THE DRINKING SIDE EFFECTS
Ever since Neolithic Age humans have found a way to produce alcoholic drinks. Wine from grapes, beers from grain mash, Cider from fruit juice. Nowadays Alcohol is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world. If you have ever consumed it, you might also know the reason why.
In a very short period of time it can improve your mood, increase self-confidence, and make you more sociable.
Many of us enjoy our occasional drinking nights (more than occasional for some), but how does alcohol affect your fitness goals?
One way drinking affects us physiologically is by dehydration.
Since alcohol is a diuretic, the more you drink the more you urinate. The worse cases can lead to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
REDUCTION OF TRAINING SESSIONS
With severe dehydration (hungover) you will feel headaches, fatigue and lazy. Your chances to make it to the next training session might fall below 0%.
DROP IN TESTOSTERONE
Your body will experience a 23% decrease in Testosterone levels 10 to 16 hours after consuming more than 150g of alcohol. The Testosterone drop will not come back to its normal level until 36 hours after alcohol consumption. That’s a day and a half spent with decreased protein synthesis in your muscles.
In the UK a Standard Drink, also called a unit of alcohol, has roughly 8\10 grams of pure alcohol.
Moderate amount of alcohol has also shown to inhibit the hormone Leptin which is responsible for making you feel full. If your goal is to lose weight, it is going to be very hard to fight your cravings.
INCREASED IN BODY FAT
When it comes to weight loss your body will typically get rid of glucose and fat in the process; when you introduce alcohol your body will optimise alcohol disposal over fat and glucose (alcohol=7 calories per g).
This means that while there is alcohol in your body, any other calorie you consume from other sources will be stored as fat.
BAD QUALITY SLEEP
When we drink, we fall asleep much easier but our REM (deep sleep) is reduced and interrupted. The bad news is that most of muscle synthesis and muscle recovery happens when you are asleep not in the gym. Bad quality sleep results in muscle growth reduction.
Whether you are trying to grow your muscle or lose body fat, Alcohol can be your worse enemy. I am not suggesting that you stop drinking but try to find your weekly balance. Keep in mind that training harder every time you drink won’t change the effect alcohol has on your body.
Instead, on your nights out drink in moderation and aim to drink a glass of water for every alcohol unit. You have to stay hydrated as much as you can. Also, Opt for low calorie drinks when available.