Alcohol VS Performance
By Karnivore Kayla
Now before I get called out for being bias because I’m not a drinker myself, I want to remind you all that I attended Chico State. Walking into college sober as a gopher, leaving four years later confident that I probably won’t ever feel the need to drink again. I now spend my days trying to earn back every day I subtracted off my life while slurring at inappropriate volumes in the streets “Izzz uh good day tuh be a wildcat!!”. And get real…sober Kayla is way more fun, and less likely to cry and lose all her crap.
I would also like to say that this is not intended to be a guilt trip. I’d actually like to dedicate this to “I-work-my-ass-off-so-I-deserve-this-but-why-am-I-not-making-any-progress”.
Alcohol not only dulls growth hormone release, it shuts it down. You may be asking yourself “What in the heck is growth hormone and where can I purchase it?” Growth hormone is a protein made by the pituitary gland and secreted into the bloodstream. The pituitary sends out the hormone in waves, especially following exercise and trauma, but is mostly produced at night as opposed to the day. (Go to bed. Your performance depends on it.) Long story short, growth hormone is essential for your recovery, health, and body composition. So what to do now? Well besides my cold-hearted recommendation of “put the booze down”, consider just enjoying your drink a little earlier.
Alcohol is addictive. We want it even when we know there are consequences. With regular consumption over time, we build a tolerance to it which leads to even more withdrawls when trying to decrease the amount consumed or attempting to quit drinking all together. Addiction is a beast of its own, and recommendations have little to no impact on changing that. Find an equal (but better) substitution for addiction. Like La Croix. Who doesn’t like that stuff?
Where’d the testosterone go? Alcohol releases a toxin from the liver that wrecks havoc on the amount of testosterone in the body. Decreases in testosterone levels are correlated with decreased lean muscle mass and muscle recovery. Which is counterintuative for someone who ritually does CrossFit.
Alcohol impairs cellular immunity. The immune system then becomes more susceptible to inflammation. Promoting intestinal permeability and overgrowth of gut bacteria means potential for a leaky gut. We all know a leaky gut is as gross as it sounds.
The alcohol made me do it! It is no secret that alcohol impairs inhibitions and decision making. Not only in the moment of drunkness and all its glory, but the poor decisions that carry over to the next day. It is truly a gateway to all things that are embarrassing, and also filled with lots of cheese (Franky’s anyone?). Alcohol alters activity in the nervous system which can cause damage to nervous tissue. It can also disrupt neurons which are critical since they transmit and process signals in the brain. This is probably the reason you think you are being very charming and graceful when in reality only one of your eyes is open and you’re walking like your shoes are on the wrong feet.
I don’t need it. I don’t need it. I don’t need it. I NEED IT!!! (Water) The kidneys have to work extra hard to filter very large amounts of water in order to break down alcohol that is consumed, which can lead to dehydration depending on how much alcohol is consumed. The absorption of alcohol starts in the stomach and small intestine and moves into cells, where water balance becomes disrupted. Muscle cells are normally able to produce ATP with proper hydration, so without it we see a lack of production of ATP which means lack of energy and endurance.
There are smarter ways, and there are dumber ways. Forget the booze for a second, lets talk about the sugar that comes along with it. Maybe I just became a fun-sucker way too early in life, but it boggles my mind that full-grown adults will put down multiple Wet Woody’s like it’s a logical decision that will lead to more logicial decisions. From my experience, my first Wet Woody also happened to be my last. In this same instance, I also learned that Wet Woody is Latin for ‘Eternal Agony’. Sugar + alcohol would fall into the “dumber ways” category. Alcohol increases insulin secretion (hello fat storage), which pulls too much blood sugar out of the bloodstream (not to mention 20-25% of alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream), which in turn causes temporary hypoglycemia. It would be considered the mother of all empty calories. If you are old enough to drink, you should already know that mixing tequila, and wine and beer, and shots is never a good decision. If you’re going to endulge, you’re best off with a clear liquor, pick something and stick to it.
This isn’t to say that you can never drink again. Allow me to repeat myself, this is for the person that has set goals for his/herself whether they be performance based or body composition based. We are creatures that are quick to blame our exercise routine, hormones, and genes for the lack of progress we make in perfecting our physical appearance, when in reality we need to focus on what’s giving us the fuel to exercise and recover properly, what’s feeding those hormones we produce, and how things we put into our bodies can either benefit us or cause harm even at the molecular level.