Can drinking alcohol slow down the effects of training?

Even if we are passionate about sports and we like to practice it, we cannot deny that we all like to enjoy our free time, especially during the weekend, and drink alcohol, with a couple of beers in the company of our friends.

Does drinking alcohol affect the results of training?

Some experts from the New Zealand Institute of Nutrition, Nutrition, and Health have analyzed the effects of alcohol on muscle recovery after intense training. To do this, they brought together some volunteers with an average age of 23, who trained regularly and underwent an intense training session.

At the end of the session, each participant was given an alcoholic beverage to freshen up, giving each 1 gram for each of his body weight.

Meanwhile, another group of people who had performed the same workout was given only an orange juice, so as to make a comparison.

What were the results? Those who had drunk only one fruit juice experienced a loss of maximum strength between 12.28 and 19%, while those who had drunk alcohol experienced a loss of 34-40%. This means that alcohol can adversely affect the results of hard training, in addition to promoting muscle catabolism.

Alcohol can nullify exercise results in the muscle recovery phase

Muscles grow partly due to growth hormones; if their levels are very low, muscle development will be affected. Moreover, it has been discovered – among the different studies – that alcohol can lower the levels of this hormone up to 70%.

The same thing happens with testosterone, a hormone that also largely affects muscle development, especially in men. It is thought that alcohol produces a toxic substance in the liver, capable of inhibiting the production of testosterone to increase the production of cortisol, which can catalyze the muscles.

On the other hand, alcohol reduces the speed at which the body burns fat by 73 %, or so-called lipid oxidation. This phenomenon is more serious than it seems: our body needs to draw nourishment from somewhere and since it is the alcohol that arrives before the fats, the liver metabolizes it, producing acetate that will transport it into the bloodstream to use it as fuel.

While this happens in our lives, our body absorbs fewer nutrients, as it will be busy trying to assimilate all the alcohol in circulation. All this without counting the enormous caloric intake that alcohol gives to our body. Going to the gym to burn fat and calories and then waste energy on alcohol doesn’t make much sense.

Does this mean we can’t drink alcohol?

You already know that we have different mottos, like the one that says that with perseverance one arrives everywhere, or that everything is fine if done in the right measure. This last motto can be applied to alcohol. Despite these studies carried out – and the results tested – alcohol can be drunk in moderation.

Furthermore, it has been noted that these negative effects of alcohol on the body – which slow down the effects of exercise – can be real if the gram of alcohol per body pound is exceeded. To give you an idea, an 85-pound person could drink about six cans of beer without any problem. An exaggeration!

Obviously, the less alcohol you consume, the better, but drinking a couple of beers with friends over the weekend will not nullify all the results obtained. There is nothing that hurts if we know how to give it the right space in our lives, the right place in our diet and if we know how to make it a moderate consumption. Enjoy the sport, but also a couple of beers with friends.

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