“Don’t drink and drive” is obvious and important advice. But it must not only apply when behind the behind the wheel. How about alcohol and exercise…

You will also do well to heed these wise words when it comes to exercising, since alcohol can impair performance and strength. It does so because alcohol is not a nutrient, it cannot be stored as energy in the muscles, so it’s stocked as fat instead.

Drinking more than two alcoholic beverages per day may lead to increased belly fat…


Studies have discovered that drinking alcohol right before working out can inhibit the circulation of glucose, which the body uses for energy. In addition, excessive drinking leads to dehydration; this can increase risk of a heat stroke.

Levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which helps the body build muscle, decrease with alcohol consumption. Moreover, alcohol affects judgment and coordination, making completing training difficult and risky. The average liver is capable of metabolizing about 1 unit every 90 minutes.

A unit of alcohol is equivalent to a shot, an average beer or glass of red wine. This rate differs among people and is affected by fitness level, body fat percentage, gender and ethnicity. It is worth noting that alcohol TONS of energy, 7 calories per gram; more than carbohydrates and protein and is used preferentially over the carbohydrates and fats already circulating in your blood. In moderation one alcoholic drink for women, two for men rule can increase good cholesterol, reduce insulin resistance and stress.

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Effect of alcohol on exercise and physique goals

– Alcohol can result in prolonged muscle soreness following training and longer recuperation time.

– Alcohol affects endurance abilities, especially when consumed in large quantities.

– Alcohol can cause several gastric, digestive and nutritional irregularities by interfering with the absorption of nutrients.

– Calories and potential fat gain caused by alcohol itself, drinking can result in the consumption of a massive amount of liquid calories.

Be a smarter drinker, or at least limit the damage by consuming the following drinks instead of beer and sugary mixes: Spirits on the rocks or with light soda, or red wine (full of antioxidants, can lower the risk of some of heart disease, blood clots and hypertension).

All in all, it can’t be denied that drinking is, to degrees, harmful especially when trying to get fit or for athletic performance. It is possible to limit the damage by making smart choices. Alcohol is harmful when overdone and can mess with your digestive system, liver, and diet.

Binge drinking also causes a drop in testosterone levels while increasing cortisol, a hormone that destroys muscle. To prevent muscle loss, avoid drinking alcohol shortly before or after hitting the gym. Choose hydrating drinks like water or sports drinks instead of alcoholic beverages, and monitor overall alcohol intake.

Moderate drinking affects the body in a manner similar to that of exercise, increasing your levels of healthy cholesterol and thereby reducing the risk of vascular disease. When added to a healthy lifestyle, alcohol compounds the positive effects of exercise on cardiovascular health.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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