Science tells us that moderate drinking can have positive effects on our health. So why would anyone who only drinks moderately want to give up drinking?
For me, I was beginning to feel like alcohol was holding me back. Maybe it was that time in the gym with a hangover or the poor sleep I got after having just two shots of tequila. I was wondering if my workouts could get better when I removed alcohol from my life.
I’m pleased to report that they did! My workouts vastly improved in so many ways. Here’s how quitting drinking improved my fitness:
I had more time for fitness
Without alcohol, I had more time to fit in a quick workout here and there. If I couldn’t fit a morning workout, evening was almost always an option. That wasn’t the case back when I would have a glass of wine.
It was easier to budget my gym membership
Even if you stick to cheap beer, alcohol can be an expensive habit. Drinks at a bar can burst your budget even faster. When I quit alcohol, I saved at least $80 a month.
There were fewer liquid calories
I wasn’t too concerned with my weight, but I was noticing that it was more difficult to shed fat around my midsection. Alcohol was the culprit. Now, I’m slimmer than I’ve been in years.
Early-morning workouts got better
You don’t have to get wasted in order for your body to feel the effects of alcohol. Even when I’d have two drinks the night before, I’d feel it in my workouts. Without drinking, I simply performed better.
I was more hydrated
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it helps draw water from your body. When you’re working out, it is more important to hydrate instead of the opposite.
I had a more positive mental outlook
Alcohol is a depressant. After I quit drinking, I realized how much alcohol was bringing me down. Being less motivated definitely hurt my workouts.
Better nutrition fuels better workouts
Partly due to its diuretic nature, alcohol also depletes your body of certain vitamins and minerals that are essential to a good workout.
I had increased energy
Maybe it was due to improved sleep, better nutrition or enhanced hydration, but I certainly had more energy for workouts after I quit drinking.
Relationships with workout buddies improved
I’ve always had good relationships with people at the gym, but without alcohol in my life, I was happier and more outgoing. This made making workout schedules with my friends much easier.
Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to sleep well, and this used to mess with my workouts. I was always tired.
Overall focus was better
Over time, alcohol can mess with your cognitive abilities and mental clarity. After quitting drinking, I was more focused.
I set better goals
With newfound mental clarity and more time to work out, I found myself setting new and more advanced fitness goals.
Exercise became my main stress reliever
Exercise is a much healthier way to relieve stress than alcohol. And I found that I was better equipped to handle stress after I quit drinking.
I lost weight
I wasn’t looking to lose a lot, but I finally got rid of that stubborn 10 pounds around my midsection after beer and wine were out of my life.
I found comfort outside of my comfort zone
Quitting alcohol was difficult, but I thrust myself out of my comfort zone. And it was amazing! Now, I know I can try new and more challenging workouts.