How Alcohol Affects Fat Loss & Ways To Avoid It For Gains

exercises for fat

Stop losing gains because of alcohol.

We all indulge in an adult beverage here and there. It’s just part of our routine. Whether it be a nice dinner with family, a night out with friends, or a casual drink to decompress from the day, alcohol is something we enjoy. But for those serious about bodybuilding, fitness, and their health, alcohol can hinder your fat loss goals if you aren’t careful. Knowing why this happens and how best to avoid it will prove to be effective in the long run.

In moderation, alcohol can be completely fine to drink. It’s casual, a social thing, just something part of our society. Too much and we all know what can happen. If you’ve ever tried lifting, or worse, running, after a night out of drinking, you have seen the effects. On top if it all, you probably don’t feel too good either.

When we look to our fat loss goals, we eat well and train hard, yet sometimes we still feel like we aren’t exactly hitting our intended goals. We might dissect our nutrition plan to see what we are doing wrong or go into our training plan and see how we can fix it. But we may not be privy to the fact that alcohol is stunting our fat loss gains.

Let’s take a look at how alcohol affects fat loss and what we can do to avoid it. Having a drink here and there won’t be the end of the world, but it will be hinder the results we want to see. The right approach to it and knowing what to watch out for can be a game changer as we look to see great results.

alcohol fat loss

How Alcohol Affects Fat Loss

Your fat loss goals are important, especially as you seek that shredded aesthetic. But alcohol is something that can easily ruin those gains (1). What you will find is that alcohol contains what some refer to as “empty” calories, meaning it contains many calories without any nutritional value. Beer is known for its high amount of carbs and a mixed drink tends to have a lot of sugar as a result of juice and added sweeteners.

By consuming high amounts of this, it leads to a build up of body fat and heavy beer drinkers will build that dreaded beer gut (2). Extra weight from something so empty only leads us to watching that six pack slowly wither away, something we absolutely do not want.

While too much alcohol alone can lead to weight gain, by consuming alcohol in excess, or even just a little, we tend to lose our inhibitions and following that strict diet seems to go out the window. With a loss of inhibitions, we invite those foods that will ultimately lead to fat gain. While we may enjoy those foods, eating in excess only urges us to eat more and more of it, adding to our unfortunate weight gain.

We must also be cautious of how alcohol affects our sleep and digestion, vital components to staying on track when it comes to our health and fitness goals (3). Knowing how alcohol affects our fat loss can help us prevent it so we keep our gains on track.

Ways To Avoid It

While drinking alcohol can have negative effects, there are ways to avoid it so we don’t hurt our gains while still enjoying a beverage here and there. Focusing on those alcoholic drinks that are low in calories is a good start. Companies have started making health conscious alcohol beverages that are low in carbs and calories for those watching their weight. Hard alcohol, in moderation of course, can be a game changer as you look to improve your fat loss goals as well.

For those unwanted cravings and not so healthy foods that alcohol invites to the party, it takes discipline to fight that urge to want the worst foods for our gains. Finding healthier alternatives may be wise, but if you can avoid eating at all, going straight to bed might be the best move. Sticking to a good diet throughout the day will also help alleviate some of those cravings come late night.

Having someone to keep you accountable as well is always helpful. This not only goes for drinking, but also working out and sticking to a solid nutrition plan. By having that person in your life to keep you in check reinforces support and will prove to yield effective gains in the long run.

alcohol fat loss

What Are The Best Alcoholic Choices?

We all have a preference on our favorite drink but focusing on things like a glass of wine or a lower calorie alternative that companies are coming out with are smart choices. If you tend to mix liquor will sodas or sugary juices, see if there are lower calorie and lower sugar alternatives to throw in the mix. Beer can be a killer but for those beer connoisseurs, watching your intake will still allow for the inclusion in beer, just maybe mix in a lighter one as opposed to a heavier, more hoppy option.

Can I Still Drink To See Gains?

Ultimately, it’s all about moderation and working to control excessive drinking tendencies. It is possible to still see gains if you have control and put your health and fitness goals as a top priority. You work to build muscle, lean out, and have an aesthetic others will envy. By keeping those at the forefront, you can still see gains while enjoying an alcoholic beverage here and there.

Wrap Up

We all enjoy a drink and we all know the consequences of drinking too much. Our gains are valuable and the time put into the gym cannot go to waste. By working to control our intake we better set ourselves up for success and won’t let alcohol destroy our fat loss goals. Stay on track and watch your gains flourish all while enjoying alcohol in moderation.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Suter, P. (2005). “Is alcohol consumption a risk factor for weight gain and obesity?”. (source)
  2. Schutze, M.; et al. (2009). “Beer consumption and the ‘beer belly’: scientific basis or common belief?”. (source)
  3. Britton, A.; et al. (2020). “The association between alcohol consumption and sleep disorders among older people in the general population”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.