5 Ways to Limit Fat Gain from a ‘Crazy Night’ Out
Jun, 5, 2014
Whether on vacation or for a celebration such as a bachelor party, wedding or the fact it’s “Saturday,” we’ve all had those nights that started so innocently and ended so “badly.” You ended up drinking way too much and on top of that, you ended up at a diner eating some chili cheese fries and bacon (I never do that 😉 ). If you know ahead of time that it’s going to be one of those nights then this article will help you prepare accordingly to limit any fat gain.
These strategies are meant to be used sparingly and if used too often, you may not be gaining too much fat, but you won’t be losing too much either. The first three strategies are meant to limit the fat gain from a crazy night out, while the last two are meant to limit your susceptibility to a hangover.
5 Ways to Handle a ‘Crazy Night’
Strategy #1 – Glycogen Depletion
This first method is the method I use for Thanksgivings. Thanksgiving is by far my biggest indulgence day of the year. It starts with going out and partying on Thanksgiving eve and ends with me eating a whole tray of gluten-free lasagna with at least 4 pounds of cheese, turkey, mash potatoes and sweet potatoes throughout the day. In other words, there’s “some over-indulgence.”
The four days leading up to Thanksgiving, I will eat minimal amounts of carbohydrates, typically under 30 grams per day, while performing 2 total body workouts, a strenuous/steady state cardio session and another full body workout. By incorporating both the low-carb eating and glycogen depleting workouts, I allow myself to be in optimal fat-burning mode, while allowing for my body to soak up the extra calories by replacing glycogen first.
This allows for a double benefit as first glycogen super-compensation will generally occur, where your body can store up to 1 and a half times the normal amount of glycogen as it normally does. In addition, your body will continue to utilize fat as energy while your body replaces its stores of glycogen.
Alcohol has been shown to deepen ketosis, so make sure you only use this technique if you’re also going to be over-indulging in foods and not simply alcohol. Also, if you’re going to do this, I would suggest eating a good amount of protein and a small amount of carbs before drinking.
Take home tip: Best used when over-eating especially, with just some alcohol involved. Eat very low carbs for 4-5 days prior to the big event and do 3-4 full body, strenuous workouts the days before the “crazy night.”
#2 – Fast/Feast/Fast
Another way to manipulate a lower glycogen level is to do a fast, feast, fast. This will control for overall calories over the course of the week and therefore should limit fat being stored.
The day before will generally consist of having about 1,200 calories of food, from a small amount of fat (about 20 grams), 50 grams of carbs, with the rest being from lean protein sources. The Feast day will start with eating a more balanced breakfast, think fruit and eggs, while continuing to eat healthy during the day. The Feast portion will happen with the alcohol and any other food consumed.
The following day’s food consists of almost nothing except have a couple of protein shakes with some and an egg or two cooked in organic coconut oil. In addition to that, I would add in a couple of strenuous workouts the two days before the feast and if you can muster it, the morning of the “feast.” The Fast/Feast/Fast is not an ideal strategy for adding muscle, but as stated, can be useful for keeping your total calorie count down and therefore fat gain over the week down.
Take home tip: Best used when you’re going to have 6-12 hour block of over-indulgence (a bar crawl or crazy night out). The day before and after, limit calories significantly (about half of what you normally eat), while keeping protein high. The day of, eat a healthy breakfast and continue to do so until the over-indulgence begins. Complete strenuous workouts the two days before the event.
#3 – Low-Carb, Low-Fat, High Protein
This strategy was popularized by Martin Berkhan at Leangains.com, in which he says can be used once per week while continuing to see fat loss. His recommendation consists of limiting fat to .1-.2 g per pound of body weight and carbs to about .6-.8 g per pound of body weight. So for a 150 pound person, that would be about 15 grams of fat and 90-120 grams of carbs the day of the over-indulgence. As for the protein, he suggests eating as much as you want, “ad libitium.” He also recommends, while out, to go with the lower carb alcohols such as clear liquors, diet sodas, dry wines, etc.
Take home tip: Best if drinking every weekend. Limit fat significantly, while having a relatively low amount of carbs and eating as much protein as you want.
#4 – Drink Better Alcohol
When it comes to alcohol, there are a number of factors that affect how hard it hits you and hence, the potential for a hangover the next day. The obvious factors are your weight, sex and whether or not you have food in your stomach. Therefore, in general, the more you weigh and if you’re male, the less impact a drink will have on you. Also, if you’ve eaten a meal prior to drinking the alcohol, the alcohol will not hit your system as quickly and can act as a buffer.
In addition to those factors, the type of alcohol you drink and whether or not you mix alcohols will also have an impact on how you feel the next day. For example, carbonation tends to allow alcohol to enter your system a bit quicker. Therefore, if you’ve ever heard the saying, “Beer before liquor, never been sicker,” it’s because the carbonation in the beer followed by the alcohol will allow the alcohol to hit your system quicker than when drank alone by itself. Also, the darker alcohols, such as whiskey, bourbon and red wines tend to have more congeners. Congeners are by products in the fermentation of the alcohol that add to the taste of the alcohol, but include small amounts of other chemicals such as acetaldehyde and acetone that can add to more unpleasant hangovers. In general, the more expensive alcohols are due to the quality of the ingredients, along with the different fermentation and distillation processes. For example Cuervo gold is 51% Agave (what tequila is made from) and 49% fillers, while Patron is 100% Agave, with less fillers.
Take home tip: Drink clear, higher brand alcohols to reduce the headache and hangover feelings.
#5 – Eat and Drink Wisely
First, what is drinking wisely? It’s drinking enough water so you get over any dehydrated effects of the water-loss from drinking. Having the “tail of the dog” or another drink or coffee will not help with curing the hangover any quicker.
So with that said, what will help with a hangover when it comes to foods? Foods that help with electrolyte imbalances incurred from the drinking, such as those with sodium and potassium (think a half of an avocado with some sea salt on top) will help you to recover from the dehydration standpoint. Also, foods high in choline (which basically means over-easy eggs), may help in replacing choline which helps your liver recover from the heavy drinking.
Also, a multi-vitamin with adequate amounts of B-Vitamins and Vitamin C may also help to replace some that were used in helping your body get rid of the alcohol from your body. In addition to that, having a whey protein shake may help as the amino acid cysteine can help to increase glutathione levels. Glutathione is your body’s main water-based anti-oxidant and becomes depleted in your liver with heavy drinking. With the eggs, avocado, sea salt and the whey protein, you give yourself an upper hand with giving your body the nutrients it needs to bounce back from a “crazy night.”
Take home tip: Drink more water than normal, while increasing electrolytes through food, such as eggs and avocado with some sea salt on top.
Although heavy drinking should not be something you do often, especially while trying to lose fat, you now have some strategies you can use just in case you have one of those “Crazy Nights.” Cheers!
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