Down the Hatch, Miss a Snatch?

A look at the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on fitness and health.

A few years ago I stopped drinking alcohol Sunday through Thursday.

I’ve never been a heavy drinker, so it wasn’t a difficult transition. For me, two drinks is letting loose and three is really getting wild, but a few nights a week I’d have a beer or glass of wine while making dinner. Once I started CrossFit, I wondered about the impact of those five or six drinks per week on my health and performance in the gym.

CrossFit was hard enough, I figured, so why make it even more difficult by adding alcohol to the mix? I was so careful about every aspect of my diet, and I worried alcohol was sabotaging those efforts. So I ditched the alcohol in favor of sparkling water and kombucha and saved the drinks for Friday and Saturday nights.

It turns out my years of partial abstinence may have been pointless. More and more studies suggest moderate alcohol consumption can improve cardiovascular health, and recent research suggests a few drinks have no negative impact on athletic performance. Still, alcohol has significant effects on the body, especially when consumed in excess.

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