Alcohol, Good or Bad?

Alcohol is given a bad reputation. Why? Well it has these effects on athletes:

  • Decreases strength

  • Impaired reaction time

  • Impaired balance and eye/hand coordination

  • Impaired fine motor and gross motor coordination

  • Increase fatigue

  • Causes dehydration

  • Impacts cellular repair

  • Negatively effects protein synthesis

As Im sure you will agree that’s quite a few negative things. Well I am not going to try and put anyone off the occasional drink, and label alcohol as the ‘devil juice’ as some trainers might. In fact alcohol has been shown to have some health benefits and in studies people who drink alcohol weigh less than non-drinkers.

Usually alcohol is said to have 7.1 calories per gram, but the real value is more along the lines of 5.7 calories. You may have heard drinking beer can cause muscle breakdown. New research says alcohols effect on the precious muscle hormone ‘Testosterone’ has been quite exaggerated by the media. Unless you are having extremely large amounts on a daily basis it is unlikely to damage muscle growth or repair. Alcohol cannot cause fat gain by itself. Instead it’s all the junk that people choose to eat in with the alcohol that causes fat gain.

What can we conclude? Alcohol is not as bad for us as the media and health industry makes out, as long as we don’t over consume on a regular basis. It is probably best to stay away from alcohol completely when training and competing in a sporting event. And if you are someone who can’t stop at one or two or finds drinking leads to junk eating and binging on takeaways then avoiding it might be the wise thing to do.

If you do choose to drink alcohol my advice is to stick to clear spirits and wine.

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