Its almost summer, the weathers finally starting to look up, your done school, what do you do to enjoy? Go to the beach and have a few beers of course! But you workout everyday, you have a goal you’ve been working towards for months, years even… is drinking going to hold you back? Here are the negative effects of alcohol on working out, take a read before you decide to grab a case of cold ones.
Effects On Weight Loss
The biggest drawback from alcohol when it comes to losing weight is all the empty calories. Alcohol doesn’t (for the most part) have any nutrients, but per gram does contain 7 calories. (1.5oz drink is equal to about 100 calories) So, when you are trying your hardest to lose some weight, your watching your diet, and trying desperately to avoid having too many cheat meals, your actually doing your body a disservice by consuming these empty calories. Not only would a chocolate bar taste better, but atleaest it would have nutrients that your body could use! (Protein for muscle synthesis, carbs/sugars for quicker source of energy) Alcohol actually slows down your metabolism by disrupting the kreb cycle in your body. (the breaking down of carbs and fats for energy) Instead of your body breaking downs these valuable macro nutrients, it is forced to try to digest /metabolize alcohol for energy instead, this is a much slower process, and all the while the extra carbs and fats you have consumed begin to store as FAT! Alcohol also decreases the hormone leptin in your body, leptin is primarily responsible for giving you the “full” feeling. This is why most people have such massive cheat meals when/after drinking. There are not enough leptins in their body to keep them feeling full, so they give into cravings for some nachos! (or whatever they preferred cheat meal is)
Effects On Muscle Gains
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning the more you drink the more you need to urinate which causes dehydration. Dehydration is a major killer for muscle gains because it reduces protein synthesis by 20%! (protein synthesis is your body repairing the broken down muscle fibers) Dehydration is also responsible for hangovers, (Which is extreme dehydration resulting from imbalances in electrolytes in your body plus increase of acetaldehyde) when you are hungover working out is the last thing you want to do. (Without working out there are no muscle gains) Also, dehydrated muscle cells cant work as effectively in the body and they cant absorb as many important nutrients that they need, which leaves the body in catabolic phase much longer.
Lowers Testosterone / Increases Estrogen
Drinking alcohol lowers testosterone levels by as much as 25%! These decreases in testosterone can last as long as 36 hours! That means a full day and a half of sub par protein synthesis for your body. (Essentially wasting a workout) It also decreases leucine oxidation, which is the main oxidation of any of the branch chain amino acids when it comes to muscle building. Alcohol also decreases your quality of sleep. Although you fall into a deeper sleep quicker while intoxicated, your body gets much less REM sleep. REM sleep is when blood flow decreases to the brain and instead goes to your muscles allowing your mind and body to rest and recover.
Whether its to gain muscle or to lose weight alcohol is not going to help you reach your fitness goals, so you should try to avoid it as much as possible. However, it is summer soon and there is nothing wrong with taking it easy once in a while and enjoying the weather. Just make sure you drink in moderation, a few beers just once a weekend, to avoid getting overly dehydrate and hungover and you will be fine!