Is alcohol a good mixer for working out?

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image Contributing blogger Troy Meyers is a certified personal trainer and sports conditioner with more than 10 years of experience. He owns Atlanta-based and contributes to the site’s Lockerroom Blog.

Alcohol is nothing but empty calories.

It doesn’t have any nutrients, but does have a caloric value of seven calories per gram. In just one shot (1.5 ounce) of 80 proof vodka, there’s nearly 100 calories. For those of you trying to lose fat, forget it if you are drinking. What happens is that your body is trying so hard to digest and metabolize the alcohol, that fat burning stops all together.

imageAlcohol consumption also hurts muscle growth, as it actually lowers protein synthesis by 20 percent. There are several reasons for this. For one, it dehydrates your muscle cells when they need hydration to allow for a much higher anabolic environment. When your cells aren’t holding as much water, it becomes harder to build muscle.

Alcohol also hurts muscle growth by blocking the absorption of important nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation and growth. Those include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium.

Alcohol also affects your workout by lowering testosterone and increasing estrogen. Yes, estrogen. In one study, men’s testosterone levels were measured before and after consumption of alcohol. At the most intoxicated state, testosterone levels had dropped by an average 25 percent. It’s also interesting to note that when blood alcohol levels were the highest, testosterone was at its lowest.

Have a fitness question you’d like Troy to answer here? {encode=”[email protected]” title=”Email us.”} Subject: Fitness.

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