IN the final post of my festive blogs, we will talk about one of the biggest issues of all – alcohol. Festive celebrations and alcohol go hand in hand. But what are the impacts of regular alcohol consumption on boxers and how does it affect training, body composition and recovery.

1. Calories
WE briefly spoke about how many calories are in various alcoholic drinks in this blog. For example, six pints of standard premium larger can contain the equivalent of three or four large takeaway burgers, approximately 1,080 kcal. These extra calories can be stored as excess body fat, which will begin to ruin your body composition. As a boxer, you want the highest amount of muscle-mass and the smallest amount of fat mass as this generates the highest level of force production from punches, while helping to maintain your overall weight. Alcohol could ruin all this hard work.

2. Fat-burning
TO further add to its negative effect on body composition, alcohol seems to have a negative influence on the ability of the body to ‘burn fat’. An important stage of making weight for boxers, is to reduce their fat mass. Therefore, leading up to a weigh-in, consuming alcohol could negatively influence their ability to burn fat, and to make weight.

3. Muscle Building and Maintenance
As well as the addition of excess calories, alcohol consumption also blunts muscle recovery and muscle building following training sessions. Compared to a good source of protein, alcohol has been shown to reduce the muscle growth response after exercise. Interestingly, even when protein is ingested alongside alcohol, you still have a large reduction in the muscle-building response. Simply put, alcohol blunts your muscle building response, which is vital for boxers!

4. Recovery
IT is not just the ability of your muscles to recover that is effected after alcohol ingestion. As little as three small glasses of wine can reduce your force and strength capabilities in the given day. In a sport where force and power production are key factors of success in both training and competition, alcohol probably isn’t the best choice!

5. Training
FINALLY, a small amount of alcohol has been shown to slow reaction times and affect your brain’s ability to process information quickly, up to 24 hours after drinking. Therefore, in the 24 hours following alcohol consumption, your training and performance will be affected. Therefore, if you are looking to get the most out of training periods, alcohol isn’t the way forward!

Having said all this, it is important to understand that the festive period is there to be enjoyed and that drinking can be part and parcel of that. Picking and choosing the right moments to celebrate is most definitely key and being tactical about it could help you find a happy medium between training and relaxing.