Alcohol is no friend to your post-workout recovery
We all know recovery is vital to help us to get fitter, faster and strong, so, ultimately to improve our performance overall. Yes, the training aspect is essential but without the recovery aspect, we may see ourselves struggling to progress. So, it’s critical to have a recovery strategy in place, knowing what helps and what hinders this!
When it comes to recovery, the process begins once we complete training/exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to be devouring a protein shake the second you’re walking out the gym door, but the next few hours are essential for both recovery and adaptation! And nutrition is a factor that will influence this process, carbohydrates to restore muscle glycogen, protein to enable muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and fluids to rehydrate your body. So, aim for 20-25g of good quality protein post-exercise and in every main meal across the remainder of the day. So, these are just a few areas that are going to enhance recovery.
Whereas when it comes to alcohol consumption this is an area that will hinder performance! For people that train quite intensely and regularly, alcohol is something that tends to be avoided but there can often be times post-competition or a big sporting event there is a culture of drinking and ultimately binge drinking can occur. And this can cause a problem as recovery is negatively impacted through not intaking adequate nutrition or getting appropriate rest after such intense exercise. Now the same goes for if it’s just a training session i.e., training intensely and going on binge drinking episodes.
What are the performance implications of drinking large quantities of alcohol?
- Quality of sleep will be reduced
- Cognitive function is decreased in the day(s) post-consumption
- Reduction in replenishing glycogen stores in the muscle due to poor nutrition strategy implemented
- Reduction in MPS i.e. hindered repair and adaptation
- Feeling weaker in the gym, especially if training/exercising the next day
Please note all of the negative implications are based on studies looking at binge drinking; i.e., 1g of alcohol per individual’s body weight, was a common amount consumed. And therefore, small amounts of alcohol consumption (one -two drinks) are more likely to have less effect on an individual, but further studies must be done to determine this. So, overall if performance and training are important to you try to avoid consuming large quantities of alcohol regularly.