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Alcohol and your Training Performance

It’s important to have an understanding of how alcohol can affect your training performance.

Brain Function

Alcohol can affect your brain functions during exercise including judgement, motor skills, balance, hand eye coordination and reaction time. This can all not only effect your overall performance within a session but also increase injury risk.

Dehydration

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes water loss through urine. As exercise makes us sweat our body temperature will rise so this combined with the diuretic effect of alcohol makes dehydration even more likely.

To maintain normal flow of blood through our bodies when we exercise we need to stay hydrated, this is essential for oxygen and nutrients to reach our muscles and all the body’s organs.

It is important to replace water lost through physical activity and, if we drink any alcohol after exercise, drinking additional water is very important to prevent dehydration.

 

Blood Sugar Levels

Alcohol consumption causes an increase in insulin secretion, which leads to low blood sugar (or hypoglycaemia) which depletes our energy. Exercise requires normal levels of sugar in the blood to give us energy. So, after alcohol, blood sugar levels will fall, and our sports performance won’t be as good as usual.

Impairs Muscle Growth

Long-term alcohol use can diminish protein synthesis, resulting in a decrease in muscle growth. Even short-term alcohol use can affect your muscles.

Sleep

Getting enough rest is essential to building bigger and stronger muscles. Alcohol interferes with sleep, exercising the day after drinking alcohol can lead to an all-round lower quality training session.

Hangovers

Even mild hangover symptoms, such as a headache and hypersensitivity to light and sound can have an impact on our ability to perform at our best.

Calories

Alcohol calories are not converted to glycogen, a form of stored carbohydrates, and are consequently not a good source of energy for your body during exercise. Your body instead converts the energy from alcohol into fatty acids and stores them in our fat tissue. As a result, alcohol consumption increases fat storage and can adversely affect your percentage of body fat.

A final note…

As always here at Intent91 we like to ensure our members enjoy their lives and believe in everything in moderation, however take the above points into consideration as to how drinking can affect your training in the future!

Written by Coach Nat, Gym Manager

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