Young athletes are often exposed to alcohol. While some think it is perfectly okay to drink, others are afraid that they are hurting their athletic performance. Some people swear by their strict no-alcohol routine, while others seemingly drink all the time with no worries. In the end, it is of course up to you if you are going to drink or not. That's why it's important to know all the facts. Here are five reasons why alcohol may be hindering your athletic performance though.
When you drink alcohol, you are taking in empty calories. Alcohol does not offer any nutrients or essential vitamins and is one of the densest forms of calories in the world. Some athletes can drink all they want and not gain weight while others have to stay on a strict diet to keep their ideal weight. As you get older, it becomes more difficult to keep the weight off and to stay in shape. Remember, if you do drink, watch your alcohol intake as you may be taking in way too many empty calories.
Athletes must be hydrated at all times. Not only should you be hydrated while playing a sport, you should be hydrated on days you are not playing or practicing. Adequate water (more than 8 full glasses a day) is essential to the health of your body; as it helps keep the joints and muscles healthy while also keeping us energetic. If you do drink, you should counteract your drinking with a lot of water drinking. In reality, on days you are performing, you should avoid alcohol at all costs.
There is a link between alcohol and testosterone levels. Testosterone helps the body recover from workouts and helps you gain muscle. If you are a moderate drinker, you may not suffer any consequences in regards to testosterone, but if you drink heavily, you may see a massive drop, which will likely hinder your short and long term athletic abilities.
If you drink before working out, you are going to suffer. When you exercise with alcohol in your system, your body is not going to produce enough lactic acid. By not producing enough lactate, your athletic performance is going to be seriously hindered. Your body will respond negatively with muscle pain and even cramps.
If you are an athlete, you should be getting a good night's rest every night. By sleeping well, you will rebuild muscle, keep a high testosterone level and have enough energy to get through any day. Most people don't realize that alcohol hinders their sleep schedule. In reality, your sleep schedule is going to suffer. If you do consume alcohol, minimize your drinking and do it earlier in the day (a couple beers with dinner, rather than before bed), as it will have time to leave your body.
Almost every adult enjoys alcohol, but if you're a serious athlete, you should consider removing alcohol from your diet. At the very least, keep consumption to moderate levels. If you are not a serious athlete, you will probably not notice an enormous difference in your performance. Anyone wanting to be in excellent shape can enjoy a beer now and then. All things in moderation :)
Becka Granier writes about health and nutrition. Her recent work is on various Online Master's in Healthcare Degrees.