The Effects of Alcohol on Athletic Performance

We all know the basics of why alcohol is bad for you. However, from an athletic performance standpoint, the acute use of alcohol can influence motor skills, hydration status, aerobic performance, as well as aspects of the recovery process. Chronic alcohol use can lead to difficulty in managing body composition, nutritional deficiencies, and depressed immune function, resulting in increased risk of injury and prolonged healing and return-to-play.



Athletes need adequate sleep to aid in recovery and to be able to perform at their best, both physically and mentally. Ingestion of alcohol before going to bed may help induce sleep but has been shown to disrupt restorative sleep cycles throughout the night, decreasing quality of sleep.

When athletes experience soft tissue injuries, the body employs an inflammatory response. Alcohol has been shown to limit the inflammatory response via an increase in the production of anti-inflammatory molecules and a decrease in pro-inflammatory molecules. In addition to an imbalance of the inflammatory response, alcohol also acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow to the injured area, which could possibly increase the severity of the injury and prolong the recovery.

There are a number of hormones that affect muscle growth. For example, cortisol stimulates protein breakdown while testosterone increases protein synthesis. In recreationally trained athletes, research has found that alcohol intake after resistance exercise increased cortisol levels & decreased the testosterone to cortisol ratio, which will interfere with the adaptive process of long-term resistance training. Additionally, alcohol decreases testosterone secretion; therefore, excessive intake during the recovery period should be avoided for athletes striving for muscular hypertrophy or for those with hormonal imbalances.

Alcohol makes you gain fat ?

Once we ingest alcohol, your metabolism will take immediate priority in digesting and breaking down the alcohol. Putting all other food in your system on the back burner and later using it for fat storage.

P.S I’m not saying never to drink again but maybe drink less.

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