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Alcohol in Downhill – Facts and Myths

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Alcohol in Downhill – Facts and Myths


A beer after a ride? Typical. Most of us can’t imagine a bike ride event without some alcohol.

I think that the downhill community manage  a well run event in two days competition. We can talk about Steve Peat, Nathan Rennie or Cedrica Gracia with a beer as an attribute. In fact, many of us participate those events for fun when one beer with friends is a must.


Photo: Antistoepsel

How it works now? Is it possible to ride fast on the highest level after a pack of beer?

The time has change slightly.  Some might says that challengers are sobers. But In my opinion we are talking about their professionalism. For them who make money from that sport to find any way for a better results, being faster ridder and winner maybe is a goal. If they see some weakness in their strength after a beer or two, that is understandable to keep away from an alcohol.


From a holistic view if you are a sportman, drinking alcohol may not offer any health benefits.


8 reasons why a sportman should avoid alcohol:


  • Slower regeneration of the body
  • Affects the nervous system
  • Decrease the body energy a day after
  • Increase reaction time
  • Affects body coordinate and balance system
  • Increase fat burning
  • Decrease sleep disorders
  • Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration


Think about alcohol as a one uninvited guest on a party and all disrupted and confused guests who cannot have a fun until he leaves. That’s alcohol, a toxic unexpected one to be get rid of the body. While that cleansing all other important process in the body must be stopped, fat burning, protein functions, tissues regeneration, a nervous system function.


Photo: Honzamalemfotografem

Some interesting facts


  • Research says about the rugby team a day after drinking alcohol with results of higher cortisol and estrogen
  • Just 3 alcohol drinks reduce your strength level to 45% up to 12 hours
  • Alcohol stimulates ghrelin hormone which influence our appetite and food consumption
  • Alcohol affects water and electrolyte balance by reducing vasopressin hormone
  • Additionally, drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short weekend affects your body and ruin your hard work!


Myths about alcohol


  1. You can eliminate alcohol from your body by dancing or running. False. The sport activity doesn’t boost your metabolism and cytochrome P450 enzym responsible for enhanced oxidation of ethanol.


  1. Alcohol denatures proteins in your body. Ethanol is often used to denature proteins but under the usual laboratory conditions does function as a denaturant by altering hydrophobic interactions of the proteins. Alcohol can affect the way your body absorbs and utilizes protein, and even moderate consumption can lead to decreased protein absorption.


  1. Beer is good for muscle sores. False. Probably to drink a beer after the training helps your muscles to reduce lactic acid and muscle fatigue or pain the day after. The fact is that beer or other alcohol do not reduce lactic acid and also any muscle pain.


  1. Alcohol increase appetite. Not really. Drinking alcohol in small portion might help fatty acids function but in fact, chronic alcohol use can result in damaged the intestinal mucosa, decreased food intake, possibly leading to malnutrition, liver disease and other health conditions. Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of chronic pancreatitis.


  1. Alcohol help you sleep better. False. Alcohol causes drowsiness and reduce the initial amount of time required for you to fall sleep. However it result in disrupted sleep. One drink before bed may not impact sleep quality or length but the more alcohol that is consumed, the worse effects on sleep. Alcohol affects the brains breathing center by masking the effect of low oxygen levels in the bloodstream, possibly damaging tissue.


I am sure that reading that text don’t make everyone a teetotaler. Therefore I suggest some tips how to effectively avoid  symptoms of alcohol toxicity:


  • Never use alcohol a day before training or right after that
  • If you you need to drink some alcohol, try to minimize it and complete your water and electrolytes level
  • Drink slowly, avoid fast drinking
  • After any alcoholic drink take vit. B
  • Drink at least 5 glass of green tea during a day
  • Do not mix alcohol with any juice, it is a poison too
  • Eat a lot of vegetables, dark fruits as blueberry, strawberries and raspberries


Thank You for help TFS! Learn more about dietetics and training at: Train For Skills

Other photos: Bernard Kerr & Team Oh Les Gars





  1. Mel Griffin 06/11/2018

    I think numbers 6 and 7 of the 8 reasons athletes should avoid alcohol got reversed. Alcohol decreases the body’s ability to burn fat and increases sleep disorders.

  2. Wheelbill 07/11/2018

    This is a joke right?

    Do you have any sources for your ‘facts’ at all?

    Juice is a poison? At least 5 glasses of green tea a day?


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