Alcohol: What Every Personal Trainer Should Know

Avatar for Hadyn Luke Hadyn Luke posted this on Friday 24th of November 2023 Hadyn Luke 24/11/2023


Alcohol: What Every Personal Trainer Should Know

Whether you an aspiring personal trainer or are already working as PT in the Uk or abroad, it is crucial to comprehend the impact of alcohol on your client’s health and their fitness goals. The comprehensive Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training course with CMS, delves into this, educating about the caloric and nutritional aspects of alcohol, how to calculate units, and its effects on macronutrient processing in the body.

The Caloric Content of Alcohol: An Eye-Opener

Alcohol is not a macronutrient– but its effect on our body and on other macronutrients can be significant. Many are unaware that alcohol contains seven calories per gram – higher than both protein and carbohydrates, which have four calories per gram. It’s only slightly behind fats, which are at nine calories per gram. This information is vital for personal trainers to communicate to their clients, especially those focusing on weight management.

Calculating Alcohol Units: A Practical Guide

Personal trainers can assist clients in understanding alcohol units using information based on food labels and the use of a basic formula. You multiply the volume of the liquid in millitres (ml) by the strength of the alcohol and then divide this number by 1000. For example:

  • A 25ml shot of vodka at 40% alcohol  =  25 x 40 ÷ 1,000  =  1 unit
  • A pint of beer at, say, 5% alcohol  =  568ml x 5 ÷ 1,000  =  2.8 units
  • A large glass of wine, 250ml at 12% alcohol   =  250 x 12 ÷ 1,000  =  3 units

The UK government’s recommendation for alcohol intake is up to 3-4 units daily (14 units weekly) for both men and women. Personal trainers should be familiar with these guidelines.

Alcohol and Fitness Goals

When advising clients on fitness or weight loss, it’s important to highlight the benefits of alcohol moderation, including alcohol-free days and adequate hydration, especially during training. Those with specific health concerns should consult their doctor regarding alcohol consumption.

The Nutritional Void of Alcohol

One important detail that a personal trainer should tell their clients is that alcohol has no nutritional value, only empty calories, and cannot be stored in the body in any form (fat, glycogen, amino acids etc). So when a person drinks alcohol, their body will use the alcohol as its main energy source and store any additional calories they consume. If you drink with a meal, the calories in the food will therefore be stored rather than burned off as energy. This is why you might develop a “beer belly” – from the food you are eating while your body is busy metabolising the alcohol.

Alcohol’s Impact on Recovery and Muscle Development

Alcohol consumption can significantly impede the body’s recovery process, especially after intense physical activity. One of the key concerns is dehydration; as a diuretic, alcohol increases urine production, leading to fluid loss. This dehydration can not only hamper physical performance but also delay the recovery of muscles. Moreover, alcohol has been shown to inhibit protein synthesis, a critical process for muscle repair and hypertrophy. When protein synthesis is disrupted, it can lead to decreased muscle growth and prolonged recovery times. For individuals engaged in regular strength training or those aiming for muscle hypertrophy, understanding the adverse effects of alcohol on these processes is crucial for achieving their fitness goals.

The Social and Mental Impact of Alcohol Consumption

Beyond its physical effects, alcohol can also have negative social and mental implications. Regular consumption may lead to an increased reliance on alcohol in social situations, potentially leading to patterns of overconsumption. This behavior can interfere with fitness commitments and dietary goals. Mentally, alcohol can affect mood, motivation, and overall mental well-being, potentially diminishing the enthusiasm and commitment required to adhere to a fitness regime. For those seeking support or more information about the effects of alcohol and how to manage its consumption, resources such as alcohol awareness programmes and the NHS provide valuable guidance and support. Addressing these aspects is essential in fostering a balanced approach to health and fitness, where mental and social well-being are given equal importance as physical health.

Learn More and Share Your Thoughts

For deeper insights into how the body processes alcohol or to explore personal trainer courses, visit our Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training. We welcome your thoughts and questions on this topic. Join the conversation below or reach out to us directly.

Get Certified: Your Pathway to Becoming a Personal Trainer

Start your career as a Personal Trainer, by enrolling on CMS Fitness Courses comprehensive Level 3 Personal Training course, designed for aspiring personal trainers. At CMS Fitness Courses, we offer the Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training and the Level 3 Diploma in Gym Instructing and Personal Training. These courses are meticulously crafted to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to excel in the dynamic world of fitness.

Understanding the financial aspects of education, we proudly support our learners through Advanced Learner Loans. These loans provide an accessible pathway for you to invest in your future without the immediate financial burden.

The Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training is specifically designed for those who have already completed their Level 2 gym instructor course. This advanced course builds on existing knowledge, delving deeper into specialised training techniques, advanced fitness programming, and client-focused coaching skills. It’s the perfect next step for those looking to enhance their expertise and advance their career in personal training.

On the other hand, the Level 3 Diploma in Gym Instructing and Personal Training is an all-encompassing programme intended for individuals new to the fitness industry. This extensive course encompasses everything from the basics of gym instructing to the nuanced skills necessary for personal training, offering a comprehensive introduction for those aspiring to break into the fitness sector.

Both diplomas offer excellent opportunities for those seeking to make their mark as personal trainers. Whether you’re looking to transition from gym instructing to personal training, embark on a new fitness career, or explore self-employment in the industry, these courses equip you with the vital knowledge and skills you need. They go beyond just earning a qualification; they’re about empowering you to make a meaningful impact in the health and fitness journeys of others.

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