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What are the effects of alcohol on my system when training?

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What are the effects of alcohol on my system when training?


March 2019


Firstly, alcohol is a diuretic, which means that drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration. Exercising on top of this can worsen dehydration because as your body temperature rises, you start to sweat. Sweating combined with the diuretic effect of alcohol can make dehydration more severe. It is important to stay hydrated when you exercise to maintain blood flow throughout your body. This is essential for transporting oxygen around the body and delivering nutrients to your muscles. This therefore means that being dehydrated can lead to a poorer performance. 

Alcohol also interferes with the way your body makes energy. When your body is breaking down the alcohol, your liver can’t produce as much glucose, which is what your body uses as energy. A lack of glucose will mean you won’t be as energised during your workout, and your body will start to use fat stores for its source of energy. This means you won’t be able to do as high an intensity workout. Your co-ordination, concentration and reaction times could also be affected because of this too. On top of this, alcohol increases lactic acid production and your body will not be able to get rid of it as fast as normal, which can increase fatigue.

Exercising the day after the night before can have a negative impact on your training. You won’t be able to perform to your full potential, especially if you have a hangover, with effects such as a headache, dehydration and hypersensitivity to light and sound. Your strength and power will be reduced, so you won’t be able to lift as heavy, meaning your strength training will suffer. Alcohol also inhibits protein synthesis which is vital for muscle growth and maintaining muscle, therefore you could struggle to build and maintain muscle if you regularly exercise with alcohol in your system.