Over the years many clients have asked about how alcohol affects fitness training and how much alcohol they are allowed to drink. The natural personal trainer answer is cut out alcohol completely but at Level 9 Fitness we’re all about keeping it real. With that out of the way our first answer to that is: we all are different and our bodies react differently to alcohol. To help answer this frequently asked question we have a short summary of the most important facts about alcohol consumption and training.
Connection: Muscles, Metabolism and Mental Blackout
We all have different reasons why we train or participate in a boot camp group. Some want to lose weight, others want to increase and improve their metabolism, and again others mainly want to build muscles. For all three elements, two things are required – motivation and discipline. This applies especially for nutrition and your meal plan. Alcohol is a nutritional and enjoyable beverage, which should be consumed carefully considering your training aims. Naturally coma-drinking, till you blackout is contra-productive. However, alcohol in smaller portions can also have several different effects on your muscles and your metabolism.
Negative Effects of Alcohol on Your Training
If you want to build muscles, you should enjoy alcohol in limited amounts. Drinking till you can no longer remember what you were doing last night has a negative effect on your hormone levels. Consequently there is not enough testosterone in your metabolism, which will slow down the muscle growth. Therefore the options are either drinking less or slow progress, which is something we generally do not want for our training. Furthermore, some substances in alcohol can influence the protein synthesis and thus affect muscles and especially muscle fiber.
Direct Consequences for Your Health
Sad but true, a high alcohol consumption will make you big/fat. Instead of wondering how can alcohol affect your training some people need to consider how alcohol is affecting their general health. There are two main reasons. First of all alcoholic beverages contain many calories e.g. cocktails or beer. On the other hand alcohol slows down our metabolism and suppresses fat burning which basically means that we burn way less calories during our training. In addition the repetitive consumption of large amounts of alcohol can affect our immune-system long-term. This is due to a lack of sleep and rest, although it may feel that you had a deep, dreamless sleep after a party, your REM sleeping phase is shortened immensely and your rest is not as deep as needed.
Are there Positive Consequences?
There are some people that claim alcohol has a performance increasing effect. Truth is that alcohol helps us to relax and relieve tension. Simultaneously our self-confidence is pushed, which may fill us with a brave new attitude that may lead to risky actions. Thus it is a different kind of performance that is increased. Wine on the other hand has been proven to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. However this is limited to a “dose” of half to one glass of wine per day. So, if you’re a light to moderate wine drinker wondering how can alcohol affect your training you’re probably in the clear or could be by cutting back a little.
And how can Alcohol affect Your Training?
Yes, alcohol affect your training. Fact is that you should avoid high amounts of alcohol which might lead to mental blackouts. Too much alcohol has definitely negative to damaging effects on your muscles, metabolism and your hormone levels. This does not mean you should strictly waive any alcohol. A beer, or a glass of wine once in a while, or toasting with champagne are not problematic for your training. The moment you have a hangover the next day, because you drank too much is what you should try to avoid. Thus if you want to keep your results coming you should consider to limit your alcohol consumption to a minimum or at least to keep it in a controlled frame.
It is always not easy to change from our habits. However, we would never suggest or force anyone, who really enjoys alcoholic beverages on a regular basis, to quit completely. It is similar to that piece of chocolate you enjoy with your coffee, a habit that when it will be forbidden by a meal plan may frustrate you. Changing our habits is one of the hardest things for us, and thus it should be our own decision to quit a habit or not. But with proper guidance and realistic expectations you can reach the results you want.
We at Level 9 Personal Training are here to support your fitness journey from your first step on. Request your free trial today and discover how fitness will influence your life. Become part of our fitness journey inspiring people for healthier lifestyle.