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Alcohol and Bodybuilding


It may seem like I’m pointing out the obvious, but alcohol and exercise just aren’t compatible. I’d like to talk about my own experience with alcohol and just how it affected my physical fitness, and my general health and wellbeing.

Problems with alcohol began to arise for me when I started college. At school I was always a straight A student. I followed the rules and rarely got into trouble. I was also a pretty good athlete and was always involved with sport during my time at school. If I wasn’t doing schoolwork, I was usually in the gym, or on the training field.

Things changed when I started college. I suppose I had always been a little disappointed that I wasn’t one of the rulebreakers at school. When friends were out partying and having a good time, I wasn’t. At that time it just didn’t appeal to me. When I started college, I had the belief that the work was going to be easy and was more concerned with how much partying I was going to do.

In the beginning it was fun. I felt that I was making up for my staight laced days at school. But it quickly spiralled out of control. I was drinking heavily several nights a week, wasn’t going to class as I was hungover and no work was being done. I played rugby on Saturdays but was quickly dropped from the team, as I was missing training, and when I did go I didn’t have the fitness to keep up.

To make up for my failings with the rugby team I started exercising heavily, and was in the gym most days, probably because I felt guilty more than anything else. However I was still drinking, and often went to the gym battling a hangover. This inevitably led to more problems. My training had no structure, as I was trying to excercise away the guilt my alcohol binges had left, and going to the gym seemed to be doing more harm than good. I was always tired, wasn’t eating properly and my college work had long since taken a backseat.

In the end I had to drop out of my course. My mind and body were both suffering. In fact my body had never been in worse shape so I decided to quit before I did serious damage. My parents were obviously thrilled when I arrived home to tell them of my premature college departure, and shocked when they seen the shape I was in. I did manage to get my head straight, and completed my degree, albeit a little later than I had hoped to.

These days my alcohol intake is kept to a minimum and I’ll only stretch to the occasional beer. My advice to anyone serious about building muscle, or simply trying to improve their fitness is to do the same.

If im ever tempted to drink more than I should on a night out I try to remember that it’s a step backward, a training session wasted. Another thing to remember is the day after a drinking session your diet will suffer. You’ll end up eating rubbish that you wouldn’t normally for comfort. It’ll throw your routine off track, and it’s difficult to get yourself motivated again.

My conclusion? If you want to keep your health and your sanity then keep drinking to a minimum. Enjoy it, but don’t let it become a problem!


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