If you have a glass of red wine or a beer with dinner, how will this affect your workout the next day? The effects of alcohol vary from person to person. And those effects will also depend on the type of alcohol consumed, the amount and your individual tolerance.
If you’re an imbibing athlete, here are four ways that alcohol affects athletic performance and recovery:
1. Alcohol is a diuretic.
Alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration has a negative effect on performance and recovery.
If you are drinking alcohol, your body will end up losing more fluid than what you’re taking in. This means you have to stay on top of your hydration with non-alcoholic fluids to keep up with the effects.
2. Alcohol affects protein synthesis.
Another effect of long-term alcohol use is a decrease in protein synthesis. Reduced protein synthesis impacts your performance and recovery through a reduction of muscle growth and repair.
3. Alcohol messes with your sleep.
Alcohol disrupts your normal sleep patterns. It’s harder to get into the deep REM cycles of sleep. And it’s during those cycles that your body really gets to work on recovery and repair.
4. Alcohol calories can’t be used as fuel.
Just like carbs, fat and protein, alcohol also contains calories. And they really are empty and unuseful calories. Unlike the calories you get from food, your body can’t use calories from alcohol as fuel. This means that any calories your body gets from alcohol will be stored not burned.
Researchers continue to look at the short and long term effects of alcohol on performance and recovery. The best thing you can do is be aware of the impact of alcohol on your body and figure out what works best for you. Drinking in moderation means something different to everyone. But know that the effects of alcohol are “dose-dependent.” So, the more you drink, the bigger the effect will be.
In general, when it comes to alcohol and your athletic performance, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:
- For every alcoholic drink you consume, drink a glass of water.
- Eat healthy, nutritious foods with alcohol. Try to stay away from foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats. (This is just a good habit, in general.)
- Take a night off from drinking every now and then and volunteer to be the designated driver.
Are you ready to live life to your fullest potential? So are we at Rhapsody CrossFit in Charleston. Contact us today.