How Alcohol Affects Teen Athletes
Anyone that has played, or trained for, a major sport understands how difficult training for that sport can be. Teens put in countless hours during the school week running, lifting weights, and practicing plays from the playbook with their coaches. Most of us begin playing sports at an early age simply for the love of the sport. However, for some teens, sports can become an escape from their difficult surroundings, or even a path to a better life for them and their loved ones. As an athlete, your body is your primary piece of equipment. You try to eat right during the school week, you get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and of course, workout. All of these efforts are exactly what is needed to become an elite athlete and make it to the next level. However, after a week of all these efforts, you can’t simply forget about the work that you have put in during the weekend and start partying like rock star. Let’s take a look at how alcohol affects teen athletes and is counterproductive to becoming a great athlete.
How Alcohol Affects Your Body
As an athlete, it’s important that the calories you put into your body are quality calories that are going to help you get faster or stronger. Well, you probably did not know that alcohol is loaded with empty calories that will do nothing but make it harder for you to stay in shape. In just one shot of 80 proof vodka, which is one of the lowest calorie types of alcohol available, there are nearly 100 calories. Not only that, but it literally has no nutrients that will strengthen or fortify your body and actually lowers your workout intensity for days following consumption.
Alcohol is also diuretic. That means that drinking alcohol forces your body to produce more urine and that takes water away from the other parts of your body that need it for hydration, including your muscles. Add exercising to this and you are really increasing your body’s chances of becoming dehydrated. Studies have shown that dehydrated muscle cells provide a less favorable anabolic environment than cells that are over hydrated. This basically means that your muscles not only get weaker from getting drunk, but it also affect your muscle’s ability, even slightly, to recover and strengthen itself. We’ve all heard of testosterone right? It’s associated with males more so than woman because it is the hormone that dictates muscle, hair, and overall physical growth. Male athletes need testosterone to drive muscle growth because increased muscle mass typically leads to better athletic performance. However, athletes that drink alcohol are hurting their bodies ability to build muscle by lowering the testosterone levels in their bodies while intoxicated. Studies have shown that while intoxicated, testosterone levels can decrease up to 25%.
Hopefully the information that we gave you above will provide some insight into exactly how alcohol can affect you as an athlete. If your goal is to make it as an athlete professionally, then it is important that you give yourself every advantage possible, and not drinking alcohol or using drugs is a great way to start.