While it’s great to kick back and enjoy a drink or two now and again, people consume on average 70% more alcohol today than we did 30 years ago. It may feel ok to indulge every once in a while, but when you think that one sip of alcohol can stay in your system for up to two hours, this could affect your body composition, training, and even recovery. Meanwhile, hit the alcohol hard and you could even end up hospitalised with alcohol poisoning. To avoid this and make sure that you maintain the level of fitness you've worked so hard to achieve, boxers should understand the effects of alcohol on the body.
Alcohol increase caloric intake
While you may have ditched the carbs, sugar and fat out of your diet, all your hard work could be undone by the calories hiding in your alcoholic drinks. Alcoholic drinks are packed with empty calories and as your body cannot store alcohol, it will try to get rid of it as soon as possible. This interrupts your body's normal processes of absorbing nutrients and burning fats. What this means in reality is that one large glass of wine is equivalent to a serving of ice cream, while one pint of larger is the same as a large slice of pizza. This may not seem so bad, but if you end up drinking six pints of beer then you will be in effect consuming more than 1000 calories.
Effect of alcohol on our muscles
Look at most top boxer’s pre-fight routine and you will likely see no alcohol a few months ahead of their big fight and it’s easy to see why. Training and alcohol don’t mix, especially when you want to build muscle. Studies have found a direct link between alcohol consumption and muscle hypertrophy. Alcohol can affect the hormonal and inflammatory responses to physical exertion, making it difficult for the body to be able to successfully repair damaged proteins and build new ones, essential for muscle building.
Be aware of how much you're drinking
For some people, there is no such thing as just one glass or two. If you drink, then you will drink a lot. But this doesn’t need to be the case, alcohol won’t taste any better the more you have and you don’t need to finish the whole bottle every time. While some drinks are lower in calories and alcohol content than others it can still be hard to keep track of how much you are drinking. While a bottle of wine can feel like a commitment, canned wine offers built-in portion control. One standard wine bottle holds around 5-ounce glasses of wine, while a can of wine offers just one or two healthy-sized servings. This way, you can enjoy a drink while sticking to the optimal amount for health benefits.
How alcohol affects your mental state
Everyone knows that all too familiar feeling of waking up after a night out drinking. The sore head, churning stomach and feeling tired and sluggish. You are less likely to be able to train as hard as usual or even train at all. You are also more likely to reach for heavy, calorie-packed foods rather than healthier alternatives. Alcohol can also act as a depressant and leave you feeling low and with a negative mindset and certainly not in the right frame of mind before a big match.
Training and recovery
As a boxer, alcohol can have a significant impact on both your training and recovery. When it comes to your training, alcohol consumption can reduce your reaction times as for 24 hours after drinking, alcohol can continue to affect the brain’s ability to process information quickly. For a whole day after drinking, both your reaction times will be slower and your performance will be affected. Not a good combination when you need to avoid your opponent's punches. Alcohol can also lead to increased cramps, strains and muscle pulls. Your muscles will also take longer to recover, along with your force and strength.
Boxing is not all about skill, technique and physical strength. It also takes mental strength and discipline to be a successful boxer. Avoiding things like alcohol, or certainly drinking in moderation and not before a match will help you to be at your best and recover quickly for your next bout.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.