Fitness Blog

How Alcohol Affects Your Fitness Regime

It is extremely common this time of year for a bit of over indulgence, both with food and alcohol. People are often aware of their over consumption of fatty and sugary foods, but sometimes less aware of the effect alcohol can negatively have on your fitness and your health.

We know that it's better not to drink than it is to drink. And by no stretch of the imagination am I saying to skip those Christmas parties, or sit in the corner with a tap water at each event. However, by raising awareness of the impact of alcohol, perhaps people will be a little more aware of the choices they make for their liquid consumption over the festive season and beyond.


This is the first point, because it is the most key. Alcohol affects your hydration by encouraging your body to lose excess water; resulting in a dehydrating effect. When we are dehydrated, our body will not perform as well as when we are well hydrated. Even as little as a 2% dehydration will affect your performance, so it is vital that we resist the urge to dehydrate ourselves as much as possible.

Perhaps consider increasing your intake of water during this time of year to prevent the effects of dehydration. Also, when you are out drinking, try alternating your drinks between alcohol and a hydrating option to limit the strain on your body. This should ensure your workout is as effective as ever, even after that office do.


Your metabolism is affected when you drink alcohol, due to the fact that your body is working to break down the toxins consumed. Whilst your body is neutralising your liver, it cannot break down other ingestion as easily, resulting in a slower metabolism. Logically thinking, if you ask a person to do two things at once, they will likely do them slower than if they were doing only one thing at a time, as their attention is divided. This is the same as what we are asking of the liver when we drink alcohol.


During the metabolising process, glycogen is used. This depletes our glycogen reserves, leaving us more susceptible to low blood sugar during a workout, resulting in less energy for your activity. Less energy means a less successful workout.

In addition to these lower glycogen stores, we are also likely to have less carbohydrates available too. Less carbohydrates affects endurance greatly, also leaving us susceptible to binge eating on unhealthy carbohydrates. This over eating can affect our weight control; add that to the calories present in the alcoholic beverage itself and you will see how weight management becomes a lot harder once alcohol is in the equation.


Fatigue, digestive problems, reduced muscle recovery rate, sleeping patterns, hormones and our immunity can also all be affected by over consumption of alcohol, to name but a few.

Why not try adding some soda water to your wine, lemonade to your beer, or just limiting what you drink in some way to suit you over the holidays? Not only will it make you feel and look better over Christmas, it will also make that fitness regime in the New Year so much easier, when you don't have to start so much further back than you were before your break. What better way could there be to start your New Year?

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