The Impact of Alcohol on Fitness

by Ruth Johnson
glass of cold beer bottoms up with beautiful bokeh, friends drink beer together, dark tone

Do you take a bottle of beer after a hard workout?
You are not alone, a lot of people do this right after a session but do you know that research by the American College of Sports Medicine shows that a single bottle of alcohol can undo all your effort to keep fit?
They have shown there is a relationship between fitness and alcohol intake.
So before you take the next bottle after a session, here are some facts.

It is true that a little alcohol can increase your endurance and strength but its effect will only last for a few minutes.
The effect of alcohol intake will eventually have a negative impact on your fitness regimen.
The research conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine has proven that alcohol has a way of hindering athletic performance and altering your body physique.
The research showed that alcohol can impair reaction time, balance, stability, and coordination, all of which you need for optimal athletic performance.
When alcohol is consumed, the liver and the kidney play a major role in digesting or breaking it down.
To do this the liver neglects it normal function of breaking down stored glucose (glycogen) in the body and focus on the digestion of alcohol.
By so doing you will experience fatigue and in some cases, the muscles of the body will experience slow growth because the glycogen that is meant to be broken down to release energy to your body is not available.
Once there is slow muscle growth, you will see little or no results from your exercises.

How Alcohol Affects The Body


Portrait of a tired man looking in the mirror in his bathroom


Alcohol can lead to dehydration, especially when you consume large quantities.
This is so because alcohol is diuretic.
Diuretic substances tend to increase the flow of urine, which causes the body to get rid of ………water.
Since alcohol is very concentrated and the kidney needs to break it down it then tries to reabsorb water from different parts of the body in order to process the alcohol thereby leading to heavy dehydration.
As your system dilutes the alcohol there’s a tendency for you to empty your bladder at regular intervals.
This can trigger painful muscle cramping which could affect your exercise and daily performance.

Reduced Muscle Growth

Alcohol intake can impair the process of protein synthesis which lays a major role in the development and repairs of your muscle cells.

In some cases the alcohol reduces the level at which testosterone is produced in your body. This leads to an increase in the production of cortisol.
This cortisol hormone is harmful to the muscle because it is an adrenal-cortex hormone that is active in carbohydrate and protein breakdown. This leads to rapid muscle loss.

To prevent muscle loss, it is advisable that you avoid drinking alcohol immediately after or before you hit the gym for your fitness routine.

During this time, you may decide to drink water or better still go for sports drinks.

Damaged Tissues

The intake of alcohol can actually lead to the inflammation of your liver cell. This is because alcohol contains a very large quantity of calories.

It can take your body about half an hour to breakdown a 12-ounce beer. And each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories.

Amazingly these calories contain no vitamins or minerals and cannot be converted to glycogen. So the calories are eventually stored as fat in your liver. This could have a negative effect on your liver thereby affecting the production of vitamin D.

Portrait of a tired and drank businessman

Alcohol Triggers Hunger

Drinking alcohol will facilitate the effect of enzymes on your body. And this increases the metabolic rate of your body, you’d become very hungry.
And by so doing you could settle for fast foods or fried foods that will increase the storage of fat to your muscles. This alters your physique and your effort to keep fit.

Alcohol Inhibit Fat Metabolism

Breaking down alcohol produces a lot of ethanol and enzymes known as Acetyl-CoA. Acetyl-CoA is effective in the production of energy to the body.

But unfortunately, the body recognizes these two substances as toxic to your system thereby shutting down all the other metabolic activities in your body.

Your body now channels all of its resources towards getting rid of these substances tagged “Toxic”. And by so doing it stores all other food forms in the body till it has finished getting rid of the alcohol in your system.

By implication, it shows that almost everything you eat before and after taking alcohol is stored in your body as fat instead of burning it immediately.

Alcohol and Your heart rate

Alcohol can increase the risk of developing an uncommon heartbeat. When you engage in fitness exercises this risk increase even more.

Once you develop a heart problem you can no longer do much fitness exercise either can you do many activities. But if you try to do these fitness activities at such times you would end up stressing your organs.

Yoga athlete woman drinking water after work out exercising

Alcohol and Your Stomach

Yeast plays an important role in the making of alcohol. Alcohol is a derivative of the yeast digestion on some ingredients.

Everybody reacts to different things. It is possible for you to experience some irritations on the wall lining of your stomach due to yeast.
Once your stomach wall is affected, it will affect the rate at which your stomach digests and absorbs food.

This will subsequently affect your fitness because you will experience low muscle growth.

Slow healing

As an athlete or somebody that trains to keep fit, alcohol can affect the ability of your body to repair injuries.

Whenever you train, your body tears down muscle tissues in the hope of repairing it. It is when the tissue is being repaired that your body develops that good looking physique.

Normally, your body is supposed to produce White Blood Cells (WBC) in the areas where you had tear or injury. This WBC helps with the rapid repairs of the affected areas.

But in circumstances when you have loaded your system with alcohol, this process is altered because alcohol interferes with this repair process by impairing the production of WBC.

So the rate of muscle repairs is very slow or in some cases hindered. Thereby affecting fitness

Alcohol Affects your Sleep

As an athlete or somebody that trains to keep fit, you need good sleep. However, the intake of alcohol will cause you to take longer to fall asleep or make you have a short sleep. And this could shorten your entire resting period.

In Conclusion,
Alcohol also poses dangerous threats to your body in the long run. They could lead to serious heart diseases, liver disease, and cancer. This can stop you from partaking in any form of activity including fitness.
It is important you know that excessive intake of alcohol is harmful to your general body fitness. Moderation is a major key to healthy living.

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