MoveWell Health and Fitness


How Alcohol Affects Your Fitness Goals

effect of alchol

The effects of alcohol on our inhibitions are well-known, and it leads to bad dietary choices such as late-night pizzas and greasy breakfast. While some swear by sweating off a hangover, the day after a big night out, you may well not be ready to even get out of bed, much less even hit the gym. However, is this to say that avoiding alcohol is the only way to achieve your fitness goals?

First and foremost, it is essential to note that determining the direct impact of drinking on sports performance is challenging for various reasons, including the fact that each person’s body reacts differently to alcohol. The amount and frequency with which you drink, as well as your body size, composition, and genetics, all have an impact.


When it comes to power and performance, moderate drinking won’t affect how you perform the next day in training or on the field, but once you go above three or four drinks, your performance may suffer in various ways. According to one study, a hangover can lower your aerobic performance by 11.4 per cent, but even one drink can have an impact.

Furthermore, your liver is less efficient at creating glucose to fuel your workout when it is busy breaking down alcohol. This is especially harmful to people with diabetes, who are at risk of developing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar if they combine alcohol with exercise.

One of the reasons for poor performance is that liquor is a diuretic, which means it causes your kidneys to reabsorb fluids differently, causing you to have to pee more. You’re more likely to wake up thirsty if you drink but don’t replace your fluids before going to bed. This is crucial because it allows your body to pump oxygen and blood to your muscles while also keeping your blood pressure under control, allowing your heart to work less hard.

The timing of your drinking can add to the problem. In the case of amateur beer clubs, you should drink a glass of water before working out and then going out to a bar. Otherwise, you risk becoming doubly dehydrated.


Although a glass of wine may make you sleepy, Moore claims that excessive alcohol consumption leads your system to spend a little less time in deep slumber and more time in REM or shallow sleep. It’s a sign you’ve over-indulged in alcohol and aren’t as rested the next day if you go to bed feeling a touch spinney in the head.

People who are fatigued make bad eating choices, and a lack of sleep over an extended period can lead to chronic inflammation, leading to weight gain.

Furthermore, when you don’t get enough decent sleep, you’re affecting hormones in the body. A lack of quality sleep, for example, disrupts the creation of testosterone and growth hormone. These are produced during deep sleep and are essential for muscular growth.


According to certain studies, athletes who drink regularly are more likely to be negatively affected. Other studies have shown that even light consumption can impact your strength loss and recovery after a weight training session. Also, heavy drinking prolongs the time it takes to recover from soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains.


We get our energy from the three traditional macronutrients: carbs, fats, and protein. But we can also get our energy from ethanol (the form of alcohol in alcoholic beverages). Because ethanol is hazardous to humans in large concentrations, the liver prioritises breaking it down into metabolites that may be utilised or flushed out of the body.

When that happens, the breakdown of other energy sources, particularly fat, is turned off or slowed down. Burning fat (in contrast to protein or carbohydrates, which may not be as energy-dense as fat) accounts for more than half of the energy we consume whether we’re relaxing or lightly exercising. As a result, when we consume alcohol, we block the liver’s ability to convert food to energy and instead store it in our cells.

This effect is negligible with modest alcohol use — around one or two units of alcohol or about one beer, one glass of red wine, or an ounce of spirits.


The ability of your heart to sustain a regular beat is one of the most alarming truths about alcohol and fitness. Despite the widespread belief that a glass of wine a day is good for the heart, an extensive systemic review from 2016 found that drinking lightly continuously raises your risk of getting arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, according to data from nearly 900,000 people.


We do minor amounts of damage when we exercise, specifically lifting weights. But it’s a stress on your muscles that drives them to disintegrate any old and damaged proteins and replace them with new ones. This mechanism of protein digestion and synthesis helps our muscles to recuperate, and if we perform it regularly, our muscles grow.

After a vigorous bout of exercise, this healing process could take 48 hours. The muscle’s capacity to recuperate and adapt to exercise can be harmed if you drink more than a reasonable amount during this time.

It is always best to have someone guide you when it comes to your health. A personal trainer can help you with your exercise routines and guide you to navigate through your alcohol consumption. Go to a gym you trust and ask about their services.