Effects of alcohol on fitness

Effects of alcohol on fitness

Everyone likes a drink to help them unwind and take a break from reality for a second. Alcohol is one of the most popular recreational products sold worldwide and many people may be drinking too much. Fitness is also popular but the two together can put a damper on your fitness and make it harder to reach your goals. Many people drink but if its done too frequently this is when it can become harmful and effect your fitness. If you’re wondering how alcohol can effect your fitness then keep reading this article as we are going to be sharing how it can impact your fitness.


It might be time to put down the glass

Like we said above many people enjoy drinking, but you can get too much of something you enjoy. We are constantly made aware of the effect’s alcohol abuse can have on the body and these can be unpleasant. A few of the effect’s alcohol abuse can have on your body are liver failure, high blood pressure, cancer and many other issues and metal health problems. For this reason, if you do decide to indulge then make sure its in moderation and you are being safe and not driving or operating machinery under the influence.

Many of the side effect we have mentioned come with long term alcohol abuse. It’s recommended that you try not to drink everyday and only have a few units when you do. This helps build up your tolerance and a smaller amount will get you tipsy. Also, this way you will save a lot more money and are at a lower risk of developing an addiction as it wont turn into a habit and you will see it more of a treat you have once in a while. Its not only the alcohol you will save money on but also other things like taxis and food you may have on a night out.


Weight gain

Many people have heard the term “beer belly” and this refers to the bloated and fatty belly around the abdomen of those who drink a lot of lager and alcohol. When drinking we need to remember that the drinks and any mixers also contain calories. When having a good time this can be overlooked but they still do add to your overall calorie intake and a few drinks can put you over your calorie goals. As a result, your body will store the excess energy as fat which is where the term beer belly comes from. Alcohol is also empty calories meaning it provides you with very little nutrients, so the calories are kind of a waste of time as they have no other nutrients apart from sugar and carbs. If you’re unsure about the calories in your drink, then see the label or search it on google.

Drinking regularly can also make you feel bloated. This is due to the gasses used in the drinks and the other ingredients like yeast. The alcohol can also react with your gut also causing inflammation and also bloating. As well as making you gain weight alcohol can also affect how your body loses weight. This is due to it interfering with your metabolism and your body’s natural fat burning mechanism so you will generally burn fat slower if you’re a heavy drinker. Also, the food choices you make when under the influence aren’t generally good for health either as people tend to get a greasy and fatty takeaway which can also cause you to gain weight.



We all train to improve our performance in something and to be either quicker, stronger or look better. Well, a surprising fact is that drinking can decrease your physical performance and you may not be making progress as quick as you initially thought. Its quite obvious that training while under the influence will cause a decrease in performance so this is something that is not recommended. Also, when tipsy you stand a greater risk on injuring yourself as things like reaction time and motor function are heavily effected which means form and other things are not going to be the same as when you’re feeling normal. Also, you’re more likely to feel sick and nausea when training after a few drinks.

Also drinking can have many other effects on your performance. One thing consuming alcohol does is make you dehydrated as it draws the water out of your body. This can cause your muscles to tire quicker which causes a decline in your performance. Also, this can affect recovery and wont make the process efficient meaning as well as your performance decreasing you also put yourself at a greater risk of injury. Being dehydrated also puts you at a greater risk of getting cramps when training which can be unpleasant and cause pain and discomfort.



When it comes to keeping fit and building muscle getting rest and time to recover is just as important as training and dieting. Recovering from a hard workout can already be a difficult process for your body and alcohol just makes it more difficult. The main time your body gets to rest, and recover is when you are sleeping, and drinking alcohol can effect the quality of your sleep. This is due to you generally going to bed a lot later and waking up in the middle of the night for water or to go to the toilet. All of these combined reduces the amount of sleep you get which reduces the amount of time your muscles have to repair themselves.

Drinking great quantities of alcohol also has an effect on the hormone balance in your body. The hormones that are going to make a difference to your recovery are the growth hormones like testosterone and these are usually lower in people who consume vast amounts of alcohol. This can decrease the rate you recover and the amount of muscle you will put on, and rates of protein synthesis will also reduce. Water is also needed for muscle recovery and staying hydrated can help with muscle pain after a workout. As alcohol makes you dehydrated then you’re at a greater risk of experiencing pain long after workouts are complete.



Water makes up 70% of your body and staying hydrated is essential for your health. When you are dehydrated your body has to work harder to do simple tasks and an example are your organs like your heart as it has to work harder to pump blood around your body when you’re dehydrated. As you may have already though drinking alcohol causes you to get dehydrated and lose water out of your cells. If you’re not getting enough water, then this can have an effect on your health and fitness. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it is harder for muscles to recover so you will find with heavy alcohol use that your recovery time is longer and it hurts for longer.

When dehydrated you also won’t be able to make good decisions and will find yourself getting anxious and irritated a lot quicker than usual. You also put yourself at a higher risk of injury when training as you won’t be as concentrated in doing the movements.  When you don’t have enough water you body will also find it harder to regulate heat. This can make you feel tired quicker and hot. It may also make you lose more fluid through sweat which will worsen the situation. So another way heavy drinking effects your performance and health is by dehydrating your body so make sure your always consuming enough water and know the symptoms of dehydration.


Its not all bad

Like many people you might enjoy a drink once in a while and we believe you will be delighted to know that drinking occasionally has little side effects on health and fitness and can also be healthy in some cases. Moderate alcohol use can decrease the chances of developing heat disease. This is due to alcohol raising the levels of LDL which is also known as good cholesterol. Some alcoholic drinks can also lower HDL which is the bad cholesterol responsible for many health issues like heart disease and clogged arteries which can restrict the blood flow to the rest of your body. Moderate alcohol use is on average around one drink a day.

Have the occasional drink can also protect you from certain cancers and reduce your risk of diabetes. With all of that said this only applies to moderate alcohol use and if you have a medical condition or are taking medication then you should consult a doctor or medical professional before consuming any alcohol as you don’t want this to have a negative reaction with the medicine.


Overall, if you’re trying to keep fit or are an athlete then drinking isn’t a good idea to drink alcohol as it has an effect on your overall athletic performance as well as other things in your body. Drinking is the most common recreational way to spend your time and have a good time so it can be difficult not to drink. In this instance its better to still drink but not too much. If your drinking alcohol everyday, then this isn’t good and you should cut down to only a few times a week or occasionally on weekends.