Alcohol: The workout buzzkill

Alcohol may be the most commonly consumed drug among athletes, but that the alcohol can impact your workouts days later.

While it takes the average person about 90 minutes to metabolize one drink, the effects can linger in your system much longer, Dr. David Spinner, a physical rehabilitation specialist at The Mount Sinai Hospital, told the Daily Beast.

The effects can become apparent in many ways.

Research has shown athletes who consume alcohol at least once a week are more than twice as likely as nondrinkers to get injured (55 percent injury rate compared with 24 percent).

That may be partly due to the hangover effect of alcohol, which has been shown to reduce athletic performance by more than 11 percent.

Alcohol also disrupts normal sleep – which is when your body produces human growth hormone needed for building and maintaining mass, Barbara Lewin, a Florida-based sports nutritionist, told Daily Beast.

And then there’s the dehydration.

“If you go out drinking on a Saturday night and then wake up Sunday and go for a long run, you can expect about a 10 to 12 percent decrease in aerobic performance,” Spinner told Daily Beast.

Spinner recommends athletes limit alcohol consumption and drink plenty of water. Waiting several days before between a night of partying and resuming intense exercise is also a good idea, Spinner said in the article.

When prepping for a marathon, triathlon or other competitive event, however, Spinner said cutting out all alcohol two weeks before the event is the best course of action.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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