Sportspeople warned: alcohol will affect performance

January 14, 2009,
Dr Steve Stannard (left) and Matt Barnes assess the performance of Darryl Cochrane.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Even moderate amounts of alcohol affect recovery from athletic performance, with muscle performance loss doubled in those who drank alcohol.

Author of a new study on alcohol and performance Matt Barnes says the message is simple: “If you’re there to perform, you shouldn’t be drinking alcohol.”

Mr Barnes, a BSc Honours candidate based at the University’s Manawatu campus, recruited recreational sportsmen and tested their muscle performance after a strenuous resistance training session, followed by either a moderate amount of alcohol in juice or the same energy content in juice alone. Using specialist equipment at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, the athletes’ performance was measured at 36-hours and 60 hours later.

“That’s two mornings and three mornings later,” Mr Barnes says. “With the alcohol the loss of muscle performance was far greater - nearly twice as much. Normally you would expect to see weakness or loss in performance after strenuous exercise but the alcohol really exacerbated that.

“This shows that if you drink even moderate levels of alcohol after you use your muscles strenuously you are impairing your ability to recover and I would say if you are serious about your sport, you shouldn’t be drinking alcohol in the post-match or recovery period.”

Exercise physiologist and Co-Director of Sport and Exercise Science at Massey Dr Steve Stannard is supervising Mr Barnes research. Dr Stannard says he began thinking of undertaking research on the effect of alcohol on athletic performance after organising a sport and alcohol conference in 2005.

“It struck me at the time that, whilst alcohol was commonly consumed after competition, there was very little research on whether alcohol affected the recovery process. Although many sports-people drink, rugby is the most obvious: they go after training or the match to the pub or club to socialise or celebrate. In fact some coaches encourage that - I’ve even been told matter-of-factly by a high profile coach that ‘the spirit of the team is at the bottom of the bottle’.”

Mr Barnes and Dr Stannard recruited men for the study to comply with ethical guidelines, and used what is considered at the high end of safe drinking levels for men of this size, around six to seven standard drinks over two to three hours.

SPARC contributed some funding for the study, with work now underway on a follow-up. “Common sense says alcohol would affect performance,” Dr Stannard says. “Now we want to look at not just muscle performance but take a whole body approach - why is recovery affected?”

Provided by Massey University

Explore further: Don't let skiing and snowboarding injuries take you downhill

Related Stories

Don't let skiing and snowboarding injuries take you downhill

January 12, 2018
Skiing and snowboarding are fun winter sports. As the popularity of these winter sports continue to rise, according to a review article published in the January 1, 2018, issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic ...

Greater alcohol use may reduce heart attacks, increase atrial fibrillation

June 29, 2016
In a study of Texas counties either permitting or prohibiting the sale of alcohol, researchers at UC San Francisco have found residents of permitting counties had fewer heart attacks, but increased atrial fibrillation (AF).

Alcohol drinking in the elderly: Risks and benefits

June 27, 2011
The Royal College of Psychiatrists of London has published a report related primarily to problems of unrecognized alcohol misuse among the elderly. The report provides guidelines for psychiatrists and family physicians on ...

Performance-enhancing drug use more prevalent than Type 1 diabetes or HIV infection

December 17, 2013
A new Scientific Statement issued today by The Endocrine Society represents a comprehensive evaluation of available information on the prevalence and medical consequences of the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). ...

Athletes need to be careful to monitor diet, weight to maintain muscle mass

July 23, 2013
Athletes seeking a healthy performance weight should eat high fiber, low-fat food balanced with their training regimen in order to maintain muscle while still burning fat, according to a report by an Oregon State University ...

In some men, taking testosterone while dieting may help lose fat, not muscle

April 4, 2016
In obese middle-aged men, losing weight while dieting normally depletes both fat and muscle. But adding testosterone treatment may help them lose only fat and retain their muscle, new research suggests. The study results ...

Recommended for you

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.