Alcohol consumption is something that needs regulating when bodybuilding, muscle toning / sculpting, power training, losing weight, basically anyone who wants to get results from their workout need to understand the negative effects drinking alcohol can have.
I know that nobody in their right mind would drink directly before or after a training session. However if you do; turn around and look in the mirror or think about the weights your lifting and say “could I do better” the answer being yes!
I know everyone likes a drink from time to time and that’s fine as long as it’s in moderation. The amount of calories alone in drinking should be enough to put people off who are on a weight loss diet, never mind the negative affects on your muscle and nutrition.
Can alcohol be good for you?
Yes, alcohol can be good for you! In small amounts (1 – 2 units per day) it can thin the blood helping your circulation and benefiting the heart. It has even been proven that drinking a glass of wine or a can of beer can help you relax.
Fair enough there are a few positives to consuming alcohol, but do they out weigh the negatives and will it help your training at the gym or your recovery?
How drinking effects your workouts and recovery
When you go out for a drink after work, or your mate rings you up midweek for a swift few, you may not realise it, but you are severely diminishing possible performance for the next day and prolonging your rest and repair time.
*Everything below is based on 1 – 2 days after drinking.
* Body will refer water to the kidneys to help metabolise the alcohol, reducing the processing of other substances.
* Water is needed in all energy systems. If the energy systems are not allowed to function at 100% then your workout or sport will suffer.
* Your hormone functions, controlled by the brain are effected within 1 – 2 minutes of consumption.
* Glycogen metabolism is slowed down, resulting in the brain receiving less, resulting in less energy.
Protein synthesis (anabolism)
* Reduction on protein absorption; like other minerals and vitamins, effects the amount of protein turned into muscle.
* You won’t grow to your full potential
* Recovery will take longer
* Alcohol will weaken the cardio muscle (Myocardium / Heart)
* Decrease in cardiovascular recovery will directly affect performance in your sport and time between sets.
* Collective points mentioned before like dehydration, lack of nutrition and reduced recovery all point to a reduction in your optimal strength.
* Strength is partly in the mind! If your mind is tired, you’re not going to lift your full weight.
* Carbohydrate metabolism is reduced causing you to lose energy, by limiting muscle glycogen levels.
* Fatigue sets in earlier and speed and endurance are compromised.
* Cardiovascular is impacted as mentioned, making it harder to sustain an intensive workload.
Alcohol increases your body fat percentage through high calorie drinks
I have mentioned this problem in a previous blog regarding fluid calories, apart from this time the calories in the drink aren’t just adding fat to your body they are hindering your training progress. Take a look at our Calories in Drinks list and if you’re looking to lose fat and it is very important to understand the Liquid Calories.
Conclusion to Workout VS Alcohol
I hope this article has put into context the importance of nutrition in your training plan. As stated above its OK to have a day off just time it right with your training diary. Drinking alcohol can mean the difference between having the focus to drive through the pain barrier and lift your Personal Best (PB) weight, having the best game of your life or on the flip side, just giving up halfway through your session and never getting those gains.
Ensure that you have a well built diet plan combined with your workout and take a look at our healthy recipes if you’re struggling for a specific meal like breakfast or snacks. Maximise your performance and if you do need any further help just contact us!