Alcohol And Exercise

alcohol and exerciseThis is a topic I haven’t really touched on before, but I know many of you probably wonder about how alcohol and exercise mix.  I just haven’t touched on it yet because I’m not a big drinker and never really have been.  I might have a beer or a glass of wine once a week but it’s rarely more than that.  But I know many people enjoy a glass of wine or a beer every night or with dinner.  So if you do like to drink, is it going to have a big impact on your results?  Can you still reach your goals if you drink alcohol and exercise too?  I’ll answer that, but first lets go over a couple effects that alcohol has on your body.

Alcohol and Exercise – Empty Calories

When you think about fueling your body, you want to make sure you’re getting nutritious food.  You want to make sure what you eat and drink is giving your body what it needs to operate at peak performance.  This is where alcohol doesn’t help you out much.  It’s high in calories, but has no real nutritional value.  So you’re just drinking empty calories.  They will easily turn to fat if you don’t burn them off and they really don’t help your body in any way, especially when it comes to beer or hard liquor.  But what about wine?  That’s supposed to be good for your heart, right?  Well there have been studies that show one glass of red wine can be good for your heart, but how about just eating grapes?  You can get the health benefits from other sources.  Really if you’re working hard with your workouts, drinking any alcohol is going to make it harder to get results.  You’re just drinking back the calories your burned, and those drinks aren’t helping your nutrition at all.  They’re basically wasted calories.

Dehydration – Alcohol and Exercise

If you’re working out hard you know that staying hydrated is very important.  You can lose a lot of water just from sweating, which in and of itself can lead to dehydration.  The last thing you want to do is dehydrate yourself more.  And when it comes to alcohol and exercise, drinking can lead to further dehydration.  Drinking alcohol can dehydrate you because alcohol acts as a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate.  And when you’re working out hard, you want your body to absorb water, salt and other nutrients.  Alcohol inhibits this absorption by making you urinate, so your muscles get less water and nutrients.  That’s the exact opposite of what you want when you’re working out hard.

My Approach With Alcohol and Exercise

My bottom line is that alcohol and exercise do not mix well.  If you’re looking to maximize your results, I would highly recommend staying away from alcohol all together.  So if you’re in your first or second round and you still haven’t had the results you want or are still working towards your ultimate goal, then I suggest not drinking alcohol.  The empty calories are just something you’re going to have to work off and they will make it harder for you to reach your goals.

On the other hand, if you’ve reached your goal weight or physique and you are more in maintenance mode, then it’s probably not as important for you to cut it completely out of your diet.  You can probably work those calories off and maintain your current shape.  So it does really depend on what you’re trying to accomplish.  In any situation, though, binge drinking should absolutely be out.  Most importantly is the fact that it’s very unsafe and damaging to your body.  And secondly, you end up consuming tons of empty calories which will just store as fat unless you burn them off.  The more you drink, the more calories you have to burn.

I do enjoy about one drink a week, but that’s about it.  During my first 150 days, I didn’t have any alcohol because I had a long ways to go to drop the pounds and lose the fat that I wanted to lose.  I knew alcohol and exercise didn’t mix well, so I didn’t drink at all and I reached my goal weight.  If you have more questions about alcohol and exercise feel free to leave a comment below!

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  1. […] weekend plans.  I wrote on that topic a little while ago, so you can read about my thoughts here: Alcohol and Exercise.  My advice is that if you want to enjoy a drink, just keep it to one.  Those are all empty […]

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