Will a Drink of Liquor Increase Energy Before Weight Training? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Will a Drink of Liquor Increase Energy Before Weight Training?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Alcohol is a depressant that negatively affects exercise.
  • Alcohol limits the metabolism of several substances.
  • Alcohol also impairs your focus and judgment.

In an effort to increase energy when exercising, some may wonder if a small shot of liquor increases energy before weight training.

After all, when we drink don’t we feel more awake and alert?

The answer to this is a strong no! While we may feel more alert when we drink, alcohol is a depressant that can have several negative side effects when combined with working out.

When you are lifting weights your body’s hydration, focus, and protein synthesis need to be at their peak. Alcohol negatively impacts all of these processes. Not only is alcohol bad for you immediately before a workout, but when you have been drinking heavily a night or two before working out, it will still have an impact.

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What Are the Negative Effects of Working out While Under the Influence?

Even if you do not feel drunk, a small amount of alcohol, such as the quantity contained in a can of beer or one shot glass, will impact your ability to complete your workout.

Alcohol limits the metabolism of several substances in the body including carbohydrates. When carbohydrates are not metabolized properly, glucose production and uptake are limited.

Muscles that do not have enough glucose can experience several problems:

  • Fatigue sets in much sooner
  • Endurance, strength, and speed are all impacted
  • Muscle recovery is much more difficult and takes more time
  • You become exhausted more quickly during your next work out, even if you have not had any additional alcohol

In addition to the problems alcohol causes with metabolism and glucose production, drinking alcohol causes dehydration.

When you are working out you want to increase hydration, and never want to exercise while dehydrated. Dehydration will decrease your performance by 10 to 20 percent or more.

A drink with just four percent alcohol (a typical wine cooler or light beer) or more can cause the body to lose three percent more body fluid in a four hour period as compared to someone who has not consumed any alcohol. Check out the video below for more information on alcohol and how it hinders gym performance:

Alcohol causes an increase in your heart rate. For some time, it was thought that due to this fact a small amount of alcohol consumed before working out was helpful for losing weight.

We now know that this is not the case.

A heart rate raised through alcohol consumption and not through natural means such as cardio exercise will lead to increased cardiovascular strain and fatigue. Once again, when you drink before working out, you will become exhausted much more quickly.

Finally, alcohol impairs your level of focus and judgment. Just one drink can be the difference between lifting and holding onto a large barbell or dropping it to the floor.

Whether you are weightlifting with free weights or machines, you and those around you are at a much greater risk for injury when alcohol is in the mix.

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Does Alcohol Impact My Workout Plan in Other Ways?

Whether you are taking that shot just prior to working out or you are drinking heavily a few evenings a week, you will find that alcohol will impact your ability to meet your fitness goals in several ways.

Besides impacting your performance during your workout itself, alcohol can have many negative side effects that we often do not consider:

  • Alcohol contains many empty calories. If you are working out to lose weight, drinking alcohol will not help you reach that goal
  • In addition to containing all of those calories, alcohol in the body will slow fat loss by slowing down your metabolism
  • Alcohol depletes the body of crucial vitamins and minerals

If you are a man with a goal of increasing muscle size and bulking up, alcohol will make this difficult. It increases the amount of estrogen in the body, a female hormone which impacts the amount of muscle you can gain.

What Does That Small Shot of Alcohol Do to My Workout?

If you are starting a weight lifting or other exercise plan, alcohol will not help you reach your workout or fitness goals, whether they are losing weight, staying physically fit, or gaining muscle mass.

Drinking even small amounts of alcohol prior to lifting weights will not only decrease your ability to benefit from your workout, it can be dangerous.

Drinking alcohol excessively when you are following an exercise regimen will impact your ability to meet your goals. so keep the drinking in moderation and you will find much greater success.

In addition to proper hydration and nutrition, a proper exercise program is beneficial to achieving your goals. Go PRO today to get more out of your workouts!

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