hydrated, glass of water for every alcoholic beverage
Protein + healthy fat + fiber meal before drinking
Fiber & Protein snack before bed
BCAA's before bed
Keep the drink choices light in calories
Go for one drink here and there versus one night of havoc on your body.
Jen's body isn't just genetics, she's just reallyyyyy smart and hasn't realized it yet.. Hope you're reading ;)