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How does alcohol affect your training?


Posted by Cags R under Nutrition on 25 August 2012 at 11:00 PM

Dehydration is a major after-effect from drinking alcohol.

If you've ever woken up with a distinctly dry mouth after drinking, this is just one side effect of the dehydration caused by alcohol! But how does this effect you when you exercise?

It definitely doesn't improve your perfromance! Here are 4 reasons why:

  • Increased fatigue - quite simply if you're not hydrated then you will suffer from more rapid and accelerated fatigue. You will be tired quicker. When you are fatigued as an athlete all aspects of your sport suffer - slower reactions, shorter endurance etc
  • Lactic acid build up - your body is less able to disperse built up lactic acid when you are dehydrated. This means your explosive, anaerobic exercises will be weaker than usual as you will struggle to recover at your usual rate. (Slower sprints, less weight lifted etc)
  • Dizzyness/sickness - this is a combination between your body wanting to rid itself of the toxins in alcohol and the dizzyness caused by normal dehydration. If you're feeling sick before exercising, it is definitely not recommended that you start. Rehydrate and come back later!
  • Concentration - alcohol tends to have a partner in crime - the late night - which aim to absolutely scupper your concentration when it comes to training (or lectures/work/anything really!). 

Weight gain - we've all heard of the famous 'Beer Belly' - but how much will alcohol effect your weight?

Martin Berkhan - the author of LeanGains website - has written an article attempting to expell the mainstream line of thought that alcohol causes muscle myopathy and increased fat:

The effect of alcohol on fat storage is very similar to that of carbs: by suppressing fat oxidation, it enables dietary fats to be stored with ease. However, while conversion of carbs to fat may occur once glycogen stores are saturated, DNL via alcohol consumption seems less likely.

The reason why people put on weight if they are drinking frequently is that we often neglect to include liquid calories as part of our daily allowance: 1 Budweiser 12fl oz (354.84 ml) is 146 calories. This is close to eating 3 slices of white bread!

Challenge time!

So far 1685 Tribesporters have completed the 4 Weeks Without Alcohol Challenge, are you up to it?

“The hardest time for me was the Friday night unwind drink signifiying the end of the working week - I think it might be a good idea to just knock that one on the head for a couple of months to dissassociate it from the unwind...” - Kat S

“Really helps you focus on a healthier lifestyle. Highly recommended.” - Tyrone H

“So used to lack of alcohol I even missed the date when I had done 4 weeks!” - Richard H