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Adult Athletes and Booze! - October 14th 2021

If you want to perform at your best, you should eat like Tom Brady, sleep like my 5 month-old son, maintain a stress free existence and avoid all alcoholic beverages. Sounds totally do-able, right?

Alcohol is an unavoidable aspect of social life as an adult and it can be a relatively harmless one if you keep your consumption in check. You already know that getting hammered the night before a game or a race is not a winning strategy but what other strategies are needed to enjoy a beverage or two without the hangover?

Alcohol f*cks with your system in three ways; it dehydrates you, it can slow recovery from tough training sessions and hangovers just suck (Especially the older you get). The dehydration effects are pretty well known and a dehydrated athlete is a slow, inefficient athlete. When you train, you are breaking down the body and the recovery process is where the good stuff happens. You lift weights, your muscles break down but you aren’t actually stronger until you have fully recovered from that workout. Age and lifestyle factors play a role in how quickly you recover; a 23 year old can work their ass off in the gym, go to a happy hour and recover faster than a 34 year old who trains just as hard and has half as much booze at happy hour. It’s annoying but it is true and it is worth consideration. No one enjoys being hung over and, again, everyone knows how a bad hangover will effect your play or performance.

You need to decide when to be Tom Brady and when you can channel your inner Frank the Tank. Which workout (s) are the most important to you during the week? Avoid drinking the night before and 24 hours after. If there is a time of year where you are going hard 3-5 days per week preparing for an event, maybe dial the drinking back completely or cut it to one night where you have at least 24 hours after your last workout and before your next workout. If you train Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, make Saturday your night out. Even then, don’t go overboard. Keep Frank the Tank under wraps until your offseason or during a break in your training.

The best thing athletes and non-athletes can do is learn how to develop a controlled relationship with the booze. If you are someone who can swear it off for good, that will always be your best strategy regardless of what we are talking about. But, if you are someone who enjoys an alcoholic beverage but wants to perform well in a race or on the field, try to keep that stuff out of your system around important training days and competitons.

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