Alcohol and Your Workouts


Ever thought why those tireless amounts of work in the gym are starting to feel….well…tiresome?

That instead of progressing (which is crucial for any kind of training), you are actually experiencing regression!

Well you are about to get another reason why you should throw that beer right down the sink beside the infamous “beer belly”

Alcohol and its effect on performance:

Most people know about the whole “Don’t drink and drive” concept. Well, it’s time we had a similar rule in the gym….

“Don’t drink and train!”

I mean, if you can’t drink and drive straight, can you really drink and squat with 200kg’s  over your shoulders??


Now you may argue that there is a significant difference in just drinking a little and being flat-out drunk!

Well…maybe in terms of driving…this applies. But exercise performance?…NO CHANCE!

Whether it’s a can of Budweiser, a shot of Tequila or a glass of fine Pinotage; you can expect your exercise performance to drop considerably if you do choose to indulge in any of these.

Does just a shot or 2 of the good stuff really do so much harm?

You bet it does!

Why? How?

Well…go ahead and grab yourself a pen and paper, this one needs to be written down.

Alcohol has a substantial impact on our bodies in a variety of ways.

Let’s take a look at them:


Alcohol has a powerful diuretic effect on the body so if you don’t re-hydrate the body this can cause severe and quite serious dehydration and electrolyte imbalanced on the body. Severe dehydration can sometimes take several days to a week for the body to restore back to its normal state of hydration. When an athlete is dehydrated they are at an even greater risk of musculus-skeletal injuries.

Dehydration decreases your hunger i.e. appetite and can lead to muscular tissue wastage which for an athlete is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Decreased muscular tissue results in a dip in strength and performance. Food consumption is associated with the lack of appetite this will simply result in fatigue and over-training which actually puts the body at even more sustainable risk to injury.

Remember those workout videos where the instructor yells out “Do you feel the burn?” Well, drink some booze and workout. You most certainly will feel a burn (and some cramps, and some pulls and some strains and maybe a tear……OUCH!)


Alcohol consumption, when consumed in certain amounts especially in binge drinkers dramatically, decreases serum testosterone levels. A decrease in testosterone is associated with lowered aggression, less lean body mass (LBM), suppressed muscular recovery and a tenfold drop of overall athletic performance! This in males can cause the shrinkage of the testicles, increase breast tissue growth and decreased sperm development in males. In ladies, alcohol causes an increase of a hormone called estradiol a form of estrogen which rapidly increases the risk of breast cancer.

So, guys…if you fancy yourself some small balls, large breasts and impotency…DRINK AWAY, brothers. And ladies…come on…you’re smarter than the guys aren’t you.


Consumption of alcohol impairs reaction time and mental acuity for up to several days after your night out on the booze. This delayed reaction time and reduced mental acuity is sometimes a very serious consequence to an athlete. Alcohol consumption also causes a decrease in hand-eye coordination and sure will impair your judgments. With reduced alertness and coordination, the likelihood of injury is increased.

A night out with booze + 200kgs on Squats = BAD COMBINATION!


Alcohol for every gram has 7cals. That’s almost twice as much as carbs and protein. Needless to say, calories in beer are easily fattening. People who drink moderately more often consume alcohol calories on top of their regular caloric intake. These excess calories promote body-fat accumulation. Couple this with the muscle wasting properties of alcohol, we have a Double Whammy at our hands! This can spell disaster for your body composition. A poor body composition compromises your ability in just about every physical activity let alone exercise.


Strong powerful pathways such as glycolysis are severely impaired and lactic acid in huge amounts is produced this will increase the time required for recovery. Binge drinking may aggravate soft tissue injury. In order to contain an injury and prevent it from further aggravation, blood flow to the area needs to be reduced. Alcohol consumption has the opposite effect; increasing blood flow to the area and can, therefore, increase recovery time. The icing on the cake: Alcohol reduces Human Growth Hormone (HGH) by as much as 70 percent and releases a substance in the liver that is toxic to Testosterone!

So…less sleep, less HGH, less testosterone….Need a guide for “How to NEVER EVER gain muscle”? You have it right here.

You must also remember that alcohol can and will affect just about any aspect of your life and this article only talks about performance. Keep in mind that there are so many other areas such as the neurological system, the endocrine system, the reproductive system that are negatively affected by alcohol. So it’s not just a question of your performance but just about everything with respect to your body.

Stay smart and make the greater choice. Abstain from alcohol and experience drastic improvements in your performance both in and out of the gym.