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How does alcohol affect your training?

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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

  • Encourage

    encouraged this.

    Comments

    20140104004045-carolann

    Great article.. think I'll re-take the 4 weeks without alcohol.. or maybe even create a longer challenge for this one (I've gone 3/12 before & really didn't miss it) Cheers!

    Brenda D and Minnette S encouraged this.

    20120827083756-lyf88940

    Gotta laugh, had a beer or two on Friday night, didn't really want to do anything on Saturday inspite of not actually being hungover - so it definately impacts motivation also. I still managed about 2.5 hours of low impact activity though, so not all was lost!

    20130809091741-ajh1905

    I'm afraid that lager is my remaining addiction....I smoked for 18 years and finally overcame it...beer is my next target......and despite my love of the beer I think I am doing fairly well in the health stakes now :)

    Brenda D and Carol Ann B encouraged this.

    20130220222028-marionh

    When Im training seriously for an event I have to abstain from alcohol because I find if I have one it always leads to another..and that can lead to not training at all for me. I have more motivation and see more improvement when Im in a state of 'sobriety'..

    Brenda D and Carol Ann B encouraged this.

    20130910113932-candidab

    The key to benefits from red wine drinking is a moderate approach. 1-2 standard drinks 3-4 times a week will promote health...thats been proven with RED wine..(goodness knows how all the other types of drinks compare...well they don't!) ....So any more than this amount of red wine per week and the benefits will be wiped out by the negatives of alcohol consumption. For some its a double edged sword....If you cant trust yourself with it then skip alcohol altogether. I do enjoy my red wine and can stop at one glass. However- I very shortly will 'go back on the wagon' when my marathons get closer... I just feel better focused. I have been known to be on the wagon for years! Simply put I just stop / start according to my training :) Good read Cags!

    20140218172556-brendad

    I ran a 10k race few years ago really hungover. A couple of days after I got a cheque in the post from them . I got 1st in my category. What a surprise!!!!!!!

    Carol Ann B and Candida B encouraged this.

    20140104004045-carolann

    LOL @ Brenda.. not sure that tactic would work for us all, but that is too funny!! I normally agree with Don - everything in moderation as they say - it's just getting to know your own body tolerance/reactions, then not ignoring what it's trying to tell you ;) I know my body won't lose weight if I have alkafrolics, so it's a no brainer for me for a while!

    Brenda D encouraged this.

    20130304144329-ruthe

    Alcohol definately slows me down and I sweat alot more during a workout. Good subject to bring up. Thanks!

    Brenda D encouraged this.

    20121224190349-flurz

    Haha, many advantages thanks to don't drink (or even like) alcohol =)

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