Music and alcohol seem to go hand in hand—whether it’s wine, Louis, and a bubble bath; kegs, hippie music, and fraternization; or Jack, a broken heart, and neon lights. I should also add music industry offices with office kitchens stocked with beer for the 5 o’ clock hour, or special meetings. No matter what though, there is a difference between enjoying and abusing the consumption of alcohol.
A lot of my friends are working musicians, and I’ve told some of them this—I worry about their drinking habits, and their overall health in general, as a result of being on the road and/or playing in bars all the time. Obviously, there are also health benefits to moderate consumption of alcohol; but today my focus is on how alcohol consumption hinders your body’s regular performance, because let's face it, most musicians down on honky tonk central are not moderately consuming alcohol. And maybe one of those musician friends of mine will read this and at least consider drinking one less beer at each gig ;)
First, we’ve all heard the generalization that “alcohol makes you fat.” I mean, it’s the reason why I cut Coke out of my Jack, because I figured it’s one less evil to deal with; and I’m not a fan of pop anyways…except for the occasional root beer float, but I digress. Anyways, “alcohol makes you fat” for several reasons. The most obvious is the additional calories, especially in mixed drinks. Those cute little umbrellas and fun tropical colors are not so cute and fun and when you realize the amount of calories you’re packing. Don’t even get me started on energy drinks and alcohol mixes—I think energy drinks are death in and of themselves, and you shouldn’t have it in any way, shape, or form, for any reason! I will give you the stink eye if you order Red Bull vodka.
On top of the caloric pitfalls, when alcohol is in your system, your body tries to deal with the alcohol first, and break it down before it gets to the other fats and carbs it needs to break down. Doesn’t sound like a huge deal right? Wrong. While your body is steadfastly trying to break down the alcohol in your system, the alcohol is blocking your body from burning fat. Alcohol increases a stress hormone known as cortisol, which further encourages fat storage by breaking down your muscles instead of fat. Muscle burns fat—that’s why strength training is important to mix into your cardio. However, alcohol wrecks your muscle recovery—thus slowing down your metabolism—by stalling the process of muscle recovery, as well as interfering with your sleep. When you’re sleeping and resting, is when you’re body recovers, but if you’re not sleeping well, you’re not recovering well either. Also, as we all probably know, alcohol dehydrates the body. When your body is dehydrated, it means that it cannot build muscle and burn fat. Additionally, when you consume alcohol, your body desires food, because of the dopamine released as a result of alcohol consumption. Dopamine is the “pleasure and addiction” hormone. Therefore, alcohol consumption hits you twice and makes you desire more alcohol and more food. So basically, “alcohol makes you fat” because it disrupts muscle recovery, thus ruining your metabolism, and as a result your body stores fat…and then it makes you want to drink more and eat more, thus adding more fat to your system.
Needless to say, happiness will not be found at the bottom of an empty glass bottle—maybe temporary comfort, or temporary pleasure, but certainly not everlasting happiness ;)
BIG LOVE & BIG HUGS