How Alcohol Affects Your Health

Moderation and Control

Unveiling the Truth: How Alcohol Affects Your Health, Fitness, and Weight Loss

Many of us enjoy a drink now and then, but understanding the impact it can have on our bodies can go a long way to helping us make informed choices about our overall health and well-being.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes beyond exercise alone. It requires a holistic approach that includes responsible, nutritional choices.

If you’re interested in the details and want a more in-depth look at the effects of alcohol, you can download our FREE Alcohol Guide.

The Impact of Alcohol

When we consume alcohol, our bodies prioritise metabolising it over other nutrients, including fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. While fats provide 9 calories per gram and carbs and proteins offer 4 calories per gram, alcohol packs a punch at 7 calories per gram. This means that alcohol can significantly increase our daily calorie intake.

Health Implications

Excessive alcohol consumption can have serious health implications, including liver damage, increased risk of certain cancers, and heart disease. It can also impair cognitive function and affect mental health, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.

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The Impacts of Alcohol

  1. Fitness Performance

    For those of us with fitness goals, alcohol can hinder our progress. It dehydrates the body, prolong muscle recovery, and can affect physical performance.

  2. Alcohol and Sleep

    While alcohol can make you feel drowsy and help you to fall asleep quickly, it can interfere with your natural sleep cycle, and lead to poor sleep quality. A study showed that ‘high amounts of alcohol can decrease sleep quality by up to 39.2%.

  3. Weight Loss Challenges

    If weight loss is your goal, alcohol can pose a significant obstacle. Not only does it add extra calories to your diet, but it can lead to poor food choices. It also disrupts metabolism, making it harder for your body to burn fat effectively.

  4. Making Informed Choices

    While it’s important to be aware of the impact of alcohol on our health and fitness, it doesn’t mean we have to abstain completely. By making sensible decisions and moderating our intake, we can still enjoy alcohol in a balanced way.

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Our Top Tips for a Balanced Approach to Alcohol

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Awareness and Moderation is Key

Setting limits and restrictions for yourself on how many drinks to consume or when to stop drinking can be a good way to control your alcohol intake. The NHS recommend no more than 14 units per week, spread across several days which includes at least 2 alcohol free days. This comes to around 6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or 6 pints of 4% beer.

Plan Your Training and Recovery

If you have specific fitness and health-related goals, it is important to consider how alcohol may influence your progress. When planning your alcohol intake around training, it’s important to avoid alcohol immediately before or after your training to minimise its negative impact on performance and recovery. 

Remember to Hydrate

Alcohol can increase urine production and cause dehydration. To counter this effect, remember to drink some water! Drinking water before, during and after alcohol consumption can help maintain hydration.

Choose Lower-Calorie Options

More and more brands are releasing low alcohol, or alcohol free drinks. Be mindful of portion sizes and aim to limit your consumption to a moderate level. Instead of sugary mixers, try mixing spirits with soda water. This can help can strike a balance between enjoying occasional drinks and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 


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