You want to lose weight because you want that look. You go to the gym and work hard. You watch the food you put into your body. You're still social on the weekends, yet you can't figure out why it's not happening. You're into your health… but you're fit-fat.
The problem? It just might be… alcohol.
I adore many of Frank Sinatra's lyrics, yet I definitely disagree with his famous quote: "I feel sorry for people that don't drink, because when they wake up in the morning, that is the best they are going to feel all day."
Well, Frank, if you want to feel and look healthy, please keep these in mind:
Alcohol is a drug
If you consume alcohol, you do drugs. If you wake slowly from that drug and counter it with a strong coffee – you're doing more drugs. And if you eat hangover crap on some days yet eating healthy on other days… combating that with hitting the gym but other times being a couch potato… those drugs and that lifestyle is a roller coaster that stacks on kilograms. Your mind and body prefer a healthy consistency. Drugs, health, and fitness do not belong in the same sentence.
Alcohol ruins your sleep
Sure, a night out sends you straight to bed, but ultimately, alcohol ruins your sleep. You sleep in cycles, and a bender disturbs REM sleep. You'll wake tired with little energy to get to a gym (or outdoor) session.
Alcohol causes weight gain
Sure, some drinks have a bit of nutritional value (there's Vitamin C in an orange juice and vodka), but alcohol on its own does not – therefore it's loaded with empty calories. Extra calories means extra weight. Gents, welcome the beer gut. Ladies, you'll be looking muffin-tastic. You can move with intensity, but your shape isn't changing - you're fit-fat.
A man sinking eight pints on Friday, eight on Saturday, and four post-beach on Sunday will consume an extra 3,600 calories (15,000 kilojoules) per week. A woman knocking back a 1.5 bottles of wine on Friday, Saturday, and half that on a Sunday will consume an extra 2,250 calories (9400 kilojoules) per week.
Though it's not an exact science, to work off those empty calories that man and woman will have to run four hours at 10km/hr pace – serious exercise to negate a few nights on the tiles.
Alcohol causes (unhealthy) weight loss
Serious alcohol abuse damages organs and impairs your body's ability to absorb nutrients. If you're smashing the booze regularly, you're smashing organs and becoming malnourished, which can result in muscle atrophy and unhealthy weight loss.
Alcohol is a depressant
Drinking affects your central nervous system. A mind in the gutter firing from a drug doesn't hit the next day's exercise session with drive.
Exercising post-bender is dangerous
The "no pain, no gain" mentality followed by a projectile vomiting session is stupid and dangerous. If you hit the town, your body needs rest, not exertion. If you're hungover but still doing a high intensity gym session, you're stressing your body. Vomiting is merely the damage that alcohol poisoning has done to your gastrointestinal tract from the evening prior.
Dehydration is a guarantee
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning you'll go to the toilet more, leaving you dehydrated during sleep. With morning's dehydration comes a feeling of dizziness, tiredness, and headaches. Again, nobody's exercising with vigour while feeling like they're in a cotton mouth hell.
A hangover has side effects
You get belted with workmates. You eat late night and pack on the calories. You wake and can't believe you're horizontal next to a co-worker, yet you're aching for more food to cure what's ailing you. It's more junk food calories, and it might even be more hair of the dog boozing. Ultimately, it's going straight to your waistline, and you'll be spending less time in the gym and more time on the toilet reading gossip magazines.
WATCH: How to drink less, for longer
The rebuttal to the "drink less" mantra is bound to involve that wretched branding of "you're being un-Australian mate". But I'm saying it because Silly Season has ended, Australia Day has passed, and we're now deep into 2016. Drink less, or (and this will really test you) – how about you try going without. If missing a few parties, barbecues, and big nights out means missing out on obesity, the hospital, and diabetes… well, what have you got to lose?
Last week, Senior Australian of the Year Professor Gordian Fulde voiced his opinion on the damaging effects he sees in hospitals that drugs and alcohol have on "this fantastic country". And earlier this week, Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart spoke about the alcohol-fuelled violence he sees in our culture. One sees alcohol trauma in the emergency room; the other sees it in the streets. I'm joining the squad and asking you to stop the trauma that alcohol is doing to your health and fitness.
Sure, have fun and enjoy a few. Just remember balance. And don't forget that a vodka Red Bull is like oil and water when it comes to your health and fitness.
Could you swear off booze completely? Would you?
Tell us in the comments section.
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.