A Wine Lover’s Guide to Working Out
By: Tara Leitch
I love wine. Not in a, “Maybe I should consider joining a 12 step program” kind of way, more a “I would like to enjoy your company with dinner, every night and possibly settle down and get married” kind of way. You know, a long term commitment sort of thing with the occasional weekend away from each other. Every relationship, even that with wine, needs moderation — too much togetherness after all can breed resentment… 😉
All that being said I also love to workout and it seems that the fitness community is a bit divided on whether or not drinking wine (or consuming alcohol of any type) is good for you or not.
What’s a wino… err…wine lover to do?
To start, I go to the experts to get the facts.
Jason Hill – M.Sc. Physiotherapy, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS)-NSCA & Personal Trainer at Pro-Fit Health Club – believes that drinking wine or any other type of alcohol shouldn’t be part of a persons everyday fitness and nutrition plan especially if they are hoping to see results in a timely manner. However, Jason adds “There are far worse things a person can do to their body than drink alcohol but it sure will slow down ‘dem gains.”
No, really, he said “’dem gains”. It would damage my journalistic integrity to quote anything but the truth.
Many in the fitness community agree with Jason, believing that anyone attempting to build muscle should avoid alcohol altogether or at least limit their intake so that their body has a chance to recover. Alcohol consumption can have many adverse effects on a person who is looking to build muscle – Hydration, recovery, anabolism, and focus are just a few of the things that can be negatively affected. Even having a few drinks a night or two before a workout can have a negative impact on a persons progress.(1,2 & 3)
I understand this point of view, I really do, but it just doesn’t jive with me. I’m not, after all, attempting to win the Henderson Thorne Natural Classic (July 11th!!!) in the Bikini category. If I were, then I could see limiting or stopping my alcohol intake altogether. I respect Jason and others who share the same opinion but decline to follow. Asking me to give up wine on a daily basis while I lift weights and hustle myself on the treadmill 3 to 4 days a week is akin to asking Kanye West to stop using auto-tune… it’s not going to happen.
Henderson Thorne, Head Personal Trainer at Pro-Fit Health Club and IFBB Professional Body Builder says, “Drink the wine, just do so in moderation. A glass of wine at night with dinner isn’t going to do any harm. The harm comes when that glass turns into 2, 3 or more glasses every night. That’s a problem.” Hmm, this Henderson guy might not be so bad after all. I take back all those bad things I’ve said about him. It seems that he and I are on the same wavelength, at least in regards to wine… when it comes to the state of world affairs and whether Man U is a verifiable team – that’s another story. Go Man City!!!
A recent study published in Men’s Fitness Magazine by researchers at the University of Barcelona in Spain concluded that “drinking red wine—with or without alcohol […hold on… there’s red wine without alcohol? What’s the point? Isn’t that just grape juice? I digress…]—decreased the level of compounds related to the formation of plaques in the arteries. Both inflammation and plaque formation are related to heart disease. ‘Thus, both grapes and (alcohol) are good for the heart,’ said one of the researchers, Ramon Estruch, MD, PhD. The key, moderation—up to two drinks a day for men, and one for women.”(4)
Another article that appeared online via the Yale-New Haven Hospital states; “For over 10 years, research has indicated that moderate intake of alcohol improves cardiovascular health. In fact, in 1992 Harvard researchers included moderate alcohol consumption as one of the ‘eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk.’ However, research has suggested that specifically red wine is the most beneficial to your heart health. The cardioprotective effect has been attributed to antioxidants present in the skin and seeds of red grapes.
Scientists believe the antioxidants, called flavonoids, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in three ways:
- by reducing production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also know as the “bad” cholesterol)
- by boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
- by reducing blood clotting. Furthermore, consuming a glass of wine along with a meal may favorably influence your lipid profiles following that meal
Recently, researchers have found that moderate red wine consumption may be beneficial to more than just your heart. One study found that the antioxidant resveratrol, which is prevalent in the skin of red grapes, may inhibit tumor development in some cancers. Another study indicated that resveratrol aided in the formation of nerve cells, which experts believe may be helpful in the treatment of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”(5)
For me, the choice is clear I will continue to drink wine in moderation – unless of course I decide become a bikini competitor in the Henderson Thorne Natural Classic…
One thing is certain — always consult your doctor and make sure any change to your diet or fitness regime is right or advisable for you.