Is Alcohol Ruining Your Workout?
Sometimes, a nice, cold drink after a long, hard day is necessary. But, have you ever wondered how that alcohol may affect your body and your physical performance during your workout? According to some studies, alcohol has the ability to interfere with your muscle growth as well as cause your post-workout recovery process to slow down. So, how can you enjoy a stiff drink without ruining your workout and your physical performance?
Let’s hear some facts first…
According to Women’s Health, when you consume alcohol, your body prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol as opposed to other fats and carbs. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone found in the body, also begin to rise in the presence of alcohol. In turn, this increases fat storage in different parts of your body. Along with a disruption in your muscle growth, recovery and metabolizing processes, alcohol also causes a disruption in your sleep patterns and nutritional intake. Because alcohol is not a nutrient, it cannot be stored as energy into the muscles. Therefore, it is stored into the body as a fat. According to an article posted by Laura Schwecherl on Greatist, “alcohol’s effect on the liver can also cause a shortage of oxygen, which interferes with the production of adenosine triphosphate synthesis (ATP) — a direct energy source for muscles.” Alcohol also goes hand in hand with dehydration. Alcohol dehydrates you and, as a result, slows down your muscle recovery process and can inhibit your workout performance.
While too much alcohol consumption puts you at risk for greater health problems, it is not all together bad. In fact, studies have shown that alcohol (consumed in moderation) can actually provide some health benefits for you as well! According to an article posted by Mayo Clinic, alcohol could possibly offer you benefits including reducing risk of heart disease, ischemic stroke, and diabetes. However, they also state that “the evidence about the health benefits of alcohol isn’t certain, and alcohol may not benefit everyone who drinks.”
So, while alcohol has been proven to hinder athletic performance and cause some unideal conditions for the body, it is not something you need to totally steer clear from. In moderation, alcohol can be okay for both men and women. While we do not recommend throwing a few back before your big race day, a post-race celebratory beer is something athletes (21+ of course) can enjoy without negatively affecting your body!
N/A. Mayo Clinic. “Alcohol: If you drink, keep it moderate.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/alcohol/art-20044551
Schwecherl, Laura. Greatist. “Why Alcohol and Exercise Don’t Mix.” https://greatist.com/fitness/why-alcohol-and-exercise-dont-mix
Yeager, Selene. Women’s Health Magazine. “Drinking and Exercise: How Alcohol Affects Your Body.” http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/drinking-and-exercise