Alcohol and MX

The Holidays are here.  That means lots of food and drinks.  Yea, alcoholic drinks. This time of year is hard enough to get through with a healthy diet for racing, but alcohol just throws in an extra curve ball.  With anything in training, moderation is pretty important.  The more you try to avoid it, the more you will “splurge” drink when you finally get it.

Here are a few things to remember when the bottoms go up:

–          In one of my previous articles about the importance of sleep, I showed the importance of sleep for athletes.  At first, alcohol can put you to sleep, but the deep sleep needed is interrupted by the alcohol.  Not only this, but alcohol can reduce your immune system’s power and if you are injured, it can actually take longer for you to heal up with alcohol in your body.

–          Cancels out your workouts.  Over a long period of time, it can diminish long term protein synthesis and deter muscle growth.

–          Waking up hung over means you are dehydrated and this is often associated with headaches, nausea, and weakness.  This dehydration can go back to recovery from your workouts.  The dehydration impairs the body’s ability to heal itself.  Not only is the body depleted of water, but nutrients are pushed out too.

–          One New Zealand study actually found that reaction time was reduced even after 60 hours of heavy drinking.

Now, this is pretty negative.  However, IF YOU ARE OF AGE AND ABOVE 21, then a few drinks during the Holidays is not going to kill your training.  Like I said, moderation is important.  As long as you aren’t getting drunk before a race, you should be okay.  To offset the dehydration, drink plenty of water throughout the night.  Be smart about it and you’ll make it through the Holiday season healthier than you think.

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Posted on Dec 16 2009, under Nutrition | No Comments »

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