Why (Excessive) Drinking Can Eff-Up Your Training Progress

It’s the middle of the week and you’re on vacation heading to STL. Why? Because it’s cheap, you bought Groupons and you need to get the heck outta dodge!! You’re away from the stress at work, or the Bloominton-Normal traffic after 4 pm, or the noisy neighbors the poodle you want to punt across the street  for not letting you nap in the afternoon(*note: I love dogs. I have one. She’s a chocolate-Labrador and her name is Fanny Mae. Mae for short.*). You get there and you enjoy the city and all it’s awesomeness: massage, booze, food, walks around town, booze, the City Museum, booze outside of the restaurant….you get the idea.

Monday comes and you know you’ve got to hit it hard in the gym…

Yeah, right.

I’m pretty sure reading all this you’re probably guessing I know this all too well. Yeah, I sure do. And it happened this week.

alcohol and exercise family guy


What can I say, it was vacation-which rarely happens-and I enjoyed myself. Apparently a bit too much. Went to go and squat this past Monday, and boy was it rough. Even the warm-up sucked.  After my last set of 5 x 8, I pretty much passed out from the heat-but definitely from having too much fun. After a few days of not having a drink, downing water like it’s the last thing on earth, and eating-better-I feel totally different and stronger.

I realize I’m the trainer and this could probably ruin my credibility a bit, but I’m not ashamed to fully admit to living a little…OK a little more than just a little. Sheesh.

However, it is my personal experience that prompted me write this article. To many of us fitness-enthusiast out there, this is common sense. On the other-hand, some that are new to this workout-thing are missing the boat on some of the reasons why their gain’s aren’t….gaining.

While there are plenty of stories and studies out there to tell you why booze and exercise don’t mix, written in this article, a study explains,

“Alcohol can’t be stored as energy in the muscles (since it’s not a nutrient), so it’s stored as fat instead.” 

This makes total sense. I am known for telling my clients that the body works extra hard to get alcohol out of it’s system. So having that-on top of too much of it- and with all the other amazing thing’s the body is trying to do to make it better, it’s going to push back the timing of your results. However, I’m here to tell you that cutting ALL of it out, might not be necessary.

A new study found that “red wine can boost testosterone.” As written about  in this article,

” An enzyme called UGT2B17 attaches specific molecules to testosterone, enabling your body to get rid of it. But researchers at Kingston University in London found that quercetin—a compound in red wine—blocks UGT2B17 in lab studies. That means potentially elevated T levels in your bloodstream, and less in your urine.

What whaaaaaat!!!! Sweet! I’m gonna get jacked drinking wine! Hopefully I’ll look like Arnie.

"muscle-building-alcohol" that's what the caption said on Google. Not kidding.
“muscle-building-alcohol.” That’s what the caption said on Google. Not kidding.

However, the study isn’t conclusive. It goes on to say,

“This is a classic example of a study done in a test tube that potentially might have implications for humans, but there are many steps that need to be taken to see if these findings can be translated to humans,”- Michael Joyner, M.D., an exercise researcher at the Mayo Clinic

The study may carry some potential, it’s better to be safe and keep wine-in this case- to a minimum of 1-2 drinks a day for males. Typically 1 for the ladies (ideally).


Pretty much felt like this guy...
Sometimes, working hard doesn’t mean you get to party harder. If you’re serious about your goals, alcohol consumption should be limited and not necessarily canceled out. At the same time it’s imperative to know how your body feels during your training. Maybe it’s beer. Maybe it’s vodka-or wine that makes you feel like crap no matter how much of it. For me it’s beer and I try to stay away from it when I train seriously for a meet. In fact, I try to stay away from it all. But there is a means to an end.

Everyone has stress and has a way to go about reducing it. For some it’s going to the gym to get a good sweat or go out for a run-or maybe have a drink or two. Moral of the story is there is such a thing as having TOO MUCH of anything. Food, alcohol, exercise, even sex*just kidding*. We all need moderation-but even moderation needs moderation. Just be smart about what you do when you intend to have fun.

For me, I know next time that I need to limit myself because my goals are that important to me. It’s about sacrifice. I realize when I don’t drink I feel the best. I do, however, have a social life and sometimes having one or two can make the best of times. It’s all about what’s important to you? Is it worth not binge drinking for a weekend? Is it worth not drinking at all for X-amount of time? That’s entirely up to you. No matter what, you’re responsible for your actions.

Be smart. Have fun. Train hard. And especially don’t drink and drive.