A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed you should completely avoid alcohol after hard workouts or competitions. Alcohol was found to affect athletes’ health in the following ways:
- A significant increase in cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced during periods of high stress. Continuous high release of cortisol can contribute to hypertension, ulcers, accelerated ageing and an impaired immunity.
- A reduction in power output, the rate at which you burn energy.
- Increased oestrogen levels. Alcohol increases the body’s conversion of testosterone to oestrogen, especially in fat cells and can also block the liver from effectively eliminating excessive oestrogen.
- Decrease in cognitive function, reaction time and decision making.
So what’s the best advice? We recommend avoiding alcohol after training or competing since it may erase possible performance gains and delay recovery. If you are planning on drinking, keep the amount small and be sure to rehydrate with water.
Also, the consumption of extra B vitamins and amino acids can help to support the detoxification of alcohol. Alcohol increases the amount of urine in the body, which can easily lead to dehydration. Foods rich in B vitamins include dark green leafy vegetables, lean meat, dairy products, chicken, fish, fortified cereals, seafood, bananas, avocado and legumes.