How Does Alcohol Consumption Affect Recovery?
Drinking, and often binge drinking alcohol after training sessions or competition is prolific in many training groups. Not all drink heavily and not all drink often, but it is common nonetheless. How much can drinking actually impact training recovery though? And in what ways is recovery affected from it? Parr et al. investigated the impact of alcohol on protein synthesis.
In the study athletes were asked to complete a resistance training and afterward ingest a either alcohol, protein, or a combination. The amount of alcohol ingested was 1.5g per kg body weight and 50g of protein. The subjects were then monitored for the next two weeks before beginning the next protocol. The results observed a significant decrease in protein synthesis even when an excess of free amino acids were available post protein ingestion. A decrease in protein synthesis means the muscle cannot rebuild and thus not recover after a training session, not only decreasing the effectiveness of that session, but impacting the performance of successive sessions as well.
Although there is mounting evidence of the negative affect alcohol consumption has on sports performance, it is often difficult to convey to athletes the specific reasons why. This article is just one look into the physiological effect alcohol can have. Although telling athletes they need to stop drinking entirely may not always have success, limiting consumption can still improve the ability of the body to recover after training sessions and competitions.