There is much research on this subject and they all conclude one thing: Alcohol and fitness don’t mix well.
To start, countless studies have shown that drinking alcohol before your workouts slows the circulation of glucose in your blood – which your body uses for energy during your workouts. If you’re not at optimal energy levels, obviously your performance will suffer and this will lead to your results suffering as well. Drinking alcohol also decreases your blood glucose levels after your workouts and glucose is very important to help your muscles recover.
The second thing you need to keep in mind is that it’s downright dangerous. Consuming even a miniscule amount of alcohol can lead to decreased inhibitions and judgment. It can also decrease your coordination. If you’re already lifting a heavy amount of weight and you add alcohol in the mix, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Although alcohol, doesn’t worsen the negative effects that cortisol has on your results in the gym, it can prolong these effects, according to a study done by the Journal of Applied Physiology. Too much cortisol in your blood makes it harder for your body to gain muscle and lose fat, since it slows down your metabolism. This is not what you want if you’re trying to achieve a killer physique.
In addition to all of this, alcohol decreases protein synthesis. If your body can’t absorb as much protein, your body won’t be able to build as much muscle either.
Since alcohol is a strong diuretic, it can dehydrate you at a rapid rate. Dehydration is not only dangerous for your health, but it can also make your strength and performance suffer as well.
It doesn’t end there, however. Here are 3 more negative side effects of alcohol consumption.
- Alcohol decreases testosterone levels. Testosterone is one of the most critical muscle building hormones in your entire body and if you don’t have an optimal testosterone level, it can wreak havoc on your physique.
- Alcohol increases your body fat. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, and each drink adds up quickly. These calories are also empty calories, which means they provide absolutely no nutritional value. In addition to this, since your body thinks of alcohol as a toxin, it is going to automatically stop the digestion of any other food you’ve eaten and go after the alcohol first – this slows down your metabolism and makes it much easier for your body to store fat.
- Alcohol can lead to many health problems. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to heart disease, damage to your kidneys, liver cirrhosis and so on.
I personally don’t drink alcohol at all. Before I started lifting weights and hitting the gym on a regular basis, I got trashed every weekend with my friends, but now I realize that there is much more to life than simply getting drunk.
This was a guest post written by Drew Stegman. For more health/fitness tips check out his website: http://how2gainmusclefast.com/
Photo Courtesy of ddb and kdw (CC $ Flickr.com)