Trying to find the perfect balance between having fun and keeping fit can be tricky. I’m all for ‘everything in moderation’ but I know that when I really want to look and feel my best, alcohol needs to take a back seat. Here are six ways alcohol can negatively affect your fitness:

1. You’re far more likely to skip your workout:
Let’s be honest, no one wants to work out with a hangover. If you’re feeling under the weather or you’re sleep deprived from a night of drinking you are far more likely to snooze your alarm.

2. You can make poorer food choices:
There’s no denying that nutrition quality decreases when alcohol intake increases. When we lose our inhibitions we can make poorer food choices. Not to mention the day after drinking can often result in unhealthy food choices. When we’re lethargic or experiencing a low mood, we can opt for processed or high sugar/high fat foods that we wouldn’t normally eat.

3. You might be dehydrated:
 Alcohol is a diuretic and excess alcohol consumption can often leave you dehydrated. You might want to sweat it all out the next day but this can cause your already dehydrated body to lose even more fluids. When you’re dehydrated, your heart has to work harder to get your blood flowing, its more difficult for your body to regulate body temperature and your cells can’t synthesize energy as efficiently.  Overall, this can be a serious health risk. 

4. You’ll have less energy:
Alcohol affects the way your body produces energy. When your body is trying to break down alcohol, your liver function is impaired and you can’t produce as much glucose. This can impact your performance, as you’re lacking the energy you need to get through your workout. If you’re regularly lacking in energy, you’re not going to be able to get fitter, faster or stronger.

5. Your reaction times may be slower:

It is definitely not advised to exercise when under the influence of alcohol. Exercising the day after drinking is fine if you’re sober, however it is important to be hydrated and aware that your performance may be hindered. The lingering effects of alcohol can result in slower response times, impairing your performance and putting you at a greater risk of injury.

6. Our Mental Fitness can suffer
Alcohol intake also has a negative impact on your mental fitness. Your willpower, mental state, productivity and decision making can all be impacted by alcohol. The best results come from people who are consistent. Those that drink, particularly those that binge drink, tend to go through waves of being ‘very very good’ and then ‘very very bad.’ We are far better off with good mental and physical fitness and reducing your alcohol intake is a great way to stay on track and feel your best.

READ MORE: How much weight can I lose if I give up drinking?

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.