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How can I stress the importance of not drinking alcohol to clients who want to lose weight?

As fitness professionals, we likely have had to talk with our clients about the subject of alcohol and the metabolic consequences of drinking alcoholic beverages. Drinking alcohol may be a part of our culture, but it doesn’t have to result in weight gain for our clients.

These tips below will help guide you and your client on the importance of not drinking alcohol for those who want to lose weight.

Performance – Alcohol impairs muscle growth and slows down recovery of your muscles. This is critical for anyone trying to pack on lean muscle and lose those unwanted pounds, especially because recovery assists in better execution of your workout. Additionally, alcohol may act as a sedative, also preventing you from falling into deeper stages of sleep. No one can expect to have a truly effective workout after a night of alcohol, versus if they didn’t drink at all. Alcohol is not just empty calories that will help you gain weight; it’s a drug that prevents you from performing at your highest level.

Journal – Having your clients keep meticulous and consistent records daily of their alcohol consumption can be a crucial tool in self-awareness. Your clients may be unaware of how much alcohol they do drink, so the act of keeping a journal could hopefully lead to a positive change. Alcohol contains seven calories per gram, which is about 130 calories per serving of essentially “empty” calories, which also provide no nutritional value. For example, a vodka martini contains 127 calories, and a glass of red wine contains 125 calories. When you start to add other mixes and sugar to alcoholic beverages such as a standard 10-ounce margarita, then alcohol can become even more caloric since this drink contains 550 calories!

Options –Whereas alcohol can have such a negative affect on your client’s fitness goals, there are some better options if your client is going to consume alcohol. Recommend that your clients choose clear liquors such as Vodka, Gin, and clear Rum, since they are low in calories. For example, a Vodka & Soda Water only contains 65 calories. All of the calories are coming from one ounce of Vodka. A Gin & Diet Tonic also contains 65 calories, with all of the calories again coming from one ounce of Gin. These alcoholic beverages are a much better choice than a margarita or other sugary drinks such as a daiquiri where it’s easy for your body to convert these calories into fat.

Priorities – Sometimes it all really comes down to what a person really desires more than anything else. In other words, if your client lacks self-discipline and control when they consume alcohol, then gently and tactfully ask them what they really want? Do they want to lose weight or would they rather have that extra alcoholic beverage? Chances are, your client is working very hard and is working with you because they genuinely want to lose weight. Having a heart-to-heart talk about priorities with your client, while establishing true motivation to lose weight, is a great opportunity to reset your clients’ fitness goals with a newfound purpose.

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Shaun Zetlin

Shaun Zetlin

As the son of a professional bodybuilder, Shaun was exposed to weightlifting and exercise at a very young age. After overcoming his own physical limitations having been born with club feet and gross motor skills, Shaun made it his mission to share his passion and knowledge of proper fitness and health to help others meet their fitness goals.

For over ten years, Shaun has successfully run his own personal training business in the New York City Metro area. Able to relate and adapt to each individual, Shaun prides himself on developing exercise plans and nutritional menus to foster every client's fitness needs. His clientele ranges from the athlete, and senior citizen, to bodybuilder, and dancer. Shaun's specialties include: strength training, power techniques, corrective injury training, and core stability training.

In addition to the highly regarded Master Trainer status, Shaun is a certified personal trainer of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). With NASM Shaun also holds specialized certifications in: Pre- and Post-Natal, Corrective Exercise Practices, Cardiovascular Weight Loss, Youth Training, Senior Citizen Training, Balance Training, Core Stabilization, and Self Myofascial Release (SMR). Additionally, Shaun is certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Sports Performance Nutrition Specialist, with training in the Female Athlete, Knee & Shoulder Rehabilitation, and Marathon Training. Shaun earned his Bachelors degree in English Literature and Writing from the University of Delaware.

Shaun's first full-length book, "Push-up Progression Workout for a Stronger Core" is currently available worldwide both in paperback and e-book formats. It was featured as one of three top books in 2013 for healthy living as selected by Dr. John Whyte of The Discovery Channel. His latest book, "Push-up Progression (2nd Edition)" has already achieved great success and notoriety in the world of fitness. It is currently featured in bookstores across the United States and United Kingdom in paperback and available wherever e-books are sold. Shaun has had a multitude of articles, program designs, and tips published within a variety of books, magazines, and on websites in the world of fitness and beyond including: Price World Publishing, Demos Medical Publishing, Livestrong, Rodale Books, OnFitness Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Brides Magazine, and GO: AirTran Magazine. Additionally, Fitness Professional Online recognizes Shaun as an "expert," answering questions for other fitness and health professionals.

Shaun also has media experience in both television and radio, ranging from fitness modeling, to hosting his own weekly radio fitness show.
Shaun Zetlin

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