Thus alcohol can cause muscle inflammation and hinder training and sports performance
With alcohol, you know, you shouldn’t overdo it. We are certainly not talking about the possibility of enjoying a good glass of wine or beer with friends, but of not making the consumption of alcoholic beverages a daily habit. Even for those who exercise, too much alcohol can have several negative effects.
What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and sport? Especially those who train consistently and expect to improve their performance should take into account that overdoing alcohol is not a good idea at all.
Let’s see why?
- Alcohol disturbs sleep
- Alcohol contributes to muscle inflammation
- No alcohol before or after training
- How to reduce and prevent inflammation caused by alcohol
Alcohol disturbs sleep
Sleep is essential for everyone, including sportsmen, as it allows us to recover from physical and mental fatigue. A 2015 study , focusing on the effects of alcohol on rest, pointed out that sleep is a time when the body is able to regenerate, which helps with memory, energy but also muscle development.
Alcohol, contrary to what we may think, does not help us fall asleep and then rest better. But it is the exact opposite, after drinking, the liver has to do a hard work of metabolizing this substance, which negatively affects the good rest.
Alcohol contributes to muscle inflammation
As Samuel Chan , a physiotherapist at the Bespoke Treatment in New York, said:
The direct effects of acute alcohol consumption on fitness and performance include decreased motor coordination, impaired balance, delayed reaction, and more. Not only can this hinder performance, but it can also put you at greater risk of injury if you’re not mentally and physically ready while exercising.
In addition, the expert explains, aerobic performance (think of cardio activities such as running, brisk walking and cycling) can also be disturbed due to the metabolism of lactic acid , which is essentially how the body removes this substance. a byproduct of exercise, from the bloodstream.
Alcohol can negatively affect this process, which means that there will be an increase in lactic acid in the body, resulting in fatigue and decreased muscle power and performance.
No alcohol before or after training
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) , an organization recognized as the worldwide authority in Personal Trainer certifications, reminds you that from the point of view of athletic performance, alcohol can affect motor skills, hydration status, aerobic performance, as well as aspects of the recovery process.
Absolutely avoid alcohol consumption before exercise, the effect of which can not only negatively contribute to athletic performance, but also increase an athlete’s risk of injury:
Research has shown that even small doses of alcohol ingested prior to exercise led to decreased endurance performance. Alcohol appears to affect aerobic performance by slowing the citric acid cycle, inhibiting gluconeogenesis, and increasing lactate levels. In addition, the body preferentially metabolizes alcohol, thereby altering the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids, which are the preferred energy sources during endurance exercise. (…) Scientific evidence shows that alcohol hinders athletic performance and ingestion before training or competition should be avoided.
Even after exercising, alcohol should be avoided. A practice, however, that of drinking all together, very common among post-workout sportsmen.
However, as NSCA experts write:
Alcohol and the behaviors associated with intoxication can interfere with many aspects of the recovery process. Drinks containing more than or equal to 4% alcohol can increase urine output, eventually delaying recovery from a state of dehydration. Beer was included as a post-workout recovery drink because it contains carbohydrates and electrolytes, but in reality typical beer does not contain enough carbohydrates or electrolytes for proper recovery from a long workout with a large sweat loss. It is reasonable to conclude that the negative effects of alcohol consumption after a workout outweigh any potential beneficial effects. To adequately replace lost fluids, it is important for athletes to drink rehydrating beverages such as sports drinks or consume water with salty foods,
How to reduce and prevent inflammation caused by alcohol
The key, again, is moderation. Those who are sporty and care about their performance, should not categorically exclude alcohol from their lives but it is advisable, when choosing to consume alcohol, to stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and to consume wine or beer in a period of time as far away from training as possible.
It would also be important to plan the last few drinks at least a couple of hours before going to sleep to ensure a sound, quality sleep.