How does alcohol affect strength training? Fitness trainers answer the most Googled questions

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How does drinking alcohol impact your training? Stylist Strong trainers have answered the most Googled strength and fitness questions. 

What did you do this weekend? Most of us were out celebrating Halloween/Bonfire Night/Saturday over a few glasses of wine, a gin and tonic or two, or a winter cocktail. But alcohol isn’t only reserved for weekends. There’s Thursday night office drinks, that Wednesday evening catch-up with a friend and even a cheeky Monday wine as a reward for getting through the worst day of the week.

Unfortunately, our love of a drink often comes with consequences. More than just a slightly groggy head the next day, alcohol can impact your training and fitness goals. 

Each week, three trainers from Stylist Strong, Stylist’s fitness brand that runs strength training classes focused on incorporating weights into fitness, answer some of the most asked questions from women who want to get into lifting. This time, they’re teaching us of how alcohol affects our body, training and strength. 

DOES ALCOHOL AFFECT TRAINING?

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

Your body takes about one hour to break down one unit of alcohol. That delays recovery, because your body will be focused on getting the drink out of your system, rather than on rebuilding muscle. If you’re under recovered then your training is going to suffer, and your body’s not going to be in as good of a condition to train well. If you do push yourself to train at the same intensity, you’re more likely to get sick or injured, which is obviously going to delay your training even more.”

ALICE MILLER, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

““I will say I don’t actually drink alcohol myself. I haven’t done for about 16 years, so I’m trying to be as non-biased as I can. While you can have a reasonably balanced lifestyle when you drink, I will always say a life without alcohol is the healthiest. Obviously consuming a lot of alcohol will be like < remove like detrimental to your session like the following day. So if you’re going out on a Friday night and wanted to go to the gym the next day you will not feel as good as you could. It all depends on how much you drink and what kind of alcohol you drink.” 

Can you sweat out a hangover?
Can you sweat out a hangover?

DOES ALCOHOL AFFECT MUSCLE BUILDING?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

Alcohol reduces muscle protein synthesis, the process responsible for adaptation, repair and regeneration of muscle. So yes, muscle growth and muscle recovery is affected by drinking alcohol.”

ALICE MILLER, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“To put it briefly, when alcohol enters your bloodstream it stops your body from performing its main functions because it’s trying to process all that alcohol. So not only are you not recovering well, but in your session the next day you’re going to be very tired and you’re not going to be able to lift as much. In turn, that means less muscle building.”

CAN YOU SWEAT OUT A HANGOVER?

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“I think doing more of an active recovery session is great just to get the body going a bit. It might be good just to jump on a spin bike the next day and cycle it out, but I would always say nothing too intense like Olympic lifting or anything crazy. Just some kind of movement helps though.”

ALICE MILLER, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“I think that’s a saying because when you sweat after you’ve been drinking, you can smell the alcohol. I will say you can train if you like, but if you do exercise just don’t be upset if you can not lift as much as you usually do or you can’t go as hard as you used to. Your whole body will be cooked from having so much alcohol in your system.”

Images: Getty

READY TO START WEIGHT TRAINING?

Stylist Strong is a fitness brand specialising in strength training specifically tailored for women. Our classes are designed to build both physical and mental strength in a smart and informed way.

So, whether you’re a beginner or already have strength-training experience, Stylist Strong has a class to suit you. Come and try our strength-based classes at our own purpose-built studio at The AllBright Mayfair.

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