My Journey to Going Alcohol-Free by Coach Crystal

As the weather gets warmer, more opportunities arise for a night on the town or hanging out at an awesome, trendy, brewery or rooftop bar all while trying to get your body “summer” ready. Of course, at all of these new trendy spots, there’s a 99.9% chance you’ll find alcohol and will likely end up with a glass in your hand.

As fitness professionals, we hear, “do I have to give up alcohol?”, or something of the sort. Do not get me wrong, I am also guilty of asking the same question when I began my journey into strict dieting and the competition life.

The Beginning:

Many people don’t know that I used to drink a lot; in frequency and quantity. I had my fun in college but I began drinking more as a post grad; going to bars every night or drinking by myself at home. I drank pretty much anything! If I didn’t like it, I would still drink because it gave me the escape I looked for daily. My drinking habits consisted of a frequency of 6 days a week; around 4 to 6 glasses of wine, maybe throw a cocktail in between there if I were with friends. If I were home alone, I’d have maybe 2 to 3 drinks of a distilled beverage; whiskey, rum, it didn’t matter.

Fast forward to beginning my fitness journey in New Jersey when I began working out consistently.  I participated in boot camp classes, got myself a trainer and took yoga for variety and restorative purposes. I felt better about myself while I was getting into better shape. Still, I drank like a sailor and didn’t watch what I ate too closely.

The Struggle of Cutting Out Alcohol:

After becoming a Flywheel Instructor, I made the choice to become the person I preached about in my classes. I found myself as a competition coach and began dreaming of becoming a female bodybuilder. Placed on a strict diet, I ate as clean as possible; no processed foods or anything with a shelf life. I made a significant cut on my sugar intake and began drinking tons of water (a gallon a day to be exact).

I struggled with it for months. Struggling to eat 5 to 6 times a day and drinking that much water was hell on my bladder. While I stuck to my diet and workout plans, I would still hang out with my friends and drink to get DRUNK! I was limited to ONLY three glasses of red wine per week. This was torture because 3 glasses of wine was my version of “pre-gaming”.

I followed the rules and stuck to three glasses a week. I was so focused on my fitness goal that sometimes I had less than the limit of three. One day, I recalled not drinking for about 3 weeks. At that moment, I decided to have a glass of wine and the result was feeling like a truck smacked me in the face the next morning.

After that, I stopped drinking for 11 months and the change was remarkable.  Most of the time, others are reluctant to commit to fitness goals because it takes a great deal of sacrifice. Cutting back on the drinks is one of them. While the choice is yours on how significantly you want to cut back, I recommend under two to three drinks a week. Whether you are trying to build muscle, maintain your current figure, or lose weight, limiting your alcohol intake is important because it plays a crucial role is digestion. When you consume your adult beverage, your body wants to metabolize the alcohol first. It lowers the body’s ability to generate new proteins, a process crucial for building muscle. Not only that, but we’ve heard it before; alcohol dehydrates you. Water is essential for weight loss but it also plays a role in building muscle mass. Composed of about 70% of water, alcohol acts as a diuretic and pulls water out. Thus, reducing the process of breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Alcohol impairs the recovery period and has a direct effect on athletic performance.

Tips for you:

While everyone’s fitness goal may vary and we enjoy having a drink or two with family and friends, I challenge you try limiting yourself to 2 to 3 drinks of wine or clear spirits per week. (If you need a mixer, try club soda. No added sugar!) Not to worry, I’ll be there with you. My next drink won’t be until after October 2017.

Eight months of working out, clean eating, and no alcohol.

Crystal Fraser October 2015/July 2016

Who is Crystal Fraser?

Crystal is one of our newest coaches here at Body Space Fitness! She joined us in November 2016 and currently coaches on Saturday mornings. Crystal is also a FlyWheel Instructor and an IFBB Figure Professional. Join her on her continued journey of going alcohol-free!