How cutting down your alcohol intake will make you fitter
There are many reasons why drinking less alcohol can make great sense.
Maybe you’ve taken on the challenge of a dry month, you’re trying to lose weight – or you’ve simply decided to drop that weekday glass of wine and save a few pennies.
But you may not know that if you’ve vowed to get fit this year, then reducing the number of units that you’re drinking could be your secret weapon. Here’s why...
You’ll make more fuel for your muscles
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is energy for your muscles, and drinking alcohol inhibits its production. So if you stuck to soft drinks instead of your usual pint last night, then your muscles will reap the benefit during today’s work out.
Without the dehydrating effects of alcohol you’ll also feel much stronger and faster, giving you more stamina to get through one more set...
You’re far more delicate after drinking
Alcohol makes you almost twice as likely to suffer an injury during sports, and it increases recovery time too. Without the blood-thinning effects of alcohol, your body will deliver essential nutrients to the site of an injury much more efficiently – meaning everything from a bruise to a twisted ankle will heal faster, getting you back in the game that much faster.
We aren’t designed to store alcohol, so our bodies will stop at nothing to get rid of it after drinking. This then interferes with our natural processes – such as absorbing nutrients and breaking down lactic acid – which can leave you feeling sore after exercise.
Your body will be better at burning fat (and growing muscle)
While your body is working hard to rid itself of toxins that come from a night of drinking, it won’t release testosterone, the muscle-building hormone – plus the release of cortisol will be erratic, affecting your sleep.
So if you’ve been cutting down recently, your body will be much better at getting the deep sleep and essential nutrients that it needs to lose fat and gain muscle – and that hour on the treadmill will be far more worth it.
You won’t waste calories
Without the non-nutritious, ‘empty calories’ in alcohol, our bodies are better able to gain energy and repair muscles using the calories from the good food we eat. By getting your nutrients from a combination of carbohydrates, fats and protein – with none of the nasties in alcohol – you’ll find that the path to fitness may be a little less heavy-going…
You don’t have to stop drinking altogether to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. But, if you’re trying to lose weight, it could help to switch to lower-calorie drinks. Here’s our guilty top five:
A single serving of Long Island Iced Tea could contain up to 780 calories – that’s as much as a double quarter-pounder cheeseburger!
Beware - a bottle of 13% ABV wine contains around 660 calories.
3. Stout beer
There’s an urban myth that says a pint of Guinness contains as many calories as roast dinner – not quite, a pint packs in 210 calories.
It’s sweet-tasting for a reason, with some 200 calories per pint.
At 180 calories per pint, it’s slightly lighter than stout or cider.
You’ll always be tip-top
It takes your body days to completely rid itself of alcoholic toxins, so you’ll be dehydrated, sluggish and more sensitive to light and sound for much longer than you might think.
If you’re cutting down on your usual intake, then you should find that your reaction times are faster, muscles feel stronger and your hand-eye co-ordination is at its best, meaning you’re always performing at maximum capacity. Perfect news if you’ve got a big race on the horizon...
Whatever your plans are, our #makeaswitch campaign aims to both inspire and help you make those changes come to fruition. If you're looking to switch any of your finances, M&S Bank offer a range of products that may suit your needs, find out more here: current accounts, credit cards, loans, insurance, savings & investments.