Hacks and Alcohol

Simple Tips to Enhance Your Training

‘hack’ – a quick tip that will enable people to work out effectively in less time, or to make the workouts they do more effective.
Spread your proteins evenly throughout the day.
Eating approximately 1.8-2.0 grams / kg of body weight per day will ensure full protein consumption for lasting protein synthesis. This is important for faster results, be it muscle gain, weight loss or recovery. This means that for a 60 kg female, you’d be looking at around 120 g proteins per day; Or, 30 g per meal. 30 for breakfast, 30 for lunch, 30 for dinner, 30 post-workout.
Studies show that protein ingested in this manner has superior effects for protein synthesis than chunking the amount in one meal.

– What happens to your body if you get supremely drunk to celebrate after, say, a Tough Mudder event or a similarly intense workout?
Drinking to celebrate a sporting victory, or even a once in a year event like the Tough Mudder, is what most of us do. After all, we’ve worked hard, so we should play hard. Right!
But when it comes to day-to-day training, and our focus on the objective at hand seems to get diverted – at least on the weekend – can we have that cheeky drink, and not feel too guilty about it?

There are a few things that we need to consider before making our own judgments.
1. Calories matter: Though many people believe that calories in and calories out is a poor indicator of weight gain, it is the best we have. Drinking champagne for example is likely to leave us with a 130-calorie surplus. Equivalent to a 15-minute jog. Add a couple of vodka ad cokes and your routine just became obsolete.
2. Alcohol inhibits protein synthesis: While this may not be a factor you’ve come across in your programme, the aim of any good workout plan is to increase the use of protein by muscle in the body (protein synthesis). This process helps aid in recovery and rebuilding of muscle due to micro damage caused through training. Should you choose to have a night out on the town following that hard session, you can kiss goodbye to a large portion of the effects the session had for you. With reports of up to 37% less synthesis occurring with the use of alcohol.

– Can a workout kill a hangover?
With evidence that alcohol can stay in the body for up to 48 hours, it’s worth taking a look at whether or not a good sweat will help you rid yourself of the day after the night before hangover.
Hangovers are caused by several factors: Dehydration, toxins left over from the drinks, and hypoglycemia (due to the effect alcohol has on Blood Glucose Levels).

While exercise is a great way to work up a sweat and rid the body of toxins, it also relies heavily on the body being fully hydrated to begin with. Symptoms may even become worse if you are not properly hydrating during the training bout. That’s not to say you may not feel wonderful afterward. Exercise is an easy way to increase those happy hormones (endorphins). But just be sure to load up on water throughout the day. The best cure for your hangover is going to be time.

– Is it OK to workout if you’ve had a drink, e.g. to have a beer after work with mates, then hit the gym?
Let’s look at all the things alcohol does to your body and its relation to exercise:
1. Dehydration: Alcohol interferes with the mechanism that regulates water in our body. Thus leading to frequent urination and consequently, dehydration.
2. Poor glucose transportation: The body uses glucose for energy. When working out, the most available source of energy is glucose. If you take this away, you have little or no stores for having a half-descent workout. SO why would you bother?
3. Decreased Amino Acid use by muscle: Poor gains from poor decisions
4. Alcohol affects judgment and coordination: alcohol is strongly correlated to injury in sports. When it comes to the safety of those that are in your vicinity, not just yourself, then alcohol needs to be removed from the situation.

The answer then is quite simple. Alcohol has no place in the training room. While it may seem harmless, if you’re out for a drink then that’s where your nights taking you. But if you want to workout, then come focused and clear headed.

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