Alcohol Intake and Resistance Exercise

Although there is reported retorts by the up-coming Millennial Generation in regards to the consumption of alcohol, there is no doubt the substance has a huge cultural significance in Australian society – for better or worse.
Celebrating?
Commiserating?
Socialising?
Appreciating?
Procrastinating?

I’m sure many readers have done it all! But I am also well aware that many of my readers are also athletes, weekend warriors or at the very least trying to include some kind of physical activity into their day or week. So in todays article we take a quick look at how alcohol ingestion after resistance exercise affects the body.

The Testosterone Hormone serves an important role in the adaption to resistance training and is responsible for the stimulating of intramuscular up-take of amino acids and synthesis of muscle protein.
During rest the ingestion and subsequent intoxication of alcohol can lead to the suppression of testosterone concentration for several hours. Therefore,

Resistance training image

it was surprising to read that ethanol ingestion post-resistance exercise was associated with an increase in serum testosterone levels within the body – which is a good thing right?

Wrong!

The following key findings explain why this is not as positive as it sounds:

  • Chronic alcohol intake was found to prevent resistance training induced increases in androgen receptor content of type I fibres and decrease androgen receptor content in type IIB fibres.
  • The ingestion of ethanol post-resistance training substantially increases free testosterone or testosterone serum concentrations during recovery.
  • Alcohol ingestion suppresses the anabolic response of skeletal muscle that may lead to impaired recovery and adaption.

What can be taken away from these major findings is the fact that although the ingestion of alcohol post resistance exercise may increase the level of serum testosterone in males, it also reduces the ability of the body adapt and recover, possibly leading to a reduction in performance. Furthermore, with increased testosterone levels comes with the increased clearance of the hormone through the liver via aromatase, inferring that the testosterone being made available is not necessary being utilised efficiently.

The most important priority after any training session, be it a single program or periodised training schedule should be recovery through hydration, fuelling (food) and rest. There are a number of topics this article doesn’t look into in relation to alcohol and sport including; sleep interference, dehydration, vitamin and mineral excretion – all important for recovery from training. This may be looked into further down the track.

Until Next Time

 

Jackson McCosker
Director/ Chief Editor

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