With the warm weather now upon us, it’s likely that most people will now increase the amount of exercise, activity and social sport they participate in.

They are also more likely to increase the amount and the frequency of the alcohol they drink. After all, it’s the Aussie way to enjoy a drink during summer. Many consider it a reward to enjoy a drink after a tough training session and/or sporting match.

However, Sports Scientists at Massey University in New Zealand studied the effects of alcohol ingestion in the hours after exercise, training or sports competition as a means of celebrating and reward.

Half of the test subjects received alcohol with fruit juice and the other half received just fruit juice. The subjects who drank alcohol showed no indication of greater muscle damage and post-training soreness. They did however, show signs of a greater decrease in maximal strength, sometimes up to twice as much.

The researchers propose that alcohol affects the nerves that stimulate the muscles to repair and grow after training/competition. They also suspect that alcohol inhibits the production of cytokines, which the immune system uses to clear up and restore damaged muscle tissue after physical activity.

The molecular scientists involved in the study suggest that alcohol inhibits the attachment of energy-providing phosphorus groups to anabolic (muscle-building) signal molecules in the muscle cells.

The researchers concluded: “Our observations suggest that participants in sport, exercise and physical activity should be encouraged to avoid alcohol intake during the post-activity period if optimal muscle recovery is desired.”

So there you have it folks. As tempting as it may be to reward yourself with some wine with dinner after a tough training session or to have some beers with mates after your social game of golf or cricket, you’d be doing your body, your health, your muscles, and therefore your fat-loss efforts, a serious disservice.