Alcohol can negatively impact our intent to exercise, workout and lose weight.
Impact on workout and exercise
Most people after drinking alcohol will not exercise next day, or if they do, their workout will probably be worse than they normally do. For example, they will not feel in the mood to lift as heavy weight as they normally would, and probably do less sets than they typically would do.
The biggest effect drinking has on workouts involves hydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it will cause you to lose excess water and cause your kidneys to produce more urine. Normally when you exercise you sweat or dehydrate anyway, alcohol in the body just makes this significantly worse.
Another impact that alcohol has is on your energy level. This is affected because the liver prioritises breaking down the alcohol first, and therefore the glucose we need broken down for energy is impacted. This is why one won’t feel like lifting as much weight or doing as many sets or repetitions.
The third impact is on response. Alcohol causes a relaxed feeling by slowing down the nerves that pass messages around the body. This results in slower response, poorer coordination, and worse balance. This could lead to safety issues if one was not careful.
Drinking alcohol also disrupts the sleep pattern, usually affecting both the quality and quantity of your sleep. It affects your rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is where a lot of recovery happens. REM is where the immune system gets rejuvenated, so that could affect muscle synthesis and one wakes up feeling tired.
Impact on weight loss
If you are hoping to lose weight, alcohol significantly hinders that desire cause there are a lot of calories in alcohol (see end of blog for some examples) and it is not easy to process it or utilise it for energy so it packs on as weight. Another negative consequence of drinking is the tendancy to have high calorie food (such as takeaway burger, pizza, kebab) with the alcohol, or on the way home later that night. So it is a double whammy: high calories from alcohol and high calories from processed food!!
It can be very sociable to have a drink. The key thing is to minimise the amount one drinks and drink in moderation. Matt Lovall (who is an elite sports nutritionist) puts it very well: “exercising the day after drinking alcohol can mean you have an all-round lower quality training session or sporting activity. You’ll lack strength and power, be less likely to make split second decisions and more likely to feel tired quicker because your body won’t be able to clear out the lactic acid you produce when you exercise. This is because your liver will be working harder to get rid of the toxic by-products of alcohol in your system,”
After drinking alcohol, make sure to drink loads of water before going to bed! It will help you hydrate and start washing the toxins out of the body.
Please drink responsibly.
Some examples of Calories and carbs content of various drinks:
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