Hello again, my fabulous friends! Happy Wednesday! Today was an interesting day with some unusual and unexpected things coming up at work, but that won’t stop me from spreading the Christmas spirit lol. Besides, T minus 6 FREAKEN DAYS until I see my fam and @mbkellyy and I am sooooooooo excited. MUCHO EXCITE. Have I mentioned I’m excited??
If you are having a long day, or stressful week, it is easy to go home and pour yourself a nice glass of wine or grab yourself a beer from the fridge. Or perhaps it is the weekend and you find yourself downing more than a few beers or cocktails. It is the season for parties and alcohol is usually a staple at these holiday festivities. Whether or not you wake up, the next day, with a terrible hangover… have you ever thought about how alcohol and drinking can affect your performance in the gym? Or how alcohol can affect you reaching your fitness goals? Today’s Day 21 of Blogmas we are going to talk about just that- how alcohol affects your body, your training, and how to track it (if you track your macros) and you choose to do so.
Consuming alcohol can affect your training in many ways. Alcohol has been known to impair overall muscle growth. Alcohol is a diuretic, aka it dehydrates your body, which can impair muscle recovery. A diuretic can cause dehydration (duh) and electrolyte imbalances. Dehydration is no good if you are an athlete because it puts you at greater risk for overheating, cramps, muscle strains, and injury. Dehydration also causes reduced performance and as an athlete who is trying to perform at an optimal level, this is less than ordeal.
Alcohol also affects sleep patterns (your HCH levels) and since your muscles use sleep as a time to rest and recover, alcohol impairs your body’s ability to do so. Alcohol also affects your mental function and can cause delayed reaction time and hand eye coordination which can lead to injuries.
If your goal is to lose weight, or maintain your weight, depending on how much/how often you are drinking, alcohol can affect your physique goals as well. Alcohol is very calorically dense at 7 calories per gram. In comparison fat=9cal/g and carbs=4cal/g. The human body is not able to convert alcohol into glucose which is the bodies preferred source of energy. So alcohol is not an energy form that the body can use. It provides no protein, vitamins, minerals, and inhibits the body’s ability to absorb key nutrients such as: Vitamin B1, B12, Folic Acid, and Zinc. If weight loss is your goal, consuming these “liquid calories” with no nutritional benefits may be counterproductive.
So, let’s say you have a few too many drinks and wake up the next day feeling like straight S H * T. What should you do??
Most likely you are feeling symptoms such as headaches, nausea, muscle soreness, thirst, dizziness, and sound/light sensitivity. We have all been there. (Haha probably one too many times.) Should you go to the gym with a hangover? If you are feeling any of the above symptoms, chances are they have A LOT to do with being dehydrated. As I mentioned above, dehydration impairs performance and can put you at risk for even greater dehydration and injury. Not to mention, it is hard to go to the gym and perform at an optimal level when you feel like crap. So instead of going to the gym, take the time to drink lots of fluids and eat something. If you start to feel better and have fewer symptoms later in the day, than I would say it is okay to give a workout a go. However, do not use exercise as a “cure” for your hangover… it doesn’t work like that.
So the bottom line is YES, ALCOHOL AFFECTS YOUR PERFORMANCE IN THE GYM. It is recommended to avoid alcohol 48 hours before an event- for your safety and overall performance. If you wake up with a hangover, take the time to rehydrate yourself and eat something before rushing off to the gym.
Is this blog post to say that you should never drink alcohol again in your life? Absolutely not. While I am not a big “partier” at this point in my life, it does not mean that I don’t enjoy the occasional glass (or two) of wine and/or sipping on an angry orchard while I’m tailgating for the Cowboys game (GO COWBOYS!). As with all things, moderation is key. Be aware of how much your drinking and how that will affect you an hour or twolater or even the next day.
So, let’s say you practice flexible dieting and you want to have an alcoholic beverage. Is it possible to track that and still reach your goals? Absolutely. Let me preface by saying that you do not have to track your alcohol. You can simply have a glass of wine because you want to. I also want to say that alcohol is NOT a macronutrient like carbs, fats, or protein. Your body does not need alcohol to survive. You also have to keep in mind that your body does not digest alcohol like it does carbs or fats, so it is not an ideal substitution on a regular basis. But, if you want to track your macros for an alcoholic drink, you can easily do so… it just requires a little bit of math.
First, you need to decide if you want to take the allotted macros from your fat/carb intake for the day.
Once you’ve determined, take the number of calories in the alcoholic beverage (google it if you don’t know), and divide the total number of calories by either 4 (if coming from your daily carb macros) or 9(fat macros). The number that is left, is the number of carbs or fat, in grams, you would “say” are in that beverage.
For example, a 4 oz. glass of Moscato is 127 calories.
If I want to use fat macros: 127/9=14g of fat
If I want to use carb macros: 127/4=31.75 –> 32g of carbs
Then, you would subtract that number by the total grams of carbs (or fats) you are eating a day total- and there you go, that glass of Moscato now “fits” your macros.
I hope that mathematical equation makes sense to all of you that are following along with this post on alcohol. If not, comment below and I will try to come up with a clearer example. But hopefully now, if you want to fit that glass of wine into your macros, you would know how to do so
What are your thoughts on alcohol as an athlete? How does alcohol affect your training and nutrition goals? How often do you drink a week and why?
I am by no means “judging” anyone who does drink on a regular basis. I just want to make that clear. Do you, boo. For me personally, I don’t drink that often. (It’s a long story as to why that is and I won’t get into it with this post haha). But, I am human lol. I enjoy a glass of wine, a fun mixed drink when I’m out to dinner at Cheesecake Factory, and the occasional angry orchard. No beer for me, no thank you. Gross. I just am particular about when I drink and why I choose to do so. The likelihood of me and the boyfriend cracking open the bottle of wine that is in our fridge on Christmas though is a 10/10
I hope you guys enjoyed this slightly more informative post on alcohol. Please comment or like this post if you enjoyed it. Blogmas is rapidly coming to an end so make sure that you are still entering into the Holiday Giveaway. Thanks so much for following along with Blogmas and talk soon.
Happy Holidays, XO