Celebrations and booze go hand in hand. You might need to attend a house party at friend’s place with a few drinks or celebrate someone’s birthday, over a couple of beers at the town’s popular pub. You might be dedicated towards your fitness and wouldn’t want to skip your workout on such occasions. So, you wrap up your workout and then head out for the celebrations. But, having alcohol post-workout really giving you serious gains that you’ve been working for?
Alcohol and Recovery: The Research
A study from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health proves detrimental effects on physical performance, recovery, cognitive performance and reaction time of rugby players when given alcohol post-match.
We know that post-workout body desperately ask for an anabolic state to take benefits from rest and nutrients you feed it so that it can recover and build itself bigger than what it was before. During anabolic stage if you feed the wrong ingredients to the body, it can lead to serious compromises with your gains.
During the anabolic state, two things that should be extremely taken care of are: testosterone-to-cortisol ratio and testosterone-to-estrogen ratio. Even just a few drinks are capable of distorting this balance and raising both cortisol and estrogen levels. Since, your anabolic potential goes down the drain, your possibility of gains also diminishes.
Hormonal imbalance and Decrease in strength
It has been observed from studies that even 2-3 drinks can boost cortisol levels and bring you out of that favorable hormonal state. And, if you so this over and over again, the hormonal shift would be more visible and might end up with glorious, newly found pair of man boobs. So, you need to keep a check on your alcohol intake and keep these ratios favoring testosterone.
Alcohol not only prevents your body to recover from the workout you just did, it will also compromise with your next workout. It decreases your strength and cognitive performance that can last for several days. So, its easy to lose your week’s worth of training with one night of alcohol. In fact even 1-3% drop in water in our body can cause 10-20% decrease in strength of body.
I see this very often that guys go out drinking on the weekend and spend the rest of the weekend catching up their fitness levels. Instead of getting stronger, they end up trying to survive the previous fitness levels first.
My Advice on Drinking
My point is not that having a couple of drinks with your friends is the end of the world. That being said, you should be able to live your life and have fun, so having a few glasses of wine or even occasional nights getting out of hand is fine. But, you must be cautious about the bigger picture of your training and results. If you decide to have few drinks, try to keep it under three and make sure to be hydrated throughout the night.
If you are serious about your fitness and health, you’ll be able to understand how much time you’ll be wasting just to recover your workout levels. I am not saying to quit drinking completely if you enjoy occasional beer, but figure out strategically on what days you can allow yourself for those drinks and on what days you shouldn’t. Careful planning is the key to success.