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Alcohol is a social lubricant. We all feel like having a glass of freshly brewed beer or a glass of really good red wine. Some doctors even suggest that alcohol consumed in moderation is good for your health. There is a direct relationship between drinking alcohol and working out.
While consuming alcohol will reduce your performance, exercising regularly can reduce the negative effects of alcohol on the body. That, however, should not be an excuse to drink more. Being consistent with your workout is a guarantee of fitness. FITPASS has brought together hundreds of gyms and fitness studios in your city under one platform. Get the membership to workout near your home, office or anywhere else anytime during the day.
The Effects of Alcohol on Your Fitness
Alcohol is a diuretic – it makes the kidneys make more urine, which means that it dehydrates you. Therefore, avoid drinking too much alcohol because it will dehydrate you no matter how much water you drink the next day.
Exercising after drinking alcohol is not recommended because sweating during exercise will further dehydrate you. The scarcity of water in the body will reduce your performance. You need to be well hydrated when you exercise for the optimum flow of blood throughout the body. A hindrance in this process will affect the blow flow, which will lead to an inadequate distribution of oxygen and nutrition to the body.
The liver is responsible for breaking down the alcohol and it can interfere with the energy production in the body. One of the most important functions of the liver is to produce glucose for energy. When you consume alcohol, the liver starts breaking down alcohol and substitutes the important functions. As a result, you will tire out since your body will be too busy eliminating the alcohol out of your system.
The numbing effect of alcohol does not miss the nerves. It relaxes the nerves that carry messages too much and this can lead to delayed reactions, reduced coordination, and disturbed balance during exercise.
Alcoholic drinks contain almost 7 calories per gram, which makes them just like pure fat. The point of attending Zumba classes or Pilates sessions is to lose weight and by consuming alcoholic drinks you may be consuming empty calories thereby countering weight loss activities. More often than not, you will be tempted to eat high-calorie unhealthy foods after drinking that will further hinder your efforts to lose weight.
Drinking is associated with unusual heart rhythms – you must have noticed an altered heart rate after a night of drinking. If you drink high amounts of alcohol for a couple of days straight, it is inevitable that your heart rate will falter. Working itself leads to an increased heart rate, which will turn into stress if you have alcohol in your system.
The muscle fibers break after every workout. These minuscule tears in your muscles cause soreness, which goes away only when the body has repaired the muscles. Alcohol in the body delays the secretion of the hormone that heals the muscles. That is why you feel sore for longer if you drink alcohol before or after working out. Binging on alcohol leads to decreased gains due to an increase in the cortisol (stress-causing hormone) levels instead of the testosterone levels and hurts the muscle you were trying to strengthen.
It is best to stay off alcohol altogether but that is not always possible or even desirable. In any case, do not drink in the hours just before the workout or competition. Alcohol affects the nervous system compromising your motor skills and coordination, delays your reactions and more importantly impairs judgment and balance. Needless to say, these abilities are essential to perform well.
The smallest amounts of alcohol before exercise increases endurance and changes the metabolism of your body, meaning that it will process alcohol over carbs and lipids that are the main energy sources of the body. If you’re drinking the night before, make sure that you do not overdo it and consume extra water and carbs.
It is best to avoid consuming alcohol right after working out. However, if you cannot avoid it, just have very little and follow it with carbs and restore fluid balance. It is best to stimulate muscle repair before you go on enjoying a glass of beer or wine. Drinking alcohol will interfere with the recovery process after a workout. It is likely that you are somewhat dehydrated after a workout and the alcohol in your drink will most likely aggravate it.
You should be drinking water or sports drinks after a gym workout or a yoga class. Drinking alcohol after exercise decreases the body’s ability to synthesize protein. Alcoholic drinks don't contain enough carbs or electrolytes for recovery after a workout.