You are a weightlifter. Or, you’re considering becoming one. If either of these are true, there may be on question in the back of your mind: can I share a social drink with my friends at the bar? Everyone has different opinions on whether or not you should, or how much is okay. But here is a general, safe guideline to follow.
Avoid it if possible. If you want to be serious about weightlifting, this is a habit to avoid. Drink water or soda (though still not best for you), but steer clear beer, wine, cocktails, and other alcoholic beverages. Why is this? These are some of the negatives effects you may feel from drinking while pursuing a weightlifting regimen:
Can I Drink If I Weightlift?
When alcohol hits your kidneys, your body sends water to your kidneys to help process the alcohol. Do you know where that water should be? Processing and creating energy during your workout! Even if you’ve had a drink within the last two days, it’s still affecting your kidneys and hydration. This can be a serious detriment to your workout, so think before you drink.
Lack of Motivation
alcohol intake will actually slow your metabolism of glycogen. If you have no clue what that is, it’s what produces “energy” for the brain to function and run. If you aren’t using the correct amount of glycogen, you feel unmotivated, don’t think as quickly on your feet, and have a lack of energy to do your workout. This is not only a drag when you’re at the gym, but it can be dangerous if your mind isn’t focused when working with weight lifting equipment.
Slowed Protein Synthesis
protein synthesis, also known as anabolism, is the process of absorbing protein into your body. When you have a protein heavy meal, anabolism absorbs the protein to help grow your muscles to their fullest. Alcohol, however, slows the process down severely. That’s less protein in, and less muscle as a result.
Decrease in Cardiovascular Efficiency
we all know what the cardiovascular system does. It includes your heart and is the system that pumps and delivers blood throughout your body. Some people believe alcohol actually helps the cardiovascular system since it thins the blood, meaning your heart has to work less. But this will negatively affect your workout since your muscles won’t be able to recover as quickly in between repetitions and sessions.
These are all effects any serious weightlifter will want to avoid. Plus, an average bottle of beer has approximately 140 calories. A 200 pound man running at 8 miles per hour for 15 minutes will only burn about 320 calories. See how some social drinking can add up the calories quick? You’ll end up spending the first part of your session burning off last night’s trip to the bar before you can get to serious business.
Of course, many disagree. They say it’s okay to drink while weightlifting. Ask your personal trainer what is best for your body and goals and stick to whatever he or she says. These are professionals who know what works and what doesn’t. Good luck and good training.