How To Balance Your Booze and Workout Diet

drink cheers

How To Balance Your Booze and Workout Diet

It’s important to remember that advertising shouldn’t be used for nutrition coaching. Case in point: Michelob ULTRA is the fastest growing beer brand in the U.S and that might largely be attributed to how they have positioned themselves in the market. They aren’t the watered down “light” beer. They aren’t the “easy to drink” beer. They are the beer for athletes. Or at least that’s the message they are sticking with.

Their new slogan taps into this perfectly – Work Out. Go Out. In four simple words, they have tapped into a market that has previously been ignored by beer companies. As their website states, “Michelob ULTRA supports an active, social lifestyle and is proud to be a sponsor of athletic events across the country, ranging from running and cycling competitions to golf tournaments.”

Their imagery depicts a reality that fitness and enjoying beer can go hand in hand. You don’t have to feel guilty anymore for enjoying drinks at that backyard pool or that night out on the town. Basically, Michelob is counting on consumers to buy into the whole idea that ULTRA is the low-carb and low-calorie light beer that won’t undo the work you put into working out. And on paper… it’s not a bad argument. But let’s take a look at their argument, along with some other options for those trying to maintain a workout and go out lifestyle.


Michelob ULTRA has 2.6 carbs. and 95 calories. That seems pretty low. Especially considering Budweiser has 11 carbs and 143 calories and Bud Platinum has only 4 carbs but 137 calories.

But putting all those carb counts and cal counts to the side, that doesn’t take into account people’s lifestyles. So while some gullible TV watchers may be swayed by the low-calorie content combined with the smooth flavor, others might be keen to the fact that these calories – regardless of what the label says – can be offset by thirty minutes at the gym every day. In the long run, if you’re engaged in regular intense workouts, it might not make as much of a difference which of these three beers is in your hand.

In 2014, one company thought to push a post-workout beer. Seems like a good idea on paper, though some were skeptical. Lean Machine Lager Ale, as described on their website, is “a sport recovery, low calorie, FIT BEER.” But can you really call it a ”Lager Ale” when the ABV is only 0.5%? The emphasis is clearly on the seven vitamins, seven grams of protein, and the fact that it has only 77 calories. So while it may be a sports recovery drink, it’s hard to say it is a beer – especially since a Lager and an Ale are two separate styles of beer. Consumers may not be buying into it. The fact that it hasn’t continued to spread into the U.S. shows that beverage distributors and the American public might be a little apprehensive to buy into the fad.

Post-workout basically means after workout – the time in which your body’s muscles are damaged due to the higher intensity of physical training. At this point, your muscles need several nutrients such as protein, carbs, fats, sodium and other minerals referred to as electrolytes. The problem with this post-workout beer idea is that most alcoholic beverages are devoid of these essential nutrients.


Without sounding like a teacher lecturing in class, let’s recap to see how alcohol is processed once you finish that cold refreshing beer or cocktail. When you consume an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol (ethanol) makes its way to your stomach where around 20-25% of it gets absorbed into your bloodstream immediately. The rest of it continues to your small intestine where it is absorbed by the blood stream. Once it’s in your bloodstream, the alcohol heads toward to your liver where it is broken down. Many different factors affect this rate – like body fat percentage for instance.

Alcohol is pretty much void of any nutrients – it’s calories without nutrition. Just like with grains and other sugars, these empty calories can lead to increased fat storage. It’s the first fuel to be used as energy when combined with carbs, fats and proteins. In other words, it postpones the fat-burning process. As a result, this can actually lead to increased fat storage. So when you drink, your body isn’t burning the things you want to burn the most.


Obviously, you still enjoy a cold drink with friends and family. You just may not want to go overboard with the margaritas or some of those more frozen sweet drinks. A 100-calorie shot of tequila turns into a 500-calorie margarita once it’s swirled into a sugary mixer. Eight ounces of pina colada mixer has 250 calories. Then there is the brutal Long Island Ice Tea which clocks in with 700+ calories. That’s, as much, or more, than what some entire meals would provide!

You want to be carb smart. Vodka sodas are a nice alternative since both vodka and club soda are carb-free. Twelve ounces of ultra-low-carb beer or 5 ounces of dry wine has a little more with 3 to 4 grams of carbs. While, a regular beer has at least 10 grams. Just 4 ounces of Coke has about 12 grams. The same amount of sour mix will cost you a massive 25 grams of carbs.

The point is that little decisions can make a big difference. You could use fresh fruit to mix in your cocktails instead of sugary mixers. Also, maybe skip the draft beer – ordering a pint of beer rather than a bottle means an extra 4 ounces that you may not need in your diet.

Now more than ever there are options out there that won’t make you feel bloated after just one drink. Ciders are great if you are gluten-free or have a food allergy – just know that some ciders that are lower in carbs and sugars than others. Also, there’s a new segment in the market for alcoholic sparkling waters. These low carb beverages taste great if you like sparkling water! Truly is one brand that includes “Styles” like pomegranate, grapefruit and pomelo and lime. They clock in at 5% alcohol by volume and only has 2 grams of carbs and 100 calories.


We aren’t here to tell you that you have to cut alcohol out of your life cold turkey, especially if it’s not having a negative effect on your life. However, we DO recommend that you find the balance between your fitness goals and the rest of your life. It’s all about your priorities.  Achieving goals requires sacrifice. It’s not easy to reach your fitness goals, but our personal trainers at Faster Fitness can help you find that balance. As part of our personal and group personal training programs, we provide personal nutrition coaching so that you know the strategy for success when you work out and go out.

About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.