From the last Blog of "when life gets in the way" many of you may know that times are stressful right now. Not just for me... I wrote the blog because they are stressful for lots of people. Whether it's stress related or you just love your adult beverage... we drink. Some of my friends lately said "Yeah, it becomes habit after a while." To hit the happy hour, or to have that drink after work to unwind... or whatever.
All the info I've seen related to Drinking and Cycling has always been to skip the former if you want your performance to increase. As much as this seems like a no brainer... do we really want to give up the booze? I know I didn't...
As I watch the scale creep up and my miles drop I had to say enough was enough and put down the bev... so long my fine crafted beers...
So, my first no drinking ride was yesterday and I hated to see how much energy I had, how much faster I could go and generally how amazing I felt! It just didn't seem fair... Even a drink or just two was slowing me way down. 3-4 MPH at least...
With August around the corner I'm training for the HHH 100 and told everyone "I'm not having a drink until after this ride"... the shock and awe are just ridiculous. Do you know how hard is it to say no to a drink? So... for some encouragement, he's some important info I got to experience first hand (Thanks to another blog with some great info).
1. Poisons: Most of the alcohol in the beer heads to your bloodstream and is immediately treated as a toxin by your body. Toxins end up in our liver... I don't know about you, but my liver needs a break! I think it might be easier to put that drink down if I picture a glass of bleach?
2. Feeling that Buzz?: The liver metabolizes the alcohol using enzymes, but there are only so many to work at a time. So, when you hit capacity, the excess hits the blood stream and gives you that buzz... while damaging the heart, brain, organs and your "I'm so fabulous" switch on. You are not fabulous... neither am I.
3. Glycogen doesn't get converted: So much for the level sugars and proper glycogen stores... as the enzymes are working against the mighty toxin this process just steps aside for a while. So, I'm guessing the more frequently you drink... the more this process doesn't work and thus the beer belly was born! Nothing like it when your legs are bouncing off your belly while you ride... right?
4. Fat stores increase: I'll guess this one is really dependent on your frame and overall performance standards. I mean Fromme could use a couple ounces of fat... seriously. But the rest of us "regular" folks DO NOT need any help in the fat storage area. Such a serious affect on the blood sugar level process only equals an increase in weight and all the problems that come with it! How silly is it that we try to shave a gram off our shoes, cleats, lbs off the bike and we're carrying an extra 10 lbs/k/stone?
5. Chips and Dip?: It has been proven time and time again that our "choices" when drinking are um... less than stellar? Well that goes for what we eat as well. Otherwise healthy people who eat organic and lean find themselves neck deep in tacos, chips, burgers and the like when drinking. All of which increase the carb and fat problems! I won't address any of those other poor choices we might make while drinking!
6. Sleep and Slumber: As a world champion sleeper this one pisses me off the most! As your body tries to rid itself of poison and the blood sugar levels are raging war... you toss and turn all night. There is no "deep" sleep, no rest for your brain and therefor a totally crappy day following (whether you are riding or not).
7. Dehydration: As we experience record temps in the US this one is pretty important. I pay close attention to how much I'm sweating when I ride and making sure I drink plenty of water. I'll stop at the fountains to cool down with water whenever I can. Hormones control excess urine production on a regular basis... but when you drink alcohol (or coffee) those hormones take a break and you wee wee wee all night long. No liquid = no sweat = heat stroke...
8. Muscles & Testosterone: A guy problem? not exactly... lack of sleep leads to a reduction in human growth hormone production... and drinking in general hampers testosterone production... but = less muscle gain. Even for women testosterone is important for muscle growth, but mood is also affected.
9. Cortisol: The evil cortisol, used for fight or flight in the body, is also linked to fat gains in all the wrong places. Apparently, drinking increases the production of this lovely gem... keeping you in a heightened state of excitement AND affecting your belly.
With all of that I'm most convinced by the ride itself... by how good I felt on the bike mile after mile and even watching my heart rate stay lower than other rides. As I've struggled to ride for the last couple of months I was working against myself with no good reason.
Giving up the booze isn't easy. I'll have to train my friends not to invite me to drink, or happy hour. I'll get them used to me driving and ordering club soda or virgin something. But what I won't do is give up that feeling I had this weekend on the bike. I just wanted to ride forever... no alcohol is worth that and I'm sure my doctor would agree!