Time warp to 8 years ago when alcohol had a comfortable place in my world. I didn’t have an alcohol problem but was a social “binge” drinker. I never considered myself out of control but I would definitely throw down 5+ drinks 2-3 nights per week and live to fight another day. I told myself if I worked out, ate a little less during the day, drank plain old vodka with no fillers I would keep my calorie count down and I wouldn’t see any negative effects.
Unfortunately or fortunately, once I got into the fitness world I was force fed all of this science about alcohol I was convinced I would be better off not knowing. I had no idea that my behavior was actually detrimental to my workout progress and my health. Mostly I was bummed that alcohol wasn’t as simple as a calorie to my body.
Not only does alcohol offer minimal nutrition, but it actually inhibits nutrient absorption that causes fitness and weight loss to suffer. Five or more drinks in one night can influence performance for up to 3 days. Two consecutive nights of this can affect performance for up to 5 days. (FYI: 1 drink=1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer).
Why does this happen?
During a workout we break the muscles down. The aftermath of the workout…the recovery…allows us to rebuild these muscles stronger than before. Excessive alcohol consumption slows this recovery process and keeps the muscles in a breakdown state; hindering our progress of weight loss and performance gains. Long story short…
The body can’t actually use carbohydrates from alcohol in the repair process…bummer.
Here is a quick and dirty laundry list of what you are exposing your body to when you drink:
- Decreased Muscular Endurance
- Decreased Recovery
- Decreased ATP (Muscle Energy)
- Decreased HGH (Human Growth Hormone)
- Decreased Testosterone
- Decreased Nutrient Absorption
- Increased Toxic Load
- Erases Workout Gains
Crazy! I know, that’s what I thought too. I am not suggesting to never drink alcohol again, that is unrealistic and not that much fun. What I am suggesting is be mindful of your consumption and you will see the results in the mirror!