Summer is starting and so are Barbecue Parties, meeting friends for drinks in the Park or going out more often again. And well summer holidays are coming up, which means for quite a few people weekends on some beach, with lots of drinks and partying involved.
But what does Alcohol actually do to your sport performance?
I used to never question this, I love going out with friends for some drinks, and maybe a couple of drinks too much. But recently I am having real issues with my migraines and even just a little bit too much alcohol leads to a lost next day. Which makes me wonder what actually happens in my body when I am drinking and as a martial artists, what does the drinking do to my training and performance?
Funny mhh…I amm wondering if it is the fact that I am getting older, that I am starting to wonder more about these things….freaking 25 years old soon and still nothing achieved in my life xD But that’s a story for another day 😉
What does drinking do to your Fitness?
- You are drying out – Well this one many of us probably guessed. Alcohol triggers your kidneys to produce more urine, which leads to a bigger water loss. How does this affect your training? – You lose even more water when you train, which will likely lead to dehydration and with it a reduced performance and overheating during training…worst case you’ll pass out.
- You are undersugared – Alcohol keeps your livers busy, so they produce less glucose, which leads to lower blood-sugar levels and ultimately to a worse performance, because you need the sugar in your blood to get enough energy for your exercises. So drinking before a match or fight could very well be the reason why you lost.
These are just the short-term effects. In short if your performance will suffer for the next day. If you are building up for a match, fight or any other event, this will throw you back a couple of days you could have used to effectively train.
But what about the regular people, who can skip a day or two of training?
Are there longterm effects that could still influence our performance?
- You could get fat – Well a try Martini sounds so bloody skinny or a glass of wine so sophisticated, until you check a Calorie Chart (it’s quite eye-opening). Alcohol contains much more calories than you would think and also many of us tend to binge eating after some drinks, to fuel up on the salts and nutrients we lose when we drink, which adds even more calories to the list.
- You’ll stay fat – Yeah I know I am using the baaaaad word here, but it’s just a description. If you are trying to lose weight, alcohol is pretty counter effective, because it causes the body to burn calories slower and it’s keeping your body busy trying to expel the excess alcohol as fast as possible, instead of taking in nutrients and burning calories.
- You are less likely to turn into superman. Alcohol influences your sleep patterns and hormone produce, leading to a disruption of your muscle growth. This one could be scary for men – you are likely to produce less testosterone too…mhh doens’t sound very appealing now?!
- Lastly let’s mention the higher risk of heart diseases, cancer and liver diseases.
Ps. If you are recovering from an injury and drinking it could cause the injury to swell up more, because alcohol widens your blood vessels.
Now that is some scary stuff…but then it is also said that a little bit of alcohol every day can actually improve your heart health, red wine especially.
So do I and you have to stop drinking now?
Well while there are many Fitness People who would never drink, us normal humans don’t have to be so strict. If you want to that is great, but I really do enjoy a good glass of wine. It all just depends on how much and how often you are drinking.
But here are some tips on what do to if you end up drinking too much.
- Hydrate while drinking. As a rule one alcoholic drink and one glass of water, or loads of water when you get home. I usually have a water bottle next to my bed and a couple of headache pills as well as some noodle soup ready.
- Do not drink when you are preparing for any match or important event.
- Put some salad and fruits in your kitchen for the next day, your body will thank you for the nutrients and you cancel out the extra calories.
- Do not exercise the next day or day after. Your body will need the time to recover from the stress of getting rid of the alcohol.
- Set yourself a drinking limit before you go out and try to stick with it. Your purse and your body will thank you for it 😉
So what did we learn?
A bit of drinking is all right now and then, but we shouldn’t underestimate what it does to our body’s, no matter how cool and unstoppable we feel with a Champagne or Whisky in our hands 😉
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[ I found most of my information on these two websites: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/lifestyle/can-alcohol-affect-sports-performance-and-fitness-levels/https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/alcohol-full-story/]