Alcohol has become part of how we socialise and relax. When consumed in moderate amounts, it can be generally accepted as part of a balanced diet. However, at increased quantities, alcohol can have detrimental affects on your health and well-being.
What is a unit and how many should I be drinking?
+ 1 unit of alcohol = 10 ml of pure alcohol+ Alcoholic drinks will have “ABV”, “vol” or “alcoholic volume” written on their packaging. This indicates percentage of the volume of the drink that is made up of pure alcohol.+ You can calculate how many units a drink has from knowing its ABV % and the size of the drink. e.g. large glass (250ml) of 12% wine = 250ml x 0.12 = 30 ml of pure alcohol = 3 units.
+ It is recommended that men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
+ Drinking alcohol should be spread over three days or more. Don’t “save up” your units till the weekend.
How will alcohol affect my goals and training at CP+R?
+ 1g of alcohol = 7kcal – this is nearly twice the amount of calories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrate. Additionally, you must consider any mixers you add to your drinks.
+ Body composition – proteins enable muscle growth/repair, fats are vital for hormone production and carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy. However, alcohol serves no real purpose for your body. It can’t be stored in the muscles as energy so has to be stored as fat.
+ Energy levels – If you train the day after drinking, your body is still trying to metabolise the alcohol in your system thus it’ll be more difficult to remove lactate and other toxins produced through exercise. This means your strength/power is likely to be reduced and you are more likely to tire quicker.
+ Blood glucose levels – alcohol interferes with your ATP production. ATP is the energy formed by the body and is used during muscle contraction. Alcohol disrupts glucose production by the liver causing a decrease in blood sugar. This results in cravings for sugary foods often leading to a ‘binge’ on bad food.
+ Dehydration – arginine vasopressin is a hormone which helps to prevent water loss from the body by reducing urine output and enabling your kidneys to re-absorb water into the body. When we drink alcohol, it inhibits this hormone thus leading to dehydration. If you then exercise following a night of drinking, you will further decrease your hydration due to sweating.
+ Try to have at least 3 alcohol-free days per week.
+ At social events, you can make it appear like you are drinking by taking small, infrequent sips, therefore drinking slower.
Moving between groups of people means no one will track your drinking.
+ If you have had a heavy drinking session, try to avoid alcohol for at least 48 hours.
+ Try to drink with meals as you will tend to drink less and it also puts a time frame on when you are drinking.
+ Avoid using alcohol as a way to relieve stress. Find other methods of stress relief such as exercise, talking to a friend on the phone or listening to music.