The Truth About Alcohol
Alcohol is a widely consumed substance that is often viewed as a way to unwind and socialize with friends. However, while it may provide temporary relief from stress and enhance social interactions, the long-term effects of alcohol can be hazardous to our health and well-being. The dangers of alcohol are not always well-understood, and it can be easy to overlook the negative impact that it can have on our lives.
In this blog, we at Bar None Fitness Studio will be talking about the truth about alcohol.
Alcohol inhibits the dream stage of sleep
The dream stage of sleep is also known as our REM sleep, which is the mentally restorative stage. However, when our body is “sedated” with alcohol, our bodies work extra hard to process the alcohol as we sleep. Now we are unable to reach these restorative stages of sleep, and instead, our light sleep is increased. This may not seem terrible, but the result is that you could sleep for quite a long time after drinking and still wake up not feeling rested or recovered. Alcohol seems like it would be a good sleep aid, but it’s truly not. The important deep sleep and REM stages of sleep are missed or barely attained due to the drinks you had that day/night, so you physically and mentally just won’t be restored.
Alcohol kills our workout, even post-workout drinks do!
Firstly, we know that drinking the day or night before a workout will impact our recovery and prevent our body from taking on the strain it could normally sustain and grow from.
But the second part of this is even more surprising and far less known. When you drink after your workout, you will likely see NO fitness gains from the workout you just did that day!
All the good stuff, the gains, the strength building, the increased fat burning, and the “disturbance” you created from a workout actually happen after the workout. With exercise, we cause micro tears in our muscles, and they mostly repair themselves during sleep. We particularly need slow-wave sleep, when 95% of our natural human growth hormone is produced, to accomplish this muscle regeneration. But this restorative sleep is halted once we have consumed alcohol, so these important processes are marginally occurring. Never mind trying to maximize our exercise sessions. We’re making them useless in a big way.
Alcohol halts fat burning
The body treats alcohol like a toxin/poison. So while you are metabolizing alcohol, you are also shutting down all your other metabolic pathways to focus on getting rid of the alcohol. This slowing of fat burning lasts for 12 to 36 hours, depending on how much you had to drink and the individual. Now pair that with some less-than-desirable food choices while drinking, and it’s easy to pack on a few pounds here and there. So if your goals are to lose fat, you’re definitely not helping yourself here. All these little things in our lifestyle add up to larger, more measurable results. And this works both ways! Make many little positive lifestyle changes, and they will add up to the kind of big results you want to see!!
Alcohol causes our HRV to drop
HRV (heart rate variability) is a measure of your autonomic nervous system that is widely considered one of the best objective metrics for physical fitness and determining your body’s readiness to perform.
It is literally the variance in time between the beats of your heart. So if your heart beats sixty times in one minute, it’s not actually beating once every second. There could be 0.9 seconds or 1.15 seconds between beats, for example. And the greater variability between heartbeats, the more ready your body is to exercise. So a higher HRV would indicate that your body is ready to take on a good workout session!
Now, guess what alcohol does to our HRV —Yupp, it decreases it. And not only does it decrease it for the next day, because I’m sure we would expect a hangover workout to suck anyways, but it also decreases our HRV for up to FIVE days. Yicks! Almost a week of workouts gone, and that is the real result of having even one drink.
Alcohol increases our RHR —which is also bad
RHR (resting heart rate) is a measure of our average heartbeats per minute while we are at rest. A lower RHR is an indication of good health, as it tells us that our heart is strong and can pump out a greater amount of blood with each beat, so it doesn’t have to beat as frequently. As a result, our heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the muscles, and our fitness improves. Now how does alcohol affect all of this?
A single drink is shown to increase your RHR by an average of three beats per minute. Respiratory rate increases, sleep sucks, and now your heart has to work much harder at rest. Never mind in a workout in the next four to five days because we know that even a single drink hasn’t just affected us negatively for one day, but up to five!
I know it seems like I just gave you every reason not to drink, but hey, if going out for some drinks makes you happy, you should do that! Maybe knowing what you’re doing to your body will at least make you think twice about drinking daily. Everything in moderation is the key. Elimination is not, and it’s not necessary. But knowledge is power! And now you know why we, as trainers, say drinking isn’t the best for your body!
If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Burlington, ON, reach out to Bar None Fitness Studio. Our mission is to optimize your life through exercise, nutrition, and positive energy! Our facility is one that is dedicated to welcoming EVERYBODY - regardless of your age or fitness level! Our friendly studio setting offers private one-on-one training sessions that work with YOUR schedule, with none of the crowds, wait times, and intimidation often associated with “big box” gyms! We are passionate about health and fitness and have a contagiously enthusiastic attitude when it comes to helping you think positively, feel confident, and achieve your goals!
We offer services like personal training, online personal training, and holistic nutritional planning and coaching to clients across Burlington, Brampton, Brantford, Cambridge, Guelph, Halton Hills, Hamilton, Mississauga, Milton, and Oakville, ON.
Get in touch with us today!