It’s that time of year. With longer days, warmer weather and summer vacations, alcohol consumption tends to be on the rise. Wondering how the extra beer or glass of wine is influencing your athletic performance? Be warned, you may not like what you find. Read on for the 5 potential impacts of alcohol consumption on exercise recovery:
- Decreased muscle repair: To help muscles recover after exercise, nutrients need to be brought to the injured muscles, and the by products of this healing process then need to be taken away. Alcohol interferes with muscle recovery post exercise by impairing the removal of these by-products.
- Decreased glycogen synthesis: Glycogen is our storage form of carbohydrates, which fuels our exercise. After exercise, the food we eat replenishes these depleted glycogen stores. Alcohol post-exercise disturbs this glycogen restoral process and as a result, could negatively impact future workouts.
- Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it causes your body to lose water. Exercise usually results in dehydration, so one post-exercise goal should be to rehydrate to replace the fluids lost through sweat. Alcohol does the exact opposite by causing further water loss.
- Poor sleep: We all know that sleep is a vital to recovering from exercise. Even if alcohol does not impact the amount sleep you get, it will reduce your sleep quality. Alcohol interferes with the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep. This can severely reduce cognitive function.
- Weight gain: Alcohol could easily be sabotaging your body composition goals. Alcohol is not only calories dense, but also other ingredients such as sugar, cream or fruit juice are often added to alcoholic drinks and further increase the calorie content. Not to mention that alcohol consumption is often accompanied with poor food choices or unplanned food consumption.
Am I saying that you shouldn’t drink alcohol? Most definitely not! As goes the theme, everything in moderation. If you are going to drink, make sure that your recovery nutrition has first been taken care of. Ensure that you are properly hydrated and have eaten before having the beer or glass of wine.