Drinking While Staying Lean

Every now and then I get questions from readers wondering how I stay lean despite the fact that I get wasted all the time. Seeing as I just poured my first drink of the night, I figured this would be a good time to let you guys know how I do it.

I, like most everyone else, used to believe that drinking causes weight gain, full stop. The way I saw it, it was an unavoidable consequence of my lifestyle, and I was going to have to be content not being able to get as lean as I wanted. However, after reading Martin Berkhan’s The Truth About Alcohol, Fat Loss, and Muscle Growth, I was able to revolutionize my approach towards drinking while not letting weekends be this 2 steps forward 2 steps back affair. There is a lot going on in that article and I recommend that you read the whole thing, but for now I want to focus on concrete action you can take today.

Basically, when we drink, our body prioritizes the metabolism of alcohol over everything else- anything else we are digesting goes straight to storage. To make things worse, most people drink beer or other carb laden drinks and eat shitty late night food, adding more calories to the mix. Therefore, it’s not alcohol consumption in and of itself that makes people fat, it is everything else going on during the alcohol consumption.

I drink like a fish, but am still able to see my abs in the mirror because the way I go about drinking. On days when I’m going to party, I’ll eat almost exclusively lean proteins and avoid carbs and fat, especially as I get closer to drinking time- I don’t want all that going into storage. Shit, sometimes I’ll go out on an empty stomach. When I am drinking, I stick to hard liquor- no beer. If I don’t want to get too wasted (rare), I’ll drink whiskey straight up on the rocks, and if I do want to get wasted I’ll start pounding whiskey-diet Coke. Also, there is absolutely no drunk food allowed.

It’s really not that hard, and the transition was pretty seamless. Avoiding beer, sugary mixers, and drunk food will take you a long way. Learn to enjoy hard liquors, and enlist friends or girls in your quest not to get food. All my girls know not to let me go to the pizza place, no matter how much I argue.

Now, let’s say you were tailgating all day or slipped up and bought a slice or three of pizza at 2 am. Don’t sweat it, man, it’s pretty easy to cut that out with a day of fasting. During the summer, I went to Minneapolis to visit some friends and we drank beer every waking minute of that weekend, got pizzas, and overrall treated our bodies like shit. When I looked at the mirror in the morning, you could definitely tell what I had done the day before. All I had to do was not eat the rest of the day, which wasn’t too difficult since I was still full from the day before, and just like that on Monday I was back to normal.

Too many people kill their social lives in the erroneous belief that drinking causes weight gain. Unfortunately for them, they don’t know the ways you can get around that by being smart- but now you do. You don’t have to stay in and watch Netflix- you can go out, have a great time, and not put on any weight just by following some of the things I do. Now, you probably won’t further any of your goals, but you for damn sure won’t be hurting them. So go out and party every now and then, don’t be those no-fun party pooper bodybuilder nazis.

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About The Author

They call me Fly, Fresh, and Young. Gym rat by day, lecherous drunkass by night. Follow me on Twitter @nate_moneyh.


  1. YouSoWould November 13, 2012 at 4:57 am

    +1 for this. I read Berkhan’s alcohol a few months back, and it’s revolutionised my enjoyment of getting wasted once more, stopping me viewing it as a sin as I was doing.

    Another excellent benefit of getting wasted, is that by the following morning, the dehydrating effect of the alcohol will have flushed all of the retained water out of your system, causing you to look the leanest you possibly can. If you have been on a cut for a while, and results have slowed down (which, if you’ve been sticking to your macros properly, is almost always caused by water retention), this can be a great psychological boost.

  2. Spoos in August November 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Another good thing to note is that beer, like soy, is crawling with phytoestrogens. The data’s a bit shaky on whether those’ll lower your serum testosterone or not, but better safe than sorry.

    That said, I do have a weakness for Guinness. And IPAs.

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