I am a bourbon guy. I love trying new bourbons, and I have several that I enjoy drinking. I used to have 1 glass of bourbon 3-4 nights a week. I’ve had issues limiting myself to drinking one Manhattan a night.
I still enjoy a good Blanton’s or Woodford Double Oaked occasionally. I have, however, cut back significantly once I realized the effects it was having on my body, and my ability to improve my health.
A while ago, I went on a 21-day nutrition challenge and didn’t drink for 3 weeks. It wasn’t that hard to do but the results were very eye-opening.
- I slept like a rock on a log every night, best ever.
- I didn’t feel as sore from workouts anymore
- I lost 9lbs. in 3 weeks
After these results, I did a little more digging to find out why these things happened. I had a pretty good diet already before I did the challenge. The biggest change I made was the reduction of alcohol I drank each week.
Here’s what I learned.
Alcohol hijacks your metabolism. It stops the body from using fat for fuel, increases inflammation in pretty much every system in your body, and causes dehydration.
All of these things lead to weight gain, slower muscular recovery, poor sleep quality, and an overall reduction in your ability to use fuel (body fat or ketones) and perform well.
Alcohol turns into Acetate. Acetate forces itself into the front of the metabolic fuel line and won’t let your body burn anything else for fuel. No more fat burning for you. Acetate is also linked as a contributor to hangovers.
Alcohol decreases hormones that build muscle tissue and increases hormones that break muscle tissue down. if you are trying to gain lean mass by eating more protein and increasing the amount of resistance training you are doing, alcohol does the opposite of the work your doing.
The two main hormones that you need to build muscle are IGF-1 and testosterone. Alcohol suppresses both.
Do you know what else alcohol does? It raises cortisol. Yup, that cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone, associated with chronic inflammation and all the various issues that presents.
Lastly, alcohol has been shown to inhibit your body’s ability to break down estrogen. So, you end up with more estrogen in your system at the same time as you slow down testosterone production.
Alcohol tricks the brain into falling asleep fast then keeps poking it all night so you wake up more tired… Get more details here https://www.dreams.co.uk/sleep-matters-club/the-science-behind-why-alcohol-is-bad-before-bed/
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you should cut out alcohol altogether. I do suggest you evaluate your consumption and see for yourself what effect making some changes could have on how your fitness and health improves.
I haven’t even mentioned the caloric, sensitivity, or ingredient issues involved with different kinds of alcoholic beverages, beers, mixed drinks etc,…. This is a whole different rabbit hole that is often overlooked. Everything we put into our bodies plays a role in our health. Many people discount the importance alcohol can have.