Its true that fitness and alcohol consumption don't play nicely together. Most people in the fitness industry would tell you straight away that drinking will cause immediate setbacks and weight gain, not to mention water retention and exhaustion. But just because this is true doesn't mean that you should throw your goals down the tube completely, say "screw it", and eat like crap every day. Try to figure out what your priorities are and approach life with balance in mind. If having a social life is just as important to you as health and fitness I firmly believe you can have it both ways. While I'm not promoting binge drinking or any of the things that come with it, I want to share with you what I did in college and the balance that worked for me.
When I was in college I was often criticized for choosing a salad at lunch or hitting the gym five times a week. Although my lifestyle definitely wasn't the norm for most college kids, it's what made me feel the best. Plus when I did choose to overindulge on the weekends, my weekly caloric intake wouldn't skyrocket quite as much. It may be tempting to eat out all the time when you're too lazy to cook, or to order Insomnia Cookies to your door after a bad day but try to limit your indulgences to the 80:20 approach. Spend 80% of your time eating nutritiously dense whole foods, drinking
water, and hitting the gym and save the 20% for a night out on the town
and an order of pizza past 1 a.m. On the flip side, don't be so rigorous with your diet during the week that you feel restricted and tempted to go overboard on the weekends. Ignore the voice in your minds that says, "I've already messed up, why does it matter now?" and just accept it, put your big girl panties on, and move on.
The most important thing to remember is that the gym will always be there. My junior year of college I studied abroad over the summer without access to a gym but with a lot of access to Guinness and foodie restaurants. I inevitably gained weight over the six weeks of overindulging but I never let myself stress out over it. I knew that the gym would always be there and I could get back into a routine as easily as I left one. It's easy to get caught up in what you look like NOW and what you want NOW but you need to look at your journey long-term. Life is short and college is even shorter—you need to soul-search and determine if you'll remember that amazing night out with your besties or the time you said no and went to the gym on a Saturday night.
At the beginning of college, going out three nights a weekend felt completely normal (not to mention the FOMO was too strong to ignore). But before long I learned that being out constantly wasn't as cute anymore and my grandma body was rejecting the repetitive lifestyle. While I am making the argument that it's okay to let loose, choose your memories wisely and prioritize the times you do go out. Maybe pick a couple of beers at Tuesday Trivia and then save up your stamina for that highly-anticipated tailgate on Saturday.
While social drinking certainly hinders your fitness goals and adds
hundreds of empty calories, it is a huge part of college and our culture that
some people simply don't want to miss out on. Stay hydrated, eat enough, and have fun. Because endorphins are amazing—
but have you ever had boozy brunch??