Q: Is alcohol ruining my fitness goals?
A:Alcohol in your system can have some detrimental influences on your fitness goals. In order to get down to the truth of the matter lets get right into some facts.
1-Slower recovery time from training. If you are putting in a lot of effort in the gym with the intention to get stronger and better cardiovascular capacity, you might want to cut out your weekly drinking sessions. Hard workouts drain the glycogen stores (carbs stored in the liver and muscles) and leave your muscle tissue in need of repair. High levels of alcohol displace the carbs, leaving your stores still 50 percent lower than normal even eight hours later. In order to fuel your body you need to increase your recovery with healthy foods such as proteins and fats.
2- Fat loss slows down. What is alcohol? Sugar and calories that do nothing for your body. Sure in the moment of being with friends you want to let loose and kick back but what are your goals? This is an important question to ask yourself.When alcohol is on board, your body is not trying to deal with the surplus of calories and it chooses to prioritize metabolizing the alcohol over burning fat and carbs.Excessive alcohol consumption really chews up muscle in those trouble some areas. It also increases levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which further encourages fat storage, particularly in your midsection.
3-Drinking effects your sleep. Alcohol decreased sleep duration and increased wakefulness particularly in the second half of the night, especially in women. Your body needs sleep for recovery and if you are not getting enough, recovery is stalled and efforts are plateaued.
4-Alcohol is a diuretic, which causes dehydration and a loss of important minerals and nutrients. Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, which can reduce your capacity to absorb nutrients.For every gram of ethanol you drink, you pump out 10 milliliters of urine (that's about 9.5 ounces for two beers). As little as 2 percent dehydration hurts endurance performance.
If your goal is to get stronger in the gym, taking the steps to eliminate stress and excess calories are important. If you are not seeing the results you are after, take a look inside some of your lifestyle habits that might be stalling your efforts.