Because alcohol is a social activity and a way to wind down after a long or hard day, we tend to forget the affects it can have on our bodies. We don’t often ask ourselves, how is alcohol affecting my health and my work out routine? You might not notice or feel it, but alcohol does affect you, even it is in small portions.
For starters alcohol prevents muscle growth by slowing down the release of growth hormones. Growth hormones are released at night when you are sleeping and because alcohol affects your natural sleep rhythm, it in turn affects the release of your growth hormones.
Another hormone that is affected is your testosterone. Testosterone is an essential hormone in muscle growth and alcohol has a serious affect on testosterone and therefore muscle growth. When you drink, your liver secretes a toxin into your testosterone, which prevents muscle growth and definition. This is one of the reasons why you lose muscle definition when you consume large amounts of alcohol.
Lastly, alcohol affects your energy level. This affects muscle growth because your body needs energy to recover after a workout. Because alcohol takes up energy, there is less energy in your body for recovery. This affects muscle growth for two reasons. First you’ll be tired during your next workout and won’t be able to get the most out of it. Second your body needs energy to break down calories, if there is less energy to break down calories; it affects your weight and muscle definition.
Like I mentioned before, less alcohol is better for increased muscle and health.
Muscle building isn’t everyone’s goal while working out, nor need it be. If your work out is more focused on aerobics, alcohol still affects you.
Because alcohol increases blood pressure, it increases your heart rate. This causes unneeded stress on your heart because it works harder during your workout. This causes quick fatigue and could shorten your workout session.
Obviously this is bad for your heart, and high blood pressure is not a good thing to have.
This is a similar situation to alcohol using need energy, which affects body fat and muscle definition. Because your heart has to work harder, you’re not maximizing your ability nor are you able to push yourself. Most of your workout will consist of your heart working through higher blood pressure rather than either building up muscle or working on cardio.
We discussed calories before but alcohol has a further affect on your ability to burn calories. When you drink, you tend to eat unhealthier food like pizza or nachos. So on top of drinking, which if you drink enough the calories in alcohol can add up to a meal, you also may consume food with higher calorie counts and. Because alcohol causes an inability to work off those calories in a manner in which you normally can, your more prone to an increase of body fat and a decreases in muscle definition.
Last but not least, alcohol makes you dehydrated and working out while dehydrated is a bad idea. Dehydration causes fatigue, which prevents a good workout, it makes you feel hungrier and it prevents muscle cell growth.
So to conclude, less alcohol consumption is better for working out and getting healthier. Alcohol is bad for your heart, effects your ability to workout, affects your ability to maximize your workout, and affects your muscle growth.
I’m not here to say that drinking alcohol makes you an unhealthy person and is going to debilitate your ability to workout. They key is watching how much you drink, and just like anything that your body consumes, make sure you spread it out and do it in measured portions.