Alcohol and Workouts
Partying and getting in shape shouldn't get in the way of each other.
*BZZZZZRRRR* (drastically well-researched cellphone vibration onomatopoeia)
"The girls and I are going out tonight! Your crush might be there also. Come and party with us!" This text message hits your right pocket while you walk away from a huge workout at your favourite gym. You know it more than anyone else. Alcohol slows down muscle growth and will dehydrate you. But gym was never meant to affect your social life, right? Solutions exist so you can party once in a while without portraying the whole thing as a big fat waste of sweat. Most of us love to party and shouldn't be ashamed of it.
Alcohol takes a huge toll on your liver because of antioxidant depletion. You might want to take supplements with your post-workout shake if you plan on hitting the bars (pun intended). Enzymatic antioxidants are the ones you seek because they have the capability to flush out dangerous oxidative stuff such as alcohol by turning it into water, then into urine. Acetylcysteine is something you might want to buy if you plan on going out often after working out (consider asking a doctor before starting the intake). But that won't make you A1 the day after the night before.
Some studies from Penn State showed that alcohol can make it harder for your body to synthesize proteins, although it's a lot worse 24 hours after drinking. Maybe you can try to schedule your nights out according to this.
But then, just then, we have to remember alcohol is fermented sugar at some point. So basically, we are dealing with carbs. It all depends on what you plan on drinking. Beer for example contains a lot less alcohol compared to the volume of actual liquid you drink (alcohol %) but are much more caloric than other drinks (and oh boy, those calories are terrible). You might also be tempted to drink more of them because they won't hit as hard as stronger drinks which will cause drastic dehydration.
Again, a recent study published in PLoS ONE found a link between whey and alcohol (not mixed together, that'd be super gross). Athletes who would drink whey isolate right after training, thus before drinking alcohol, reduced the impact of the protein synthesis drop by more than 10%. Personally, last time I went out after having a shake, it made me drink so slowly that I didn't even have 3 beers but still had a blast.
Photo credits : https://www.flickr.com/photos/23959858@N03/
What about my blood?
Alcohol intake has indeed a thinning effect on blood. In fact, having a glass of wine can have some benefits. Negative effects are numerous though, especially considering that you probably won't have only one drink unless you're the designated driver. Also, it increases the chances of heart arrhythmia. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it?
Some people like to train cardio while hangover. Now, the whole thing can be beneficial AND truly dangerous. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it turns your body into a pee factory. Such effect will cause your body to dehydrate quite a bit. If you plan on training cardio, make sure you're fine by having several small glasses of water (not chug down a gallon) to keep your body hydrated, then keep on drinking a lot of H2O as you run.
Drinking and going out once in a while will not make your fitness quest that much harder. As said earlier, training shouldn't get in the way of your social life. If you can manage to prepare your body for a night out, drink moderately and take care of it the day afterwards, no fitness trainer will consider this as a rule being broken. Well-- it all depends how hard you do the partying!
Remember; you should always be drinking a lot of water, everyday, all the time.