Alcohol & Exercise


Alcohol is consumed by many people, and for multiple reasons.  Maybe you want to take the edge off, socialize with friends and family, or forget about the work week you just had.  What many people don’t realize is that alcohol severely affects your work out goals and training adaptations.

Alcohol is considered to contain “empty calories,” which means it does not serve your body essential nutrients that it needs.  When your body recognizes that there is alcohol present, it stops metabolizing fat and sugar, and starts metabolizing the alcohol.  This just means that you will burn less fat because your body is busy, “being drunk,” or metabolizing the alcohol instead. 

Alcohol can also lead to the MUNCHIES, which can leave you desiring junk food you wouldn’t normally decide to eat sober, and possibly eating it at a late hour, which is a whole other discussion.

However, alcohol can be beneficial – in small amounts – MODERATION.  For example, having a glass of red wine can reduce stress levels, decrease insulin resistance, and increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol).

Let’s look at serving information of different types of alcoholic beverages:

12 oz. beer = 150 calories & 14g (alcohol) carbs

12 oz. light beer = 100 calories & 11g (alcohol) carbs

1.5 oz. liquor (40% alcohol) = 100 calories & 14g (alcohol) carbs

5 oz. red wine = 125 calories & 16g (alcohol) carbs

5 oz. white wine = 120 calories & 15g (alcohol) carbs

If you are going to drink, drink responsibly.  Do not go overboard.  It is easy to say you will just have one or a couple glasses of wine, but for some, you end up finishing the bottle or 5 drinks down at the bar.  Remember, MODERATION.  More than 0.5g alcohol/kg bodyweight drinks per week can have negative effects such as reduced blood flow to skeletal muscle, dehydration, and reduced testosterone levels (helps build muscle). 

If you do not drink, do not start.