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Baa Baa Blog


Alcohol & its effect on sports performance.

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Here's another blog entry for your consideration in the 'looking for an edge' category, I guess. "Alcohol and its effect on sports performance". I've been doing a moderate amount of research about alcohol and its effects on sports performance, some of this stuff I knew and some is new info to me, especially the effect on muscle and the interaction with ATP.

Still looking for an edge I've been doing some research on alcohol and sports performance. I mean, I already knew that trying to practice or run a race after a night of drinking is not smart and doesn't enhance your performance (not to mention paddling with a hangover is not very much fun). I'm pretty sure we all know drinking before a race is not a good idea.  But, there are other effects I did not know about that overall make me sad (anybody who knows me knows how much I love my Chardonnay).

I'm going to list the deleterious long term affects of alcohol - I'm pretty sure everybody has experience with the short term affects. :) This stuff I didn't know before I started researching. 

1st is the statement from the American College of Sports Medicine that "THERE IS NO BENEFIT FROM ALCOHOL USE FOR SPORTS PERFORMANCE"  Depressing..

1) Alcohol interferes with the quality and duration of sleep. When you don't get good sleep you don't produce as much natural HGH which impairs muscle recovery -- i.e., drinking negates a lot of the workout you struggle through.

2) Alcohol interferes with the bodies ability to produce a substance called ATP (it is how energy is moved into muscles during exercise), which can hurt your ability to perform in both aerobic and especially anaerobic activities (Race paddling is essentially an anaerobic activity - your body can't supply as much oxygen as muscles need during the exercise).

3) Guys - I really didn't need to read this one. Alcohol causes the liver to release a chemical that impairs testosterone production....

4) Alcohol consumption impairs reaction time, hand eye coordination, and mental acuity for up to several days after consumption. Drinking 5 drinks in one night can affect cognitive function for up to THREE days. So even several days after drinking you can have more difficulty keeping sync. It can affect your ability to learn and to recall 'muscle memory', i.e., if you're trying to improve your stoke you have more difficulty retaining the new stoke.

5) and last (mostly because I'm getting depressed) alcohol consumption increases fat storage and enhances production of lactic acid (the stuff that makes your muscles sore, slows muscle recovery, and decreases energy in the muscles). Alcohol would be the reason the guys have trouble getting rid of that last bulge in the stomach regardless of diet and exercise.

Given the above I've decided that I am going to go alcohol free until after the races in September (which should make the after party much more interesting.


Categories: Training & Conditioning Tips

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