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Best alcohol for cyclists?

Old 09-15-14, 07:22 PM
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Seedy J
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Best alcohol for cyclists?

A bit of backstory: I started riding again in January this year and it's been going well. I started out at ~190 lbs. and now I'm down to ~156 (goal weight is 148 or lower). I ride between 8 and 12 hours a week. Any more than that and I overreach. I've been getting faster and better at climbing, but I haven't lost any weight for a month or two.

My diet could be better but isn't too bad (lots of home-cooked stuff, reasonable portions), but I like beer. 2 or 3 (fine, usually 3) a night. I remember reading that beer in particular has the unfortunate effect of giving guys a beer gut and manboobs. I'm not hardcore enough to quit drinking all together (maybe next year if I start racing again), but would a different kind of alcohol maybe be less detrimental? I'm thinking red wine or whiskey. Thoughts?
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Old 09-15-14, 08:09 PM
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Red wine or whiskey may have less calories depending on how much you drink, so there's that.

I drink a glass of port (sweet red wine fortified with brandy) instead of a beer or two during the week. I LOVE beer but I tend to only drink the heavier higher calorie stuff, the 200 calorie per bottle and up ones.

In reality no alcohol consumption would be best though.
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Old 09-15-14, 08:22 PM
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Vodka with soda water has 0 calories.

Keep in mind though that consuming just a couple of ounces of any alcohol temporarily lowers your body's ability to burn fat by around 70%. It's not just the calories going in that matter.
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Old 09-15-14, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Seedy J View Post
My diet could be better but isn't too bad (lots of home-cooked stuff, reasonable portions), but I like beer. 2 or 3 (fine, usually 3) a night. I remember reading that beer in particular has the unfortunate effect of giving guys a beer gut and manboobs. I'm not hardcore enough to quit drinking all together (maybe next year if I start racing again), but would a different kind of alcohol maybe be less detrimental? I'm thinking red wine or whiskey. Thoughts?
Why do you so desperately need to drink alcohol?
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Old 09-15-14, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Why do you so desperately need to drink alcohol?
i must have missed the part about desperate need. He likes to drink. He likes to bike. He'd like to find the best way to do both.
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Old 09-15-14, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Seedy J View Post
.......... I like beer. 2 or 3 (fine, usually 3) a night
........ would a different kind of alcohol maybe be less detrimental? I'm thinking red wine or whiskey. Thoughts?
I am thinking.... if you like beer... would the wine or whiskey be in addition to the beer? That doesn't make much sense. All adult beverages are pretty calorie intensive.

Originally Posted by Seedy J View Post
..... I'm not hardcore enough to quit drinking all together (maybe next year if I start racing again)...
Three alcoholic drinks a night.... and you're hesitant to even consider quitting? You may have a slight addiction problem.

To get your weight loss back on track... you might consider limiting your drinking to say 3 beers on just ether Friday or Saturday night (only). Which ever day you pick... you could short your food intake enough to cover the beer calories.

Originally Posted by CharlyAlfaRomeo View Post
Vodka with soda water has 0 calories.
One ounce of 80 proof vodka has 65 calories.... about the same as an egg.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 09-15-14 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 09-15-14, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
One ounce of 80 proof vodka has 65 calories.... about the same as an egg.


My bad.
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Old 09-15-14, 10:10 PM
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Vodka diet coke or vodka and orange juice i say. Then just man up and get out on the bike/in the gym the next day regardless if you feel rubbish or not lol or...the dreading alcohol free beer, i drink it when im driving and dont actually mind it that much. Do you drink for the taste or its affects?
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Old 09-15-14, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlyAlfaRomeo View Post
My bad.
Hardly a problem. I am just thinking if this guy wants to get below 150 pounds.... 3 adult beverages is REALLY going to cut into his food consumption.

Originally Posted by Owen21 View Post
..... or...the dreading alcohol free beer, i drink it when im driving and dont actually mind it that much.
Even the alcohol-free LITE stuff is 60 calories.... not helpful for weight loss.
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Old 09-15-14, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Owen21 View Post
Vodka diet coke or vodka and orange juice i say. Then just man up and get out on the bike/in the gym the next day regardless if you feel rubbish or not lol or...the dreading alcohol free beer, i drink it when im driving and dont actually mind it that much. Do you drink for the taste or its affects?
Orange juice has more calories by volume than a lot of beers.

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Hardly a problem. I am just thinking if this guy wants to get below 150 pounds.... 3 adult beverages is REALLY going to cut into his food consumption.
Yeah no kidding.
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Old 09-15-14, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlyAlfaRomeo View Post
Orange juice has more calories by volume than a lot of beers.
Three cans of beer is 48 ounces. Who ever drinks 48 ounces of orange juice?

I think the guy may have gone as far as he can with a half-heart effort. Empty calories (like alcohol) isn't going to allow the cyclist to have well feed muscles. So other than the appearance of fitness... he/she won't get the desired results needed to race (or even ride well).
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Old 09-15-14, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Three cans of beer is 48 ounces. Who ever drinks 48 ounces of orange juice?
Three cans of beer is actually 36 ounces but all I'm saying is that vodka and orange juice isn't exactly low calorie.
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Old 09-15-14, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I am thinking.... if you like beer... would the wine or whiskey be in addition to the beer? That doesn't make much sense. All adult beverages are pretty calorie intensive.
Of course not. It would be wine or whiskey instead of beer. I'm also thinking I don't like wine as much and it makes me feel worse the next day, so I probably wouldn't drink as much of it.

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Three alcoholic drinks a night.... and you're hesitant to even consider quitting? You may have a slight addiction problem.
Perhaps... but I suppose it beats gambling and/or coke . I've been drinking about that much for quite a few years and it's never really gotten any worse than that. I quit smoking tobacco 5 years ago and never looked back, so I know I can quit anything if I really want to.

Cutting back (or quitting) is obviously what needs to happen and I've had good results in the past having 1 beer instead of 3 (big surprise!). I've reached a point where I'd rather float up a hill than drink quite that much, and I'm wondering what the least detrimental adult beverage would be.
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Old 09-15-14, 11:56 PM
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There is a host of calorie charts on-line that will tell you precisely how many calories are in all sorts of food and drink. Why not consult one of them?
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Old 09-16-14, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
........Even the alcohol-free LITE stuff is 60 calories.... not helpful for weight loss.
America's oldest...Yuengling, is my favorite after a hot-hard ride but have switched to O'Doul's NA. No "empty" alcohol calories just good water and carbs for recovery. Something with 13.5% is Organic Red from California with no detected or added sulfites.
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Old 09-16-14, 06:04 AM
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I like beer too, but all alcohol is bad for performance. It's not really about the calories but more about how it affects your metabolism, energy production and hormones. Seems pointless to substitute something you probably won't like as much when there is nothing to be gained. If you are going to do something bad, you may as well enjoy it.
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Old 09-16-14, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Seedy J View Post
I remember reading that beer in particular has the unfortunate effect of giving guys a beer gut and manboobs.
False.
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Old 09-16-14, 10:25 AM
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As far as I recall, the alcohol consumption inhibits testosterone production, or something like that... that in turn means you don't build strength as quickly, don't recover as quickly etc. Calories from alcohol don't really affect you the way calories from other things do, but they do mean that you'll burn alcohol calories first instead of fat (hence fatty deposits in the liver).

I was trying to cut weight, and stopped drinking as part of it, I've gotten the feeling that having gotten back on the bike my improvement is faster now, my recovery is quicker and more complete, and I've not gone back to having any alcohol... 3 drinks a night is certainly not intervention territory BUT, it's worth taking a step back, and seeing how your performance changes if you give it up for a bit. I know for me I had lost about ten pounds when I cut out booze, and I love about 35 more on top of that in the following months, with the inclusion of calorie watching and cutting out processed stuff, and all manner of carb-ey delights. YMMV as always.

I think perhaps hard cider has fewer unfermented sugars left over when compared with beer, so that might be something to try.
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Old 09-16-14, 10:59 AM
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Champagne probably has the lowest calorie hit if you're going to drink.

Might get expensive, though.
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Old 09-16-14, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Hardly a problem. I am just thinking if this guy wants to get below 150 pounds.... 3 adult beverages is REALLY going to cut into his food consumption.



Even the alcohol-free LITE stuff is 60 calories.... not helpful for weight loss.
Depends how many calories he burns in a day really.. I finally dipped below 150 again recently and I can still drink like a fish without gaining weight, admittedly I burn a hell of a lot of calories for a mere enthusiast.

Originally Posted by superslomo View Post
As far as I recall, the alcohol consumption inhibits testosterone production, or something like that... that in turn means you don't build strength as quickly, don't recover as quickly etc. Calories from alcohol don't really affect you the way calories from other things do, but they do mean that you'll burn alcohol calories first instead of fat (hence fatty deposits in the liver).


I was trying to cut weight, and stopped drinking as part of it, I've gotten the feeling that having gotten back on the bike my improvement is faster now, my recovery is quicker and more complete, and I've not gone back to having any alcohol... 3 drinks a night is certainly not intervention territory BUT, it's worth taking a step back, and seeing how your performance changes if you give it up for a bit. I know for me I had lost about ten pounds when I cut out booze, and I love about 35 more on top of that in the following months, with the inclusion of calorie watching and cutting out processed stuff, and all manner of carb-ey delights. YMMV as always.


I think perhaps hard cider has fewer unfermented sugars left over when compared with beer, so that might be something to try.
Depends on the cider, a dry cider will have virtually no sugars left. The common americanized ciders are overly sweet intentionally, or intentionally back sweetened.. they may contain more calories/sugars than most beers. I'm a cider snob/home cider brewer to give you a little background as to my perspective on that.
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Old 09-16-14, 11:12 AM
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I've homebrewed my share of cider, I just happen to stick with non-fortified, straight cider, "sweet mead" yeast from wyeast, fermented down to about 5% alcohol, super dry (a little sweeter than the dry mead yeast would make it) and no backsweetening, I bottle conditioned them to ferment. I don't like the sweetness in it, personally... there are ever more small-batch ciders now that are simple, dry and clean as well... the non-fermentable sugars, and backsweetened stuff is a different matter, you are definitely right...

I'm teetotalling for the time being myself, so I have a bunch of homebrewing ingredients sitting around waiting to be turned into lots of beer and I have no use for them for the time being... homebrewing when you don't drink is an odd activity
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Old 09-16-14, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by superslomo View Post
I've homebrewed my share of cider, I just happen to stick with non-fortified, straight cider, "sweet mead" yeast from wyeast, fermented down to about 5% alcohol, super dry (a little sweeter than the dry mead yeast would make it) and no backsweetening, I bottle conditioned them to ferment. I don't like the sweetness in it, personally... there are ever more small-batch ciders now that are simple, dry and clean as well... the non-fermentable sugars, and backsweetened stuff is a different matter, you are definitely right...

I'm teetotalling for the time being myself, so I have a bunch of homebrewing ingredients sitting around waiting to be turned into lots of beer and I have no use for them for the time being... homebrewing when you don't drink is an odd activity
Old world style! I brew that way too, but you maintain your 5% with the referment? I've never had a cider come out that low, even when I use just the natural skin yeasts and not supplemented with brown sugar and yes it sounds quite odd not drinking but being a brewer... I specifically brew because that's about the only way to get the exact flavor to the drinks I want. I suspect I'd love to pick your brain about your own experiences with cider as well judging by what little you've mentioned about your own brewing process.
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Old 09-16-14, 02:37 PM
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I am not a user of drugs or alcohol myself. Although I do have vices. But nothing I'd consider practicing/using daily. I am not sure which addictive product or behavior a person choses to enjoy... making a decision to use it daily.. would not be well advised.
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Old 09-16-14, 02:54 PM
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Well, I love wine and beer and I think the only solution is drinking less, specially before you ride.
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Old 09-16-14, 05:47 PM
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FWIW, the following URL

Educate Yourself: Alcohol // OADE // University of Notre Dame

seems pretty good to me (despite the fact that there is an obvious agenda - OTOH, it is Notre Dame, so ...). The section Alcohol and Athletes is the part particularly relevant to this thread.

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