How Alcohol Really Affects Your Workout



This is how alcohol really affects your body and your workout:

The many negative effects of alcohol on the body have a big impact on your workout.

We all love a few (or many) glasses of wine over the weekend, however if you are looking to see results in the gym, alcohol and exercise don’t mix well.

Despite the immediate pleasure of sipping on that espresso martini on a Friday night with girlfriends, alcohol effects your workout and impacts your body in more ways than you may think.


Alcohol is empty calories and has zero nutritional value. Vodka stands as the “healthiest” of alcoholic drinks and in just one shot, contains 97 calories. For those of you with a goal of fat loss, alcohol will have a significantly negative effect on your calorie intake and also slows down your metabolism, immobilising fat to be used as energy. In simple terms, your body is trying so hard to digest and metabolise the alcohol, that fat burning stops all together for many hours after a big night out.


Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning alcohol causes your body to become dehydrated. With less water in your body and muscular cells, it is harder to build muscle. If you’ve been incorporating resistance training into your exercise routine, alcohol is a huge contributor to minimising any strength results, lowering protein synthesis (muscle growth) by 20%. Alcohol also blocks the absorption of many key nutrients for muscle function and growth including phosphorous, magnesium, iron and potassium.


Alcohol interferes with the way your body makes energy. With your body working hard to break down the alcohol, less glucose is able to be produced. A lower level of sugar available in the bloodstreams results in poor energy levels and therefore your exercise intensity and performance during your workout will be reduced.

Planning ahead is key to any alcohol overindulgence.

Here are a few simple things you can do to help your body in the recovery process after a big night out:

A meal rich in calcium, protein and iron can help the body recover after a big night out.

    Try to have a small high protein snack before bed (yoghurt, boiled egg, can of tuna, any leftover meat). Eat a big breakfast the morning after filled with foods rich in protein, calcium and iron to restore key nutrients lost from the night before (yoghurt and muesli, green protein smoothie, eggs with spinach and wholegrain toast are all great options).
    Try sip on water between drinks to reduce the impact of dehydration. Leave a large bottle of water next to your bed to drink before you go to sleep. This will help preventing a nasty hangover and help to rehydrate your muscles.


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Stephanie King


Stephanie is a qualified Exercise and Sport Scientist who lives and breathes all things health and fitness. An Eastern Suburbs local, Stephanie spends her weekends being active outdoors, sipping on an espresso and hunting down the best smashed avo toast in Bondi. She has travelled to 5 out of 7 continents, jumped off one skyscraper and out of one plane to date.

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