Does Does alcohol affect fitness? Many athletes and regular gym-goers don’t quite realize that alcohol is impacting their performance. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis is not only going to be detrimental to your performance, but also to your health as well.
If you are going out to have a few drinks with your friends every weekend, or you simply settle down to a glass of wine with your significant other at the end of a long, hard day of work, you are in for some problems ahead.
Let’s go over how alcohol affects fitness performance and progress so that you can see why it may be time to opt for a non-alcohol drink instead.
Alcohol And Body Weight
First, it’s very clear that your body weight and composition is going to impact whatever activity you choose to do. For instance, if you are involved in endurance training, if you are sporting a few too many pounds of extra fat, this is going to mean that it’s harder for you to move your body over great distances.
Fat really is ‘dead weight’ so to speak, so it’s doing nothing to keep you moving along.
If you’re a strength training athlete, excess dietary fat can impact your ‘P-ratio’ as it’s often called, which refers to how well your body builds muscle in the face of a calorie surplus.
Basically, if you have too much body fat and are using a higher calorie diet, there is going to be a greater chance that you simply go on to build more body fat, not lean muscle mass.
Clearly not what you want.
And let’s not overlook day to day activities. If you have to carry 20+ extra pounds around each day, that’s going to take a toll on your energy level.
Alcohol is empty calories and won’t do anything positive for your health. Furthermore, if you combine your alcohol with a mixer, you’ll be really doing yourself in as far as your calorie intake goes. It’s not abnormal to see mixed drinks coming in at 300 or more calories per serving.
Alcohol And Recovery
Another big problem with alcohol is its impact on your recovery ability. If you put in a hard workout on a Friday afternoon and then go have a few beers that evening, you won’t be recovering as well as if you hadn’t.
Remember that alcohol is a toxin in the body, so as soon as it enters your system, everything else is basically just going to stop. Recovery stops, muscle building stops, and fat burning stops too. A study published in the Alcoholism journal also reported the negative impacts of alcohol on protein synthesis rates, further indicating how it will impair your muscle building results.
All of this essentially means you are taking a nice little break from your progress whenever you put alcohol into your system.
How do you think that bodes for your long term success? Clearly not so well.
Alcohol And Mental Tenacity
Finally, the last thing to take note of is how alcohol is going to impact your mental drive. If you’ve ever been hung over on a Sunday morning, you know all too well that if you had a workout scheduled, chances are good that workout is not getting done.
When you’re constantly drinking and recovering, it’s going to influence your desire to get into the gym and train hard, therefore you’ll see a reduction in progress because of this fact.
Your body can also only take so much stress at once, so if you’re constantly stressing it out with your alcohol consumption, this means you can take less training stress overall, which means you cannot give as much effort in those workout sessions.
You’ll be more likely to wind up overtrained if you don’t take precautions to allow the body the full recovery from the alcohol you’ve consumed.
So drink wisely. One or two drinks on a rare occasion is no problem for just about everyone, but if alcohol is making a weekly appearance in your lifestyle, it may be time to make some lifestyle adjustments if fitness progress is a priority for you.