24 January 2008

Alcohol and training

Brendan asks…

“I've just read your reply to an OCC question about how drinking coffee affects endurance training. Something I've wondered about is how another drink - booze! - affects performance.
I assume drinking is not beneficial to climbing full-stop, but is it particularly bad to drink soon after a session/on the same day? I often climb on a Friday then go out for a few beers that evening, I'd like to know if that wrecks the physical benefits of the training. Is it worth planning training around evenings when you know you'll be drinking?”

Ah ha, alcohol is definitely a different story! It’s pretty bad for your body in lots of ways, but the main way it will affect your training is by reducing the quality of the recovery and increasing the recovery time. The best way to offset the worst of the effects is to make sure you have a proper athletes meal (high carbohydrate) and plenty of water straight after the climbing. And make sure you avoid the super greasy takeaway after the night out. The combination of a skinful of beer and something as nutritionally evil as a takeaway kebab is what gives so many British climbers a little tyre to weigh them down on the rock.

I can’t believe I’m really writing about this on this site, but for a lot of British climbers, its really holding their ability on the rock down a grade or two.

The funny thing is, just increasing the amount of time between any drinking you do neatly solves the problem, without having to sacrifice the feeling that you can’t relax and have fun when you do go out. The nightly in-the-house beer in front of the telly is the hidden evil here. It raises your tolerance to alcohol a hell of a lot. Meaning that when you do go out, you ‘have’ to drink more, if you know what I mean.

On the other hand, if you only ever drink every other week/month when you do go out, half as much or less alcohol will have the same effect, with the obvious benefits of less weight gain and less detrimental effects on recovery from training. I find that these days every time I drink a pint of beer (once every couple of months?) it feels like the first time I drank alcohol, i.e. one pint and I’m a right mess. I like it that way.


Stephen Gordon said...

another benefit of skipping the nightly beer - more cash to spend on gear.

kooto said...

are kebab really that bad? I've never had a british kebab (im norwegian), but im sure they are the same here.

meat, vegetables, a thin wrapper of carbs... how can this be som bad?

Dave MacLeod said...

LOL I was waiting on someone saying that!!!!

Yes they really are that bad. The veg is fine but a more accurate description of the 'meat' would be 'pure animal fat with the occasional bit of grizzle and perhaps the odd molecule of good meat in there somewhere'.

Dave Frost said...

Dont forget that brewers yeast is about the best source of the vitamin B complex you can get. All grain homebrew is the way to go.

Also the HefeWeizen type white beers are packed full of wheat proteins as well as yeast - its what makes them white.

Too much is a bad thing though i agree.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi all, well, I´m from Czech Rep. and drinking beer here is something like the second most popular sport. And that´s why there are lot of non-alcoholic beers with really good taste. As written before, it keeps lot of vitamins and proteins. Maybe the best energy drink??

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave

Nice work on refreshing the look and feel of your site. Just wanted to mention that the yellow text of this article becomes a bit unreadable now with the new white background. Hope it helps.

Keep up the good posting

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