There's way to many "booze or weed, which one affects exercise more?", and "is drinking 5 days a week going to hurt my gains?" threads out there, so just keep all of this stupid topic posted in this thread. It's just contributing to the pollution of this forum. Now I'll add in my $0.02
Do you know how alcohol affects exercise?
If you enjoy a "tall cool one" after a workout, you're hardly alone. Drinking alcohol is not only an accepted part of the American lifestyle (about 70 percent of adults drink regularly averaging 2.7 gallons of alcoholic beverages a year), it's also closely tied to sports and outdoor physical activity.
Alcohol ads target viewers of football, basketball, and other sporting events. Dozens of former athletes endorse different brands of beer. Television advertisements are filled with images of young, healthy people playing sports and then downing a few.
Do you know how alcohol affects exercise? Is beer a good post-game replacement fluid? Does the occasional drink cause you any harm?
We may like the taste of Chablis or the way a few beers make us feel, but alcohol is detrimental to many aspects of physical activity. Initially it may make us feel less inhibited, more stimulated and "ready to party".
The good feeling, though, is fleeting - alcohol actually works as a depressant.
Furthermore, it has no significant beneficial effect on any organ of the body. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, alcohol will not improve muscular work capacity and may impede athletic performance.
The intoxicating ingredient is ethanol, a chemical compound that originates from the fermentation of grains. From the moment it enters the body ethanol receives special treatment. It rapidly diffuses from the walls of the stomach into the circulatory system and then to the liver or brain. Since the liver can handle only a small amount of alcohol at any one time, the rest goes directly to the brain.
The effects of alcohol on the brain are felt quite rapidly especially if the stomach is empty; food may lessen the pace of absorption. Alcohol first affects the brain's frontal lobes, the reasoning centers, sedating the inhibitory nerves. Higher levels of alcohol then affect the centers of speech, vision, motor control and eventually consciousness.
What other effects does alcohol have on the body?
There are many other effects on the body. In the stomach, alcohol causes oversecretion of acid and histamine leading to inflammation (gastritis) and ulcer formation. It has a direct toxic effect on brain cells, causing a few to die each time alcohol is ingested.
Alcohol also causes inflammation of the liver cells, even in occasional users, which can be detected in blood tests that show an increase in release of enzymes from the liver. In some people, long-term drinking leads to cirrhosis, irreversible scarring of the liver.
Other serious consequences include alcoholism and drunk-driving accidents, and it is a major cofactor in date rape and unprotected sexual activity.
If you want to drink without experiencing the unpleasant effects of overconsumption, moderate your drinking or intersperse your drinks with nonalcoholic beverages to lessen dehydration.
Depending upon body size, it can take one to two hours to metabolize one drink. A 12-ounce beer; 4 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of hard liquor each contain about .5 ounce of alcohol, approximately the amount your body is capable of processing in one hour.
Decide on a limit and stick to it. Inability to stick to your limit may be a sign that you are not able to control your drinking. Make a commitment to drive and ride sober. If you are a member of a team, set team limits for alcohol consumption, such as no alcohol for 48 hours before competition.
Speak out if someone else's drinking is worrying you. If your life is affected by a personal or family drinking problem, seek help from Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar organization.
A Few Myths About Alcohol
1. Alcohol is a good source of calories.
False. Alcohol is a highly concentrated source of calories containing 7 calories per gram (compared to 4 cals/g for protein and carbohydrates and 9 cal/g for fat). These calories are utilized by the body mainly for heat production and are not converted to glycogen, the main fuel for muscle activity.
All of the calories in alcohol are "empty" calories; alcohol does not contain any appreciable amounts of vitamins or minerals, and it overloads the liver's metabolic pathways. The liver diverts calories into making fat, which is then stored in the liver before being carried away to permanent storage sites. Fat accumulates in the liver after a single night of heavy drinking.
Furthermore, alcohol is often mixed with high-calorie mixers and consumed along with snacks of high caloric density such as chips, dips and nuts. Frequent drinkers can add unwanted pounds easily. If you're drinking and dieting, its hard to stay within the calorie boundaries and still get proper nourishment.
2 Alcohol is a good source of B vitamins.
False. Alcoholic drinks contain only negligible amounts of vitamins. Eleven cans of beer will provide the daily allowance of B2 (riboflavin), which is better obtained from breads and cereals.
In fact, alcohol acts to displace vitamins from the body. First it causes intestinal cells to stop absorbing thiamin, folacin and B12. Liver cells lose their efficiency in activating vitamin D. Kidneys excrete an increased amount of magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc, robbing your body of stores of these essential minerals.
3 Alcohol is a good fluid replacement.
False. Alcohol is a diuretic, a substance that causes greater loss of fluids (and minerals and electrolytes) than it contains. Alcohol decreases production of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), the brain hormone that regulates fluid balance.
This causes increased urination, water loss, dehydration and loss of essential minerals. Since you urinate more, drinking alcohol may make you think you are well hydrated. But it is a forced loss of fluid in greater amounts than you are drinking.
If you drink alcohol before or after exercise, be sure to also drink adequate amounts of a nonalcoholic, decaffeinated beverage to make up for the forced fluid loss.
4 A few drinks won't impair athletic performance.
False. The brain will not function as quickly nor the muscles as skillfully with alcohol on board. Many studies have shown that even a small amount of alcohol can impair psychomotor skills, reaction time, hand-eye coordination, visual tracking, arm steadiness, balance and alertness. The more you drink, the worse your performance will be.
Alcohol can accentuate exercise fatigue by increasing lactic acid production. It also dilates blood vessels and diverts circulation to the skin. In cold climates, this can impair thermoregulation and lead to increased risk of hypothermia. In hot climates, it can increase sweating and lead to further dehydration.
Consuming alcohol the night before an activity can hinder your performance by causing dehydration and loss of minerals and electrolytes. And a bad hangover can make even the simplest task seem monumental.
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