TFLA Challenge – Could You Go 30 Days Without Alcohol?
Life is normally not very exciting. Most of us get up in the morning and live each day almost as an exact mimic of the one before.
We rise, brush our teeth, wash away our less than lovely aromas, go to work, deal with it on a reactive level, come home, toss in a frozen dinner, watch a little TV, and get ready to shut ‘er down and start it all over again the following day.
Personally, fitness is just one weapon I use in my arsenal to break up this boring cycle. Three or four times a week I’ll step into a gym, or onto a running trail and tell myself, “Self, you are going to be better than you were the last time we were here.” Then I don’t just “work out”, I train.
To be stronger. To be faster. To be better than I currently am.
welcome to the top of the mountain
[Any challenge you take on, should be looked at as a test of your mental ability. Each victory is a reason to hold your head up high because not just anyone could have succeeded where you have. Keep reading to see why alcohol is so damaging to your fitness goals]
I admit that I am learning to train harder and push myself a little harder but like everything worth doing, it’s a process.
Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed, but after each challenge I put myself through I learn a little more about whom I am what I am capable of. This way, I am forced to face the results and myself, for better or for worse.
My findings have been the more I challenge myself, the better the person I become. Or at least I have a better understanding of my weakness so not to play to them in the future.
In the past I’ve challenged myself to things like a 24hr fast, with very successful results . My fasting challenge alone has shifted my weight lifting and nutritional paradigms away from the traditional bodybuilder mindset into a new and more informed view of eating and training.
But last week I set up another gauntlet.
On June 14th, while disposing of several Campari and Sodas in the midst of a rather lengthy discussion on the rampant short-term and long-term consequences of alcohol consumption with a physician who happens to be a close friend of mine. The next day I sat down and did a little more research into the effects of alcohol on fat burning. I’ve listed the highlights (or lowlights) below:
Here are a summary of alcohol’s effects on fat loss and muscle building:
A small portion of the alcohol is converted into fat
Your liver then converts most of the alcohol into acetate.
The acetate is then released into your bloodstream, and replaces fat as a source of fuel.
Alcohol increases appetite
Alcohol affects testosterone levels
Alcohol essentially puts the brakes on fat burning. It’s also one of the most effective ways to slash your testosterone levels. One night of heavy drinking raises levels of the muscle-wasting hormone cortisol and increases the breakdown of testosterone for up to 24 hours. These damaging effects of alcohol on testosterone are increased even more when you exercise before drinking.
Alcohol affects the body’s ability to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Too much alcohol in the blood can lead to a deficiency in Vitamins B1, B2 & B3, as well as magnesium and zinc. Down the road these nutrient deficiencies can cause weakening of the heart muscles, poor skin, arthritis and prostate gland disorder. That’s just the short list.
The bottom line
While an occasional drink or two every now and then is not going to affect the body negatively, excessive drinking will not only put the brakes on your fat loss efforts, it will also prevent you from building muscle tissue. So the hard no-nonsense truth is that if you’re looking for a leaner, stronger body, alcohol just doesn’t mix.
The bottom line is that alcohol and a leaner, stronger, better looking body just doesn’t mix. Not to mention all of the other side effects on the rest of your organs. For a more detailed and easy to read summary of alcohol’s effects on the body click —-> HERE
With this new knowledge in my hands, I’ve decided to start the first:
30-Days With ZERO Alcohol
Now just to be clear, I am obviously not a heavy drinker to begin with. I do however, enjoy the odd glass of red wine in the evening, and when the weekends come I have been known to be seen with more than a couple Heineken or Corona in my hands. I am absolutely a victim to good advertising.
But for the next 30 days you won’t see me with one beer, nor a sip of wine, or even a Campari and soda (sooo very good). It’s all gone for 30 days.
But this decision was not made in haste, because as the start of summer could be seen just over the horizon, I wanted to make sure that I was sacrificing my first four weeks of patio and bbq weather for a good reason, umm the greater good, if you will.
This past weekend I happened to be hanging out with a close friend of mine Sacha Ragueneau who had just won a World Competition in fitness modeling, and is also a successful bar owner in Montreal, Quebec. If there is anyone that could tell me the cost/benefit equation for boycotting alcohol it was Sacha, and he did not disappoint.
Sacha said after two weeks healthy eating and zero alcohol, “My bed was like a trampoline,” He told me. “every morning I would spring out of bed and have more and more energy every day, honestly Mike it was amazing.” That testimonial was enough for me.
Here is Sacha on compeition day:
This is Your Body Without Alcohol
I challenge all of you to either take this challenge with me or at the very least, come back and visit us and I will keep you posted on my progress… or utter and total failure.
And FYI- with a weekend of birthday BBQs, summer patio parties and a reunion dinner that just passed, this challenge has a good chance of biting the dust, but that’s the challenge.
Now, I’m not saying 30 Days without Alcohol is a Mount Everest of a challenge, but remember, Rome was not built in a day, or 30. So start out with a challenge you can achieve without too much trouble and build from there. 😉
I wish you all the best of luck in your own personal challenges, be it physical or emotional. I will update you soon.
To your future you.