Does alcohol consumption affect my daily workout?

Q. Will alcohol consumption cause any effect on my daily workout?

Answered by
Dr. Nagaraj
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 11, 2021

Hi doctor,

Please explain the effects of alcohol on fitness goals. Does hangover affect my workouts? If it affects my workout, then what kind of alcohol can be taken that does not affect my workouts. Please explain them in detail the reason for the hangover and its effects on my workout routine in terms of physiological changes observed in the body.



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I understand your concern. Any beverage having with more alcohol content attains a concentration of more than fifty percent in the body and when taken in a prolonged period, it affects the key organs. It may not affect fitness directly but it affects by causing damage to the vital organs in the body such as the liver, heart, and kidney. It reduces the endurance level. In simple terms, when you take alcohol, you may skip taking proper food or resort to junk foods and it affects the protein and energy requirements in the body. This impacts the strength and stamina at the work out places.

Hangover again results in causing a lack of interest, lack of strength, and stamina. You lose interest in doing workouts. Any type of alcohol taken in excess quantity causes harm to the body. There is no such recommended quantity or type of alcohol to suggest. Wine, when taken in limited quantity does not cause any major effect. Limited quantities mean one or two pegs per day. This is because wine has only 7 to 8 % of alcohol content. Tolerance to alcohol differs from person to person.

Thank you doctor,

What happens when someone forces themselves to do a workout on a hangover? Please explain about the chemical substances produced after the processing of alcohol in the body and how it affects the workout. I read that darker liquid like whiskey, black rum have a high amount of congeners and it leads to an increased amount of hangover while clear alcohols like vodka possess fewer congeners and it leads to fewer hangovers. Please suggest.



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Alcohol is metabolized by the liver in the body. Once the alcohol reaches the liver, it is metabolized by a certain group of enzymes to produce aldehydes and acetate mainly. Effects of alcohol occur due to byproducts of alcohol in the body. These byproducts stimulate the inhibitory neurotransmitters and inhibit excitatory neurotransmitters. As there is an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain, the dominance of inhibitory neurotransmitters inhibits most of the chemical signs in the brain and it leads to affecting other body organs.

When the brain is not fully active, the overall performance comes down. The same can be applied to exercise also. As you must be aware that alcohol is produced by fermentation. The fermentation process leads to the formation of many other byproducts and it causes deleterious effects on the body. Raw alcohol is filtered or purified at varying extent to remove unwanted harmful products. Though I am not sure, I believe that more filtration or purification of alcohol leads to the removal of toxic components and it results in causing less hangover when it is drunk.

Thank you doctor,

What is the key factor which helps to determine whether the person who consumed alcohol is eligible to work out or not? Is there any test available if he or she can do it by themselves? During a hangover, we are limited to our emotions. But in reality, your body can accept the workout induced stress even though there is a little hangover. How to find the fine line in the body to take a workout after a hangover? Please suggest.



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To my knowledge and understanding, there is no test available that helps to determine the eligibility for doing a workout after having alcohol consumption. It is mostly subjective and depends on the level of consciousness, clarity, and awareness about the surroundings. Unless you are sure that you can work out with a good level of consciousness, do not indulge in it. It is safe for you and your fellow people working in the gym. There is no test available to my knowledge.

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