When it comes to nights out and drinking, caloric intake of drink is usually the subject that people worry about the most. Secondly is probably the post night out binging which I will cover too.
First off, Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram which is the second highest after fat which contains 9 calories per gram.
Drinks such as vodka and other spirits is your best bet when dieting and choosing what to drink on a night out, as these are some of the lowest calorie options.
- 1 Single Vodka & Diet Coke = 56 calories
Beers, ciders, wines and cocktails usually contain more calories due to the additional ingredients included within them.
- 1 Pint of Becks = 204 calories
- 1 Pint of Regular Dry Cider = 204 calories
- 250ml Glass of Red Wine = 170 calories
(Data take from hornetjuice.com)
Now it’s not to say you can’t drink these drinks but drinking them in a high quantity will inevitably increase your total caloric intake for that day, which if too high can put you in a caloric surplus and cause you to start gaining body fat (especially if done too often and in excess).
These are the procedures I use to help me out when it comes to approaching drinking and nights out:
1. Do Extra Cardio
On the day you’re going out, hit some extra cardio in the morning or afternoon to give yourself extra leeway in the evening when it comes to drinking.
I usually like to perform 30 minutes of light cardio (burning 300-400 calories) on top of my weights for that day. This extra energy expenditure leaves you room for drinks in the evening.
2. Consume High Protein Early In the Day & Account For Calories
In regards to nutrition, eat a large amount of protein during the day so you’re near to your protein goal before you go out, whatever that may be.
Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to preserving and building lean muscle and therefore must take priority over fats and carbs on this day. Moreover, alcoholic drinks contain little, if any protein content. By hitting close to your protein goal earlier in the day means you’ll just have mainly carbohydrates and fats left in the evening, which can help account for the alcohol you will be drinking.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is also a great tool to use on this day. This basically means pushing your first meal back until later in the day so you can eat in a smaller window, thus ‘fasting’ for a short period in the morning.
Drink coffee or a caffeine based drink in the morning to help suppress your appetite if you feel hungry, then around lunchtime have your first meal. This will help you consume more calories in a smaller time frame, keeping you feeling fuller and meaning you can use the calories that you essentially 'skipped' in the morning for later on in the evening. This can either go towards drinks and/or an evening snack.
3. Drink Choice
I usually opt for a vodka with a diet soft drink (diet coke, coke zero, sprite zero, red bull zero) to reduce caloric intake per drink when I'm out.
- Single Vodka & Diet Coke = 56 calories
- Double Vodka & Diet Coke = 112 calories
(Data take from hornetjuice.com)
When it comes to drinking out, it’s easy to go over board. On a night that I’m ‘controlling’ what I’m drinking I like to opt for no more than 6-8 low calorie drinks throughout the evening.
- 8 Single or 4 Double Vodka & Diet Cokes = only 448 calories
5. Post Night Out Food
Coming in from a night out, I make sure I consume a healthy protein source whenever possible. This can include:
- Chicken Shish Kebab with veggies (not much sauce, if any)
- Greek Yogurt
- Protein Shake/Protein Bar/Protein Cookie
Not only does this ensure I hit my protein goal for the day but protein which is high in satiety, will help keep me feeling fuller and prevent me from binging before I go to bed.
6. Hydration Before Bed
Before I go to bed, I drink at least one full pint glass of water and then fill it back up and put it on the bedside table, in case I am thirsty again in the night or in the morning when I wake up. This will ensure I am fully hydrated and again, help curb the temptation to binge eat.
7. Schedule a non-counting day & take an Active Recovery the day after
Ideally you want to schedule yourself a non-counting day the day after a night out as your will power can be hindered and cause you to want to eat a lot of of calorie dense food.
A non-counting day is where you don't track your foods and have a break from your diet. This doesn't mean binge eat, it just means having a day where you increase your calories to around maintenance level or just slightly above so you can enjoy some extra treats and foods that you may not eat as much during your usual dieting phase (pizza, chocolate, ice cream etc.)
Just ensure on this day you're consuming enough protein.
- 0.8-1 gram of protein per LB of bodyweight is usually the general guideline.
Take a day off from your regular gym program and opt for an active recovery or light cardio in regards to training. There is no point in hitting a heavy weights session after a big night out, as not only will you feel rubbish, you can damage your CNS (central nervous system) if you push yourself too hard. Rest, recovery, hydrate and get back on it Monday.
8. Have a SICK night out!
Probably the most important one (at least in my opinion anyway). Use these steps to give yourself less stress when going out. Prepare for it well before and after, adjust accordingly during and go out and smash the night!