8 Alcoholic Concerns for Your Physique

If you’ve set a goal to become more fit and lean, then you might want to avoid indulging in too much alcohol.
The “alcohol is bad” agenda is well known to everybody by now and the number of reasons behind it keeps growing. But we’re not here to talk about how mentally damaging alcohol can be. It leads to addiction, clouded judgment, violence, and, unfortunately, it can lead to some physical errors too.

Alcohol Processing

Let’s try first to understand the trajectory that alcohol takes when it’s digested.

It enters the bloodstream at an alarming velocity right after you chug down that glass of wine. As alcohol levels continue to pile up in your bloodstream, it all eventually leads up to an imminent breakdown.

This process is known as alcohol oxidation. The oxidization process vastly affects the liver. This is why so many doctors warn against excessive alcohol consumption for the health of your liver. An enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase does the dirty work of converting alcohol into acetaldehyde. It, in turn, is also transformed into acetic acid. Generally, alcohol is removed from our organism through urine or through breathing. This perfectly explains why a simple chat with someone who’s completely hammered is sufficient to inform you of the state they’re in. Fortunately, as we know, you can’t be drunk forever (even though some of us might want to). Alcohol leaves our system at a pace of 1 unit per hour on an average, though these statistics can fluctuate drastically depending on every individual case. Factors include age, health, sex, weight, etc.

alcoholic concerns

Beverages such as beer, wine, or spirits contain a substance called ethanol. It gets absorbed into our body and completely messes up the normal functioning of our metabolism.

Athletic Pros & Cons

Believe it or not, alcohol isn’t all about the bad things.

In fact, plenty of scientific studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption can bestow the drinker with a horde of benefits, such as:

  • Nerve calming;
  • Inhibition reduction;
  • Pain reduction;
  • Tremor reduction;
  • An increase of mental alertness.

On the opposite end, taking a small leap beyond the recommended limit will result in a bunch of negative effects, such as:

  • Decreases in accuracy, reaction time, and balance;
  • Slowness of visual tracking and information processing;
  • Drops in strength and muscle power, as well as endurance;
  • Dehydration.

How is this happening? How can alcohol consumption completely turn on you when you least expect it? To put it simply, alcohol works as a sense duller. Above everything else, it affects us mentally, especially by seeding illusions and false feelings. An athlete competing on alcohol may be misled by the illusion that they can do all of the positive things previously listed. The reality is that they just end up with the second list pestering them instead.

Another note worth making is the pain reduction benefit. We would say it’s a fifty – fifty in this case, mostly because it does alienate pain, albeit by playing some tricks on your mind. Unfortunately, this could prove to be incredibly dangerous for athletes. Pain in sport is generated mostly by injuries that appear through exercise. By having the ache dulled, you may not be able to correctly determine the severity of the injury. You’ll continue the route, possibly ending up with a worse injury than before.


Let’s talk first about how alcohol consumption during workouts affects the metabolism.

Beverages of the likes of beer, wine, or spirits contain a substance called ethanol. It gets absorbed into our body and completely messes up the normal functioning of our metabolism.

There is a myth that ethanol gets transformed into fat and then deposited on our hips. This theory was debunked a while ago. Alcohol doesn’t directly affect our metabolism by becoming a generic fitness disaster. Rather, it works through a cycle that results in a release of substances that signal to our endocrine system that no fats or sugars need to be burned. In other words, alcohol doesn’t store as fat, but it suppresses the fat-burning process.

When you’re chugging down your favorite vodka right before or during a workout, you are essentially rendering your activity useless. Your brain will be too infected by vapors of booze to realize that it needs to kick some extra fat out of your body. In that sense, alcohol is very similar to protein. If you know how protein works, you might be able to find a way to understand alcohol functions as well.

Hormones and Testosterone

Speaking of myths, there’s a theory that’s been circulating around for quite some time which claims that alcohol intake can cause your testosterone to crash and burn.

We’re not denying it – it’s something that can definitely happen. But you’d need to consume alcohol pretty consistently and heavily if you’re expecting it to happen.

A study was conducted that attempted to uncover the truth behind this whole business. It put under observation men and women who consumed around 40 g of alcohol on a daily basis for a total of three weeks. For an equivalent, let’s just say that means three beers. At the end of the study, researchers discovered that men met a drop in testosterone levels of a measly 6.8%. Women were unaffected. This further solidifies the fact that the real damage only happens when excess is added to the mix. Anything that goes beyond three beers a day is already concerning enough. But, for theoretical purposes, let’s say that you decide to stop at ten beers instead. That totals approximately 120 g of alcohol, which affects testosterone by dropping its levels up to 23%. In other words, if you are worried over the issues that may arise from drinking alcohol when it concerns testosterone levels, just don’t drink yourself into a hospital and you’ll be fine.

alcoholic concerns

Alcohol consumption leads to a release of chain reactions that damage muscle protein synthesis. In other words, its frequent digestion can become a bit of an obstacle on your path to buff up

Muscle Building

Your main concern is probably the effect alcohol has on muscle building, the whole reason you’re weight training to begin with.

Alcohol consumption leads to a release of chain reactions that damage muscle protein synthesis. In other words, its frequent digestion can become a bit of an obstacle on your path to buff up.

To get even more scientific about it, there are a few ways in which alcohol affects muscle building:

  • raises myostatin;
  • decreases post-exercise inflammation;
  • decreases glycogen resynthesis;
  • suppresses exercise-induced mTOR.

Without needing to be a science major to understand all of this, we can easily sum it up by saying that this is bad news for your muscles. To further prove the point, we’ll bring into discussion yet another study. This one aimed to prove the negative impact alcohol consumption can have on muscle training. Matthew J. Barnes gathered some people and gave one-half of them 1 g/kg per person of an alcoholic beverage. The rest of them were treated with fake kid champagne, basically. In other words, no booze for these guys. Both of the groups consumed their vodkas and, respectively, OJ roughly 30 minutes after they had to complete 300 reps for the quads. Up to as much as 60 hours after the workout, both groups weren’t doing that well as far as sore muscles and discomfort were concerned. However, the group that had alcohol struggled even more with muscle hangover. All of the post-workout signs found typically (isometric, concentric, and eccentric contractions) during these time periods were amplified by about 21% compared to the ones who had a refreshing glass of milk.

Fat Storage

Even though we’ve touched on the metabolism issue, we should probably make some mention of the fat storage aspect of this problem.

Do we really gain weight if we drink alcohol? Pretty much, yes.

However, it’s not because of how the alcohol affects our bodies directly. It was believed for a while that, much like protein, alcohol is simply turned into fat rather than energy and stored to bug us all. The important thing we need to focus on is the naïve tendency of your metabolism to prioritize alcohol transformation. This dooms the rest of the substances in the process. If we drink alcohol, consume sugary delights, and eat foods high in protein and/or fats, alcohol shuts the brain off when it comes to oxidization of fats and sugars. This will make our metabolism ignore them altogether. In other words, alcohol is whispering lies to our metabolism and telling it to let the sugars and fats in so they can ruin our lives. It’s too gullible for this world.


We’ve determined that alcohol isn’t exactly your best ally when trying to buff up, but what happens if you’re a professional athlete?

Aside from the illusionary effects listed at the beginning of the article, there are other effects. These are strongly tied in with the biological and chemical damages our favorite liquors can do to us.

One of the main aftermaths of alcohol binging is dehydration, which is a pretty horrible thing to suffer from when you’re trying to perform in sports competitions. It can lead to cognitive and physical imbalances, as well to a general feeling of discomfort. Who doesn’t feel completely “out of the water” when they’re really thirsty? Another effect has to do with bloodstream storage. Our blood and our liver is where most of the alcohol dose gets transported to. Since alcohol tends to make pretty much every function in our bodies prioritize its existence, it continues to do so with the liver too. It focuses on processing the alcohol as opposed to focusing to release natural blood sugars (glucose). Glucose levels drop, and a feeling of weariness and apathy washes over. All of a sudden, you’re not able to go through with that exercise you were previously able to complete in your sleep.

alcoholic concerns

Alcohol isn’t stored as fat in your body. Rather, it halts the fat burning process of the substances that actually are.


Of course, this isn’t all narrowed down to how alcohol affects performance right on the spot.

The most classic effect of a long night of tequila toasting with your friends shows itself the morning after – the much-dreaded hangover. What is it that causes this profoundly unpleasant feeling?

Well, the main explanation can be summed up in one word that just seems to be a constant throughout this article: dehydration. Yet again. It does a lot more than simply kick in fatigue when you’re about to perform. It leads to effects that are greatly amplified through alcohol consumption. When you get drunk, you basically halt the release of vasopressin. This hormone makes use of the water released by the kidneys and puts it back in the game to avoid this specific scenario.

Alcohol doesn’t allow for this hormone release any longer. The water ends up being redirected to the bladder. As a result, the morning after is a mess filled with groans, headaches, thirst, nausea, dizziness, dry nose. And by the way, the body is trying to hydrate itself by borrowing water from your brain. You’re welcome.


Here are the key points that you need to remember at the end of all of this:

  • Alcohol isn’t stored as fat in your body. Rather, it halts the fat burning process of the substances that actually are.
  • Drink too much and you will affect muscle protein synthesis and post-exercise recovery.
  • Alcohol pretty much places a spell on us that tricks us into believing it can amplify our skillset.

About the Author

Mike_JonesMike Jones is a Boston University graduate, with an MS in Mass Communication. He is a full-time writer, passionate about health and wellness. He sometimes writes for HomeRemedyShop.com