For athletes and active people, the reality is alcohol can affect performance in a number of ways:
- Alcohol can delay recovery from soft tissue injuries. Instead of constricting blood flow (the reason for the standard ice and elevation treatment), alcohol dilates the blood vessels meaning a slower recovery.
- Alcohol is a diuretic, making it harder for you to keep hydrated. Even being slightly dehydrated can affect your sporting performance.
- Drinking your calories via alcohol means you miss out on important training fuels, such as carbohydrate.
- Alcohol is high in kilojules. Off season means your training load will decrease meaning you will be buring less calories. This means you need to be more careful of your overall kilojule intake. Alcohol aslo increases your appetite and fat storage, which can add to weight gain over the break .
The off season is an important time to rest and increase strength to put you ahead of other athletes next season It is all well and good to know how a frequent intakes of alcohol can effect you but what can we do about it?
- Schedule in your nights out and events. If you know you have an event on the weekend, that can be a good motivation to ensure you are on top of your nutrition and hydration during the week leading into the event.
- Ensure you do some activity before you are planning on consuming alcohol.
- Ensure you eat well before you go out to prevent binging on snack foods and avoid those late night burger stops.
- Set your self a drink limit. Stay away from rounds and buy your own. Have lime and soda, diet soft drinks or water in between beverages.
- Ensure you are well hydrated before an even or a night out.
- Start the next day with some movement and a good breakfast to get back into a good routine.
Drink Comparison (Kilojoules per drink)