We’ve all been there: you call the gym, sign up for a class, pay for it in advance. You’re thinking that’s a surefire way to get your ass to the gym — until your colleagues beg and plead and ultimately coerce you into after-work beverages. After the day you’ve had, how can you say no to happy hour? While we definitely don’t condone ditching drinks with friends, we also don’t support giving up your daily workout routine, either. So what gives? Can you have a drink, then hit the weights?
According to research, all signs point to a solid no. Women’s Health reports that when exercising, “your body uses glucose that’s stored in your liver for fuel. The problem is that when you drink, the alcohol also gets metabolized into your liver.” Basically, alcohol negatively affects the way your body stores glucose, leaving you with less energy and leading to a subpar workout. But alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning you’ll be needing to use the restroom more frequently, as well as replenish the water loss in your body. We all know that a good workout induces a solid sweat; combining these two dehydrating factors can be extremely toxic to your system.
On a more obvious note, the more alcohol you drink, the more impaired your motor skills and athletic performance become, reports Time. Slower response time mixed with decreased athletic performance not only leads to less-effective workouts, but a significantly higher risk of injury. Bottom line: weights and drinks don’t play nicely together.
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Annoying, we know, especially since recent studies from Penn State University have shown that those who drink regularly tend to exercise regularly as well. Our solution? Break your day up evenly: workouts in the morning or during a lunch break, and booze in the evening. That way everyone’s happy and no activities are compromised.