Is Alcohol Affecting My Fitness?

With the holiday season looming, we think it might be a good time to revisit the age-old question, “How is alcohol affecting my fitness?”. We understand, there is a time and a place for everything! Restriction has never been the name of our game, and we understand that completely omitting alcohol is not realistic for a lot of people. So let’s talk facts. There is research that supports the idea that moderate drinking can be beneficial to the human circulatory system and can protect against type 2 diabetes and gallstones. However, up your dose and you are looking at the risk of liver and heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, increasing your risk of certain cancers, depression, and obesity. But besides the general health benefits and risks, how is it affecting your gains!?


Well, here’s the bad news. Alcohol does basically everything we are trying to avoid when we work out. Enjoying a few drinks on a Friday night doesn’t just make us feel like missing that 9 am work out on Saturday morning. It also affects our hormones and the inflammatory response that happens when we exercise (and not in a good way). Our body has to prioritize – repair and build muscles, or deal with that fun tasting liquid that kept getting poured down the hatch last night?

What else happens?

A whole lot of dehydration. Just what you don’t want when you are about to hit Murph or some other excessively exhausting WOD. If that wasn’t enough, we can’t forget about the actual calories that are consumed when we drink festive beverages (see infographic below). To top it all off, if you’re enjoying a few drinks, chances are you are not choosing grilled chicken and broccoli as a snack. On average, one serving of alcohol is going to put you back about 100-150cals. A couple of drinks can really add up.

How does this affect our fitness levels?
Ever heard the saying you can’t outwork a bad diet? It’s never been truer than in this situation. So what are we saying? You have to give up all parties, only drink water, and never have any fun if you want to be good at CrossFit and have a six-pack? No. What we are saying is that it is important to evaluate your priorities. If going to the Games and having a shredded bod is important to you, then you and sparkling water will likely need to become best friends. But, if you’re cool with a bit slower progress in the gym, and maybe not having the body of a God/Goddess, a few drinks here and there isn’t the end of the world.
Additional Information

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