You booze, you lose


No escape

If you’re one of those blessed people for whom hangovers are but minor blips effortlessly bounded over with a glass of orange juice and a bacon roll, you might think you can sling back the pints in your local on a Friday night and blast through your workout the next day with no problems at all. But you’re wrong…

Cortisol increase

Your body notices when there’s alcohol coursing through your system – even if you don’t. “Alcohol negatively affects the body’s ability to train and, in particular, to recover from exercise,” says Iain Fletcher, senior lecturer in sport biomechanics at the University of Bedfordshire and accredited strength and conditioning coach with the British Olympic Association. “With alcohol consumption the body will increase cortisol production (testosterone’s antagonist) causing a shift in the testosterone-cortisol balance towards muscle breakdown rather then muscle building.” If your training goal is to build muscle then, no matter how fine you feel, boozing the night before severely compromises your ability to make decent gains.

Fear the beer

How much you damage the impact of your training depends on both your favourite tipple and your body type, explains Ray Klerck, Men’s Health‘s fitness adviser. “If you suck back litres of booze – especially beers – you’re imbibing lots of calories, which will make losing the lard a lot tougher,” he says. “This is offset by your training to a large degree – but if you add fat easily then drinking is going to hurt your physique.”

Naturally skinnier guys might get off a little lighter (ha!) after supping a few ales, but no one is spared. “If you’re really serious about looking your best then cut the booze because you simply won’t be as strong,” says Klerck. So, if you really have to get on the sauce, save it for the nights before non-workout days.

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