Do you often feel guilty after having that pint or two during the week?
Well, we have some good news, there is conclusive research that says if you have no major health problems, having one or two alcoholic drinks a day may actually be beneficial, especially red wine. But the key is the “no major health problems” clause. This means you do not have diabetes, your cholesterol is normal, your waistline is less than 100 cm, you are free of colds, infection and so forth.
But before you get too excited about that bit of positive information, consider the effects of alcohol on your active lifestyle and training; If you are reading this, it is likely that you are an athlete. You might be riding the bench on your sports team, or you are just not delivering the athletic performance you are striving for, so do yourself a huge favor and nix the drinks, even if it is one or two a week. Consuming alcohol is probably the worst thing you can do during training. Here’s why:
Alcohol has calories. One bottle of beer has about 150 Calories. One shot of vodka, rum, rye, gin or scotch has about 100. Add another 50 calories for the mix. A glass of wine, 200 calories. That is more than a slice of whole grain bread per drink.
We burn fat constantly. But with alcohol in our system, we burn little or no fat. Instead, we burn the alcohol.
With alcohol in our system, our liver produces more fat than usual.
Alcohol reduces our muscle-building in two ways: 1) Alcohol lowers our testosterone. 2) Our liver is busy detoxifying the body so it is less able to delegate new proteins to the muscles.
While intoxicated, we are more likely to eat junk food. Our judgment is skewed and the alcohol lowers our blood sugar, making us crave food, especially carbs. And unfortunately, healthy food is usually not available.
You are less likely to train the next day and if you do train, the chances of injury will be much higher.
Alcohol decreases glycogen (energy) recovery so you gas out faster.
Alcohol makes you fatter. It decreases musle and energy recovery. It increases the likelyhood of eating foods outside of our game plan and makes us less likely to train to our full potential.
I have seen “social” drinkers who chug down about 5 drinks per week drop 1-2 lbs a week just from cutting the alcohol. So quit submitting to temptation or go buy a round for the guy who just beat you.
Words by Kyle Byron
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