EP #33

Alcohol & Athletic Performance with Brock Armstrong

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In Episode 33 of “Breaking the Bottle Legacy,” host Molly Watts explores the intersection of alcohol and physical fitness, shedding light on the impact of drinking habits on one’s athletic pursuits. As she navigates the complexities of alcohol consumption, Molly emphasizes the importance of understanding the science behind these choices. Drawing from extensive research, she debunks myths surrounding alcohol’s effects on hydration, muscle recovery, and overall physical performance. Throughout the episode, Molly engages in a conversation with her guest, Brock Armstrong, a fitness expert, and coach, delving into the intricate relationship between alcohol and exercise. They challenge conventional beliefs and highlight the pervasive influence of societal norms on our behaviors. With a focus on moderation and mindfulness, they encourage listeners to make informed decisions about alcohol consumption, acknowledging individual preferences and biological responses. The episode also explores the role of non-alcoholic beverages as viable alternatives, enabling individuals to enjoy the social aspects of drinking without compromising their fitness goals. Through their candid discussion, Molly and Brock empower listeners to critically evaluate their choices, fostering a holistic approach to well-being. As they share valuable insights and personal experiences, they inspire individuals to embrace a balanced lifestyle, aligning their actions with their physical and mental health goals.

You’re listening to breaking the bottle legacy with Molly watts, Episode 33. Hi, I’m Molly, after a lifetime living under the influence of family alcohol abuse, spending more than 30 years worrying about alcohol and my own drinking, believing I had an unbreakable daily drinking habit, I changed my relationship with alcohol forever. If you want to change your drinking habits than breaking the bottle legacy is for you. My goal is to help you create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, past, present, and future. Each week all focus on real science and using your own brain to change your relationship with alcohol. Nothing has gone wrong, you’re not broken, you’re not sick. It’s not your genes. And creating peace is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well, hello, and welcome or welcome back to breaking the bottle legacy with me your host, Molly watts, coming to you from a kind of humid Oregon gotta say, we’ve been experiencing warmer, more humid days in the last few weeks than typical for the Northwest. And I know, it’s nothing compared to what you guys have on the East Coast or in the south, for those of you that are listening there, but I’m not loving it here. So good to try to buck up. Because later this week, I think it’s supposed to get over 100 degrees here again, and I certainly hope the humidity is not that high. Today on the podcast to another one of our series alcohol and this conversation I’m calling alcohol and athletic performance. Now, if you’re not a super athlete, that doesn’t matter, because athletic performance means for all of us that are trying to incorporate moving more and fitness into our lives. It’s important to understand how alcohol is working with those or not working with those goals. This conversation is with Brock Armstrong and Brock is a podcaster like legendary has been podcasting. Since I think the early 2000s way before podcasting was a thing. He is a writer, a coach, and just an all around fit guy, of course, beautiful, brilliant Canadian accent. And I love that. And Brock actually just is launching a new podcast, he’s been doing lots of other things. He has the change Academy. He’s the the has a short form podcast that he’s been doing for years. But now he’s got a new longer form fitness podcast called upgraded fitness, which I’ll link in the show notes. I think anybody that’s interested in trying to incorporate movement of their body into their lives, you will love this show. And we just had a fantastic conversation about alcohol and how it impacts athletic performance. Here is my conversation with Brock Armstrong. Hey, Brock, thanks so much for joining me this morning. I am super excited to get to talk to you finally. And thank you for also making it early. Because I know we’re both here on the west coast. So I know it’s equally early for you as it is for me. Yeah, I got up and how to walk and played around in my garden a little bit this morning. You have the best way to get the brain going is to get the body going. So get that blood pumping, get some sunshine into your eyes and onto your skin and your body produces some cortisol, which is a good thing in the morning. I know cortisol gets a bad rap. But cortisol is the thing that wakes us up in the morning. So get a little bit of that going. And I think I think my brains online now I think it can be articulate and clever. Excellent, excellent. Well, you didn’t mention coffee, and I have mine. So there’s that too. But I did get up and walk I did get outside and agree with all of that in terms of moving. I know, you and I didn’t talk about this. But I had a podcast previous to this that focused on the five habits of building a happier, longer life and really on those habits that are shown to extend longevity. And daily habit number one was move. And we said it was number one for a reason. Because moving is just fundamental. And it’s really important as people age because it helps us just prevent loss of mobility, which is something that people fear and is the number one problem for people as they age. So I’m totally on board with moving so glad that you talked about it. I certainly it’s a big part of what I still do in terms of my own personal life. And just yeah, just getting up and walking right? Well, I always say move it or lose it. And it’s it’s a true I know that phrase means something different but it really does apply here because if you don’t continue to move your body in new and interesting ways or even in ways that you start to notice you’re getting a deficient See, you will continue to get more deficiencies. And sometimes the key is really just to keep moving. And, you know, my catchphrase for my, my podcasts my fitness podcast is to, I want you to move more of your body more often, in more and more interesting ways. I’m not talking about getting jacked, or getting ripped, or anything like that just simply moving your body in interesting ways every day, a little bit more. And it’s amazing the things that it does for our health, for our mental health, for our well being, for our sleep for everything. And people have to shake this notion that it’s all about burning calories, because they tend to look at well going for a walk isn’t gonna burn that many calories. Like, who cares? That’s not the point. Right? Well, we could talk about this all day long, too, I would get on the the, but definitely on the moving bandwagon. So. But today, you and I are going to talk about how alcohol this is a part of the alcohol and series over here, I’m showing you loving, by the way, I love that series. Well, thank Monica, because she is my was the, you know, the inspiration for that which was so sometimes when things are right in front of you, you know, you kind of like don’t see them, and then somebody’s sitting out there on the outside goes, Hey, have you thought about this? And you’re like, Oh, right. Good idea. I’m already doing that. A little more. So part of the alcohol and series and today we’re talking about alcohol and athletic performance. So I told you just in our conversations offline, I wanted to make sure we talked about you know, when we say athletic performance, people get all you know, some of the people are already saying, Oh, I’m not an athlete, right? This doesn’t apply to me. So it does, it definitely does, because we all should be moving our bodies. We just talked about that. And let’s talk about what alcohol does to people, even in limited amounts that counteracts or can you know, work against us if we’re trying to do things in an athletic way? Any type of fitness really? Yeah, yeah, there are so many ways that alcohol has effects on the the efforts that we’re putting into becoming physically or maintaining our physical fitness, which, again, just like we were talking about isn’t necessarily it doesn’t have to be about running marathons or triathlons or anything like that. Just maintaining the ability to move through this world with confidence and ease and do the things continue to do the things that we love to do. That’s really my definition of fitness. It’s not anything about like and you can if you have bucketlist scores, I’m not Pooh poohing that at all. I’ve done 77 races myself at this point in my life, different Ironman, triathlons, regular triathlons, marathons, 10, K’s, bicycle races, all of those things, because they’re really they are really fun. But they’re not necessary. And they’re certainly not the key to health and longevity by any means. They’re just fun things to try. But alcohol if you and I have a definite different definition of fun, a lot of people do. Yes, I understand that. But yeah, even the even the, even the more regular sort of ways of looking at your physical health and your physical fitness, are affected by alcohol. And one of the things that I’m just going to give a little bit of a preview here, I did a deep dive into looking at all the science. A while ago, I wrote an article for my get fit guy podcast. And the thing that kept cropping up in all of the scientific studies, I was looking at where they were taking athletes or non athletes and putting them on bicycles and giving them alcohol and stuff was there was it was either no alcohol, or a complete binge. Right? It was there are very few studies, if any, that just look at moderate drinking. It was always like we put these people on a bicycle and then got them to ride. And then we gave them 10 shots of vodka over three hours. And wow, they had a hard time riding their bike after that, right. Yeah, exactly. It was not exactly surprising. But I guess the the thing that we can sort of learn from that is that moderation the the sort of smaller amounts of alcohol, the more reasonable amalco amounts of alcohol, maybe the ones that align more with the general health amounts of alcohol just didn’t produce significant enough or interesting enough results to warrant like writing a paper or, or publishing a paper about it, which is unfortunate, in my opinion, because I think we’re getting a little bit more information about the way that people really behave like the certainly there are outliers. So they’re the teetotallers and then they’re the binge drinkers, but I would have really liked to see a lot more information about sort of people who just have A couple of beers after, after an evening hockey game, which is something I did for years and years playing in literally what we called a beer league hockey team. Right. Right. So, so it is kind of interesting, but I think we can extrapolate some of the information quite, quite easily to see that it does have a smaller effect in smaller doses. And you know, what, spoiler none of them are positive. Yeah. Yeah, I know that the you know, the, the thing about alcohol, and I think you’re kind of hitting on that. And I was just, I just did an episode last week on using science to guide your alcohol decisions. And one of the things that’s very, that’s very clear about alcohol, and about the research on alcohol is it’s very dose dependent. Yeah. And I think in your article, you you even referenced that, you know, with poison, right poisons, it’s dose dependent like that the outcomes are going to be more negative, the more you ingest a known toxin, or a known poison, and, and or even water for that mean, for like, a nickel acquaintance of mine, Dr. Tim Noakes, in is a professor in in South Africa, he did a lot of studies, he actually has completely changed his area of study to look at, at hydration, because he worked as a physician in the aid tents, like the little medical tents that are set up at these, like 50 mile 100 mile races, oh, yeah, across the desert sometimes. And he was astounded that the majority of the people who ended up in the medical tents weren’t dehydrated, they were actually suffering from hyponatremia, which is like over over hydration throws your electrolytes out of balance. And you you actually can have like arrhythmias and and things like that settling in. So he was astounded at that, that even in the middle of the desert, and people running marathons, were over hydrating with water. So yeah, just to the point of dose dependent, everything is dose dependent, including our wonderful water. Right? Yeah. It’s it is, you know, with the thing with alcohol, and this is, you know, I, what I talked about in this last podcast is all of our studies with alcohol are observational, because we cannot, you know, we cannot isolate people and only give them alcohol and not give them anything else to eat or drink over time. Right? I mean, we could do it in it just kind of like you were talking about, oh, if you if you isolate somebody and give them a binge of alcohol, you can see a dramatic result right there in the in the acute time since but Right? over weeks, over days, over months and years, you cannot just isolate alcohol. And so there the problem with all the studies are there’s always going to be confounders what they call confounders in scientific research. And with that said, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t known there aren’t data points that direct us to see causal relationships between especially in this dose dependency is really one of the things that is clear. The more and more alcohol people ingest, the more negative outcomes that are manifested. And that’s in an acute way and over the long run as well. Right. So anyways, we’re you know, and speaking of confounders, there’s I think you actually shared a an article with me with an ultra runner who was experimenting with with taking a break from from alcohol. And I thought the the interesting, one of the interesting things that she said Is she was looking back over her training log, and she saw certain workouts that were actually and she said, way too many workouts that were actually labeled detox run, right. And I’ve that really hit home for me, I’ve coached hundreds of athletes and hundreds of regular Joe’s who wanted to knock something off their bucket list by doing a marathon or something like that. And I’ve seen that same sort of behavior time and time again, where if they’re planning a night out, they’ll go and do a hard workout to sort of prep their body or justify that they’ve done something virtuous for themselves and now I can go with impunity and drink can eat and do whatever it is whatever they want to do. Or on the other end of things. I went out last night I drank too much I ate crappy so I mean, I get on the treadmill and do the the old penance run. Yeah, yeah. So you’re flying self flagellation on the on the treadmill to do penance for the debauchery had the night before. And getting back to the the sort of confounding factors there. His exercise is stress, pure and simple. We are putting stress on our bodies. And the beauty of putting stress, any type of stress really on our body is there’s a thing called hormesis, where if you put just the right amount of stress on your body, and then allow your body to recover from it, we get stronger. It’s that whole notion of whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. So as long as you’re not killing yourself, but that’s the magic of exercises is, is a stressor, same as getting yelled out by your boss as driving all over the place with your kids. Like all those things are stressors on our bodies. And the idea that we can somehow undo another stressor by putting another stressor on top of it. So let’s say your, your idea is I’m going to stress my body out really hard at the gym, in order to go and stress my body out hard at the club, but it just doesn’t add up. So I really one of the big things I’d like to one of my life goals is to dispel this myth that somehow doing something virtuous, like exercise is going to undo something unvirtuous like, I knew a fellow who used to smoke. And he said, Well, it’s okay, because I run true. Oh, my goodness, yeah, it kind of leans into this conversation that we have about vices, right, the kind of this in the morality of some of our decisions, and I work really hard to try to get people out of the, the absolute type of thinking, and I think that’s really kind of where that notion comes from that idea of I gotta go, be good. Yeah. So I can therefore then be bad. And we need to really work at moving away from absolutes of good, bad, right, wrong, and work towards better in my opinion all the time so that we’re working on better choices, whether it’s better choices with alcohol, better choices with fitness better choices with food, it when we don’t when we frame our world into right or wrong, good or bad. It it sets us up I think for those four even worse decisions and, and failures right away. Like, you know what I mean? Because we’re we’re setting ourselves up we because and then there’s that thinking that comes along with it. Of Well, I’ve already screwed up. Right? So I might as well just keep going. Or I you know, if and then if you’re somebody who’s making all those fitness choices, you’re doing really well. And you stumble or you have a drink, you’re like, Oh, well, I’ve just thrown away the whole week, I’m screwed. Now I may as well just give up. Which is not the way we want to live our lives. No, it’s it really does this idea of good and bad and right and wrong. And placing morality on everything that we do is it really sets us up for disordered eating for disordered drinking for disordered exercising, like we we get these ideas in our head that really are well, they’re physiologically incorrect. And also mentally and emotionally damaging. I’m, I’m also a cognitive behavioral therapy practitioner, and we spend a lot of time in CBT, talking about the stories that we tell ourselves and how they affect how we behave and how we react to situations. And the stories we tell ourselves are often not even our own stories. They’re stories that we’ve heard from our parents, from our grandparents, from television, from books from religion, there’s just all this information that ends up becoming our core belief system, even though we didn’t choose it. And we didn’t set it up for ourselves. And I think exercise and alcohol definitely fall into that there’s that temperance movement that happened when was that 1930 That has this lasting effect. It has a grip on us still, even though we can buy alcohol pretty much anywhere. I live in Canada, so not quite as freely available as it is in the US. But even though that’s been over for as long as it has 90 years, we still have the lasting moral judgment that’s placed on it, which does set us up for executing our own habits in our own behaviors in a disordered way based on an outdated belief system that never served us in the first place. It was all about controlling the masses not about actually looking after the human population. So yeah, it’s a it was a really difficult thing for us to get over and it’s something that I work on a lot with about exercise too is we have spent a lot of time in school often us teachers use exercise as punishment. Mm hmm. But if you’ve been bad or didn’t perform correctly, do a lap drop and give me 20 years, something like that. So it ends up we set up this what we’re supposed it’s supposed to be something that’s benefiting us and making us feel good and making us stronger and making us more capable. And instead, it’s a punishment, and making us feel demoralized and, and ashamed of ourselves. And so that belief system gets set up at an early age as well. And this, it just all leads to really disordered behavior around well, how we eat, how we move, how we believe, and what we use as a coping mechanism. Right. So So for people that are that are using alcohol to unwind and and see that as the way to change how they’re feeling, not understanding. I know, I’ve studied a lot of CBT to during my process of changing my, my drinking habits. And really that was, I think it’s something that we’ve, well, I won’t go down all this rabbit hole, because I’ll go there forever. But it’s certainly something that I really feel like we are we’ve done a disservice to our children, not making them understand, from a very early age, the connection between our thoughts and our feelings and our actions. And we placed so much emphasis on the action, just what we were taught, you know, more on that and what’s happening as opposed to what’s, what’s really driving all of that. And so there’s a lot to be learned there for sure. So hopefully, in our conversation today, we can help people change some beliefs around like, I’m being virtuous by doing this run. So I deserve to have this this beer or two or 10, as the studies had been having. Yeah, so I actually made a broken out sort of the the evidence or the the things I think were most relevant to our conversation today. Awesome. In terms of sort of some categories. So I don’t know if Should we just jump into some more some colors? Yeah. So I thought, you know, the first thing that that people think of when when you’re drinking alcohol, or some people think of this first thing I think of is the dehydration effect of it. That’s what I think of. Yeah, so you’re, you’re having a few beers, you’re going to the bathroom repeatedly. And and of course, there there is some dehydration that’s happening there. And in terms of sport performance, and especially sport recovery, or even just fitness recovery. Hydration really does play a key role not quite as big a role is I think a lot of people who carry around their little water bottle with them all day, but we do want to maintain decent hydration and of course, exercise dehydrate to especially if you’re like me and sweat profusely. I’m a very heavy sweater and then coupling that with in alcohol there’s a there’s a substance that inhibits the release of a hormone called antidiuretic hormone or vasopressin. And it’s sort of a it’s a bit of a double negative there. I said it inhibits an anti diuretic, right, right. Right. So basically, it’s, it’s, it’s you’re dehydrating yourself because the hormone is meant to actually maintain water balance. But if it’s inhibited, then of course, your your flushing that out. And they found the Journal of Applied Physiology actually showed that alcohol in doses less than point four nine grams per kilogram of body weight, which is about three or four standard alcoholic drinks, okay, actually doesn’t affect your your rehydration, like so if you are drinking, let’s say a beer I guess because that’s got a lot of water in it or a cocktail that’s got a lot of soda water or something. It won’t, it won’t undo the hydration effect of the rest of that drink. Okay, so Gotcha. So we’ve got I think that’s a that’s a reasonable amount of say reasonable in quotation marks amount of drinks to have if you’re truly celebrating and you really want to enjoy yourself with alcohol after an event. So we’re we’re thinking the bubble folks. So it just so clarity there is the low risk limits for alcohol here in the US are for women, it would be no more than three standard drinks in one day, and for men, no more than four. So you’re three to four. You’re right there for both men and women. And I think this information kind of lines up the same with caffeine, I’m pretty sure you’ve covered on the, on the podcast in the past the that, like people have this idea that coffee is dehydrating, but it actually isn’t dehydrating, dehydrating enough to undo the actual water content that’s in the coffee in the coffee. So it’s same sort of idea here. So not a not a huge concern within those realms of amounts and drinks. So then I started thinking about well refueling then because you know, when you exercise, we deplete our body. There’s a thing called glycogen that we story and our muscles and our bones and our liver. And that’s what we turned into into energy and it’s really just carbohydrate. It’s what our body does with carbohydrate stores it away allows us to do X Your size. Now, this is one of those ones where they, one of the studies where they took cyclists and they put them on a bike and gave them give them a bunch of bunch of alcohol after a workout that either was alcohol and carbohydrate or alcohol, and not that much carbohydrate. And they found that across the board, it actually did impair our ability to use to refuel our muscles to restore that glycogen. And again, you don’t have to be a cyclist to to be concerned with this. If you have kids, if you have a job, if you have ambition outside of doing just your your bicycle race or whatever, you still want to have energy, we need energy in our bodies in order to enjoy ourselves. So if we’re impairing our ability to replenish those, those carbohydrates, and that just means we’re probably going to hit the couch and feel kind of rotten for for the rest of the day. For people that have experienced the after effects of having more alcohol than they wanted to. and lack of energy, I think is probably probably something fairly I don’t know if people attribute that to worse sleep, but it might be just because their body’s actually not recovering properly. Well, and it really leads into the next day, if you haven’t replenished your your glycogen stores, you don’t have your normal energy levels, maybe you have a bit of a hangover, you sent me an article or some information about about the hangovers, I actually wasn’t aware of the dangers of heart. arrhythmias, from being from from being hungover and exercising. And when we exercise we do actually raise our blood pressure, temporarily our blood pressure goes pretty darn high when we’re exercising, especially if we’re exercising hard or lifting heavy weights. So having a the, the chance of an arrhythmia while you’re also pushing your your blood pressure through the roof is a very dangerous combination. But even aside from that, you’re if you haven’t refueled your your muscles and you’re feeling kind of low GI and your your central nervous system is depressed as it is when we drink alcohol for quite a considerable amount of hours afterwards, while exercising while you’re hungover is again what I was talking about earlier, you’re placing a stressor on top of a stressor on top of a stressor, right. And this is not benefiting you in the long run unless you can take that time to really let your body recover. And well, that’s not what what people are looking for most of the time, or that’s not how they’re behaving. A lot of the time. So. So this refueling idea is is not only for, like I said, it’s not only for people who are going out and racing. It’s just for having a good life. We want to feel we want to have that step. Yeah, absolutely. So okay, so we’ve talked about hydration, we’ve talked about refueling, what else is there that you’ve that you’ve gleaned or uncovered for the relationship between alcohol and exercise? Well, and this is another one of those topics that I think is easy to just be like, well, well, I don’t want to be a bodybuilder. So what do I care about muscle building. But as we age, when basically by the time we hit the age of 30, our muscle mass starts to be more and more difficult to maintain. And in fact, we usually lose a certain percentage, quite a large percentage, I think it’s around 3%. Don’t quote me on that. But it’s it’s quite high each year after we reach the age of 30 or so. So this isn’t even about being a muscle man or on putting on a bunch of muscle and bulking up. This is about maintaining our our muscle mass, and it’s called sarcopenia is when is the clinical term for that loss of muscle mass that we often see in elderly people and becomes a real problem. So the studies that looked at alcohol and its effect on muscle building looked at a specific thing called muscle protein synthesis. And that’s just looking at how our body processes proteins into into muscle material within our bodies. And across the board. The studies showed that our MPs are muscle protein synthesis was reduced by I’ve got one study that says 24 to 37%, one that says nearly 40%. And this was for 30 to 60 hours after drinking. The NPS was was depressed by up to 40%. So again, they did find that it was dose dependent, but across the board no matter how much alcohol you actually we’re consuming your body’s ability to take that protein and turn it into muscle was inhibited quite substantially. This is super interesting to me. because I’ve been on a weight lifting adventure for the last I’ve started at the beginning of this month. So we’re almost to the end of the month. And so I’ve been going three days a week to the gym and lifting. And this is not something I love to do, folks, this is not something I like to do at all. But I have noticed that my body is I mean, I’m, you know, in my 50s, and I just my body is feeling weaker. I just don’t feel as strong as I used to. And I know that I’ve lost. I mean, I know I’ve lost muscle. And so, really good to know that I am not, you know that I in most of the times that I don’t want to waste to that effort. You know, I don’t want to I don’t love it enough to like be I’m trying to love it. Brock, I’m trying but I don’t love it yet. And I certainly don’t want to offset my my efforts by by drinking. Yeah, you You nailed it on the head. You don’t want to waste that time. So if you’re putting that time in the gym, you want to maximize that effort. So and good for you for realizing for noticing, first of all that you were losing the strength and not feeling as strong and capable as you were before. But even better bravo to you for not just saying, Oh, well, I’m in my 50s What do I expect? This is the refrain that I hear so often. And I’m like, No, that’s the wrong like, take it as a challenge. Not a defeat is what I always want to say like just because it is possible or it does happen where we lose. Like I said, there is that statistic that says we do lose muscle mass and and stuff over time. We can do something about that, which is exactly what you’re doing, which is wonderful on Bravo. Well, yeah, I you know, like I said, go back and listen to my episodes of live happier longer. And you’ll understand that my whole you know, I don’t just the idea that we can’t change our lives and that we’re too old. I spoke to so many so many people that were older in their eye, you would enjoy one of my talk too. Now I’m not able to remember her last name Cheryl grew and I think in Ironman triathlete in was the oldest living woman try Oh, not the iron nun. Yeah, I don’t know if no, not the iron none. I know what you’re talking about this. She’s that she she holds records for the Ironman in Hawaii for finishing in this. You know, she’s she was in her 70s. I mean, incredible. Awesome. I probably saw her race I was at Kona, many years, you probably did. Amazing, amazing lady. And, but the idea that we you know that that being in our 50s is an excuse for slowing down stopping not starting a fitness routine. And for me, like I said, it’s not a matter of, I’m still I definitely have an active lifestyle. I focus on that. But I haven’t been focusing on my strength. And I knew that this was something that I needed to do. Certainly, like I said, don’t want to waste those moments, because I don’t love it yet. So I don’t want to offset that by drinking more than I should. So I you know, everybody knows around here that I am an alcohol minimalist, I use that that name to do. Awesome. And that’s but I like to include alcohol in a minimal way. But I want to know, and so that’s a great way for me to understand, you know, especially the nights before, I’m gonna go to the gym, you know, that might be a perfect night to incorporate an alcohol free night into my my schedule. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And actually, the next topic that I was going to get into is recovery. And this can be injuries or just recovering from a hard workout. The there are a number of studies also looked at at how alcohol affects our ability to recover from a heart workout or from a race or, or from an injury. And there were two things that really stuck out to me, which was that alcohol was shown to lower the acute inflammatory response to tissue injury. And that’s, again, science is so good at just obfuscating the truth, but the point is, is that it delays recovery, if you’re because the inflammatory response is actually what our body does, in order to facilitate healing of a quicker brings a lot of blood and extra goodness to the area. And that helps it recover quicker. So alcohol was shown at any amount to actually lower the acute inflammatory response and it was also it alcohol in general causes a thing called vasodilation. Have you ever talked about that? Yeah, I haven’t talked about it, but I know I’m familiar with it. So it’s what you know, raises blood pressure folks. So yeah, yeah. Basically, it’s relaxing your your blood vessels and And, and that actually also has been shown to increase or to delay healing as well because it’s increasing some, some other sort of byproducts and things that we don’t necessarily want to have in the way of our natural ability to to heal. So those two things together, I, if we’re spending our day after the gym, feeling kind of sore and and pounding, pounding, even just sipping some some cocktails, and nursing our wounds, we’re not actually doing ourselves any favors in terms of being able to bounce back and get back into our active lifestyle as quickly as possible or, again, benefit from that hard work that we did, because we’re inhibiting our body’s own response to heal the damage that we’ve done. And at its base root, I keep going back to the base of exercise, whenever we’re using our muscles beyond well in any way, but beyond sort of the when we get into a challenging workout, or we’re doing something that’s actually challenging our muscles, what’s happening is we’re actually tearing the fibers of the muscle, and this isn’t a bad thing. That’s, that’s how we make it stronger. So we tear those muscle fibers, we tear them apart a little bit, and then the body goes, oh, gotta make that stronger for next time, make sure that this doesn’t happen again. So that’s how we continue to get stronger and maintain our muscle mass or, or tendon elasticity or any of that, that good stuff that we’re looking for. So if we’re impairing our body’s ability to repair those minor little damages that we’re making, again, we’re not going to reap the benefits of the things that we’re doing. And who wants to waste that time? Who wants to waste that time? You know, the, what’s what’s interesting about that is I am my two claims to fame for for big fitness goals where I’ve run two half marathons. Oh, wow. And so yeah, see, oh, well see I get some credit, right. That’s not nothing. But I can tell you that in both instances, post well, both. So in the first one, I can remember this because we actually it was it was the first time I’d ever tried to run a long race like that. I made it. We made it a party. We made a trip out of it. I end with girlfriends. We ran down in San Diego, absolutely beautiful. How was it the Rock and Roll Marathon it was not rock and roll it was actually called it was for it was for ladies, it was called the ladies it was a six there series. They don’t do it anymore. But it was that for women. And it was it was right down along the marina and beautiful, beautiful place. And we we live in Oregon. It rains here all the time. So going to San Diego in February was awesome. And so it was a party weekend, you know, we were running the half marathon. But we the night before I had beers. Definitely when we were done was drinking beers. So now I’m looking back on that thinking, Huh? Huh, might not have been my, you know, my most intelligent efforts there with my running. Yeah, but you know, and this is a sort of a slippery slope. When I when I find myself giving all this kind of information and Pooh poohing alcohol in this way, I always want to reinforce the thought that knowing the information and still choosing to do it, because it means more to you than, like, let’s say this weekend sounds like it was a wonderful time, it was a time with friends it was about socializing, it probably gave you a big boost, and you felt wonderful afterwards. And that can that can be a perfectly good reason to say to throw caution to the wind and say, You know what, that’s not it’s not about building muscle. It’s not about doing the best time I possibly can in this race. It’s not about all the stuff that we’ve been talking about. It’s about having that social aspect and having a really good time with my friends. And I’m sure in your previous podcast, you talked about the the blue zones where people live very long lives and alcohol is a is a portion of that. But it’s also short social alcohol that is the big part is not sitting at home drinking a beer after work feeling sorry for yourself by yourself or sneaking when with your kids. It’s that social aspect and that has so many other benefits above the stuff that we’re talking about right now. So So I give all this information this entire episode isn’t to say, Do not ever choose to drink after a workout otherwise you’re a dummy. That’s not what I’m saying at all and know what’s happening understand what’s going to go on in your body and then make a choice because sometimes as much as I run a weight loss program called weigh less with with Monica Ryan Nico, who was on the podcast, and we always say like, you know, sometimes you look at that piece of cake. And sure if your goal is to be someone who weighs less, you probably shouldn’t eat that piece of cake. There’s no two ways around it, the cake is not going to help you in your, in your goals, but making the decision to say, You know what, right now in this moment, that cake, I’m going to enjoy that cake and the what’s happening around it. Feeling the camaraderie, feeling the love from the people that I’m with, makes it worthwhile, and then just don’t do it the next time because it’s about consistency. Everything is about consistency. It’s what we do most often, that determines how we function and how we live our lives and how the outcomes we have. It’s not about those one off moments, it’s not about the one trip that you went to San Diego and ran with your, with your friends. It’s about what you do in between now and that next time you go to San Diego and run with your friends and, and drink alcohol. So I we should have started the show off with that huge caveat of this isn’t saying don’t ever do it. It’s just know the risks, know what you’re getting into and make an informed decision? Yeah, absolutely. Well, that’s kind of my mantra around here is not you know, it’s not to say never. But one of the things that I think is interesting about that, and I you know, I mentioned it, and that whole weekend and everything. And you talked about the social aspect of it is I’m always challenging people, you have to think your thoughts because I, I used to always associate, right? I couldn’t imagine going out with friends and not drinking, right? While they were drinking. Right. So that concept and that whole again, it’s really more about how I’m framing alcohol in my life and what I’m choosing about it, so it isn’t that I that I am looking back on it and going, you know, oh yeah, I mean, I’m kind of jokingly saying, Oh, it probably wasn’t my best my best decision based on just knowing what I had done to my body in terms of the the athletic stress. But at the same time, it’s also interesting to look back on it and think that I can remember drinking the night before the you know, like I wanted to do that I wanted that alcohol. And, you know, now looking back, and now where I am now in my journey, like not just enjoying the fact that I was in San Diego, with my gay friends that I was there. And and that being the part that I wanted to focus on, right. And so it’s a different mindset. Definitely. And no, folks, I’m never going to tell you that you can’t ever you shouldn’t ever drink again. That’s not what I that’s not what I believe. But we do want to maximize the benefits of drinking. And so absolutely. A social occasion is a better decision. Right? Yeah, then definitely then drinking alone by yourself. And we want to maximize the benefit, minimize the harm. So, right. Stick to those low risk limits. I don’t think I was sticking to the low risk limits back then. No, I wasn’t. Yeah. And so regardless, wasn’t good for my athletic performance wasn’t good for my health in general. Yeah. And I guess actually, the next the next thing, and I’m not gonna get too much into this, you actually alluded to it earlier, and you have a whole episode about sleep. And and the only thing I’m going to bring to that conversation in case you guys haven’t heard the episode with Dr. James moss. Yeah, that was wonderful. You had so much great information. And the only thing that I can really add to that is that in the fitness world, we look at sleep as our number one recovery tool. Like there’s the billion dollar industry of coming up with all these crazy Squeezy pants that you can put on all kinds of supplements you can take and ice baths and all of this stuff that’s supposed to help with your recovery. And all of them. Sure some of them have are efficacious, they do have some effect on us. But the most number one hands down recovery tool is a good night’s sleep. And if you’re losing that because of alcohol consumption, because we know we don’t get into that deep sleep, which is the real restorative part of our sleep where things like growth hormone and testosterone and and things just from, from a purely physiological standpoint, that’s when they are released and do their do their magic. If you’re not doing that, then again, you’re robbing yourself of many of the benefits you’ve given yourself by by doing that workout that you’re not enjoying quite so much. Right now, Molly, but but you will. I’m trying I’m getting there. And if you’re not getting the sleep, then you’re not getting the full benefits of it. So that’s all those reasons. You know, I could probably do an episode on sleep like every other month just to reiterate the importance of it. I don’t think we I and we’re talking about it a little but the the neuroplasticity the neuroscience for sleep is so incredibly important. And you know yes, go back and listen to it folks with Dr. Moss but the idea The thing with sleep and alcohol is that it doesn’t this is one of those cases where really, truly, it doesn’t take very much to disrupt our sleep patterns. So it is still dose dependent, you’re just having one drink, you probably won’t notice the big difference in your sleep habit or your sleep, you know, your sleep cycles, but anything over that and you’re stuck, you’re gonna start impacting your sleep cycles. And sleep is, is probably number one. It’s also super important for weight loss, too. I know you guys probably talked about that in weight loss, because it’s it’s recuperative, restorative for the body, whether you’re training in fitness, whether you are trying to lose just in life. I mean, it’s where your brain I, and we talked about this on the My previous podcast, too, because it basically is like, your brain gets washed all of these toxins during the day contracts, and expands and pushes that fluid in and out, which actually does wash our brain. It’s amazing. Yeah, and I mean, so yeah, it’s, you know, it’s a non negotiable folks brain getting good sleep, it should be a non negotiable for you. And alcohol is definitely a disruptor for that. So whether or not you are trying to incorporate a new fitness routine that’s going to impact your recovery in with sleep. So we’re hearing it all together, right, folks, just it’s not going to help you out if you’re especially if you’re drinking more than you more than those low risk limits. One of the more legendary coaches out there in the triathlon world, Dr. Phil Maffetone. He once said, jokingly, I want to make sure that it’s clear that he was joking, but there is some truth to it. He said, If you’re going to be a drinker, be a day drunk, because then it won’t affect your sleep. Well, I think Dr. Moss told me, you know, 2pm was the cutoff for it’s also the cutoff for caffeine cut off her chocolate got up for I was like, that’s a problem. I actually, I was cycling through Holland a couple of years ago before the pandemic and all of that went on a cycling trip through Denmark and Holland and Sweden and stuff. It was a wonderful trip. But that part of the world is so engaged in cycling that they’ve actually invented a beer, called the Rattler, and I know that it’s available much more widely. Now you can buy them even in liquor stores near me on Vancouver Island. But the Radler is a very low alcohol beer that has juice mixed in. So some fruit juice, usually like grapefruit juice or something like that. And the electrolytes that actually come with the juice are also in there. And there were some really cool studies in in Germany back in 2011, showing that beer actually can have and this is the one one caveat, and I’ll explain why I’m why I’m saying this, but one caveat where they actually did find that an alcoholic beverage actually did help with with recovery. And it actually it did things like support immune function. It lowered stress from from the exercise and things like that, but they actually they concocted this very specific type of beer that was very low alcohol mixed with things had some added salt, and electrolytes and stuff, and they actually found that it’s, it did help rehydrate. It helps with recovery, it boosted immune function and stuff like that. But when you see these headlines, and they’re touting all the benefits, you’ve talked in the past about the red wine articles about Yeah, red wine is so hard, healthy, they don’t and they’re not comparing it against say a handful of blueberries which also contains a lot of poly phenols and stuff they’re comparing it against other alcohols are against nothing. This same idea when you see these kinds of headlines about beer being healthy and boosting your immune function need to really take a closer look at it because in this case it it was compared against other beers so it’s the better of two evils I suppose which is a good thing and yeah, and honestly I did enjoy a number of rattlers while I was riding through Germany and Holland and I have to explore rattlers. I haven’t found those yet down here and those sounds delightful. I like a low alcohol. But what I noticed in that article, I think, Brock, that you even They even showed in that study, which I am a huge fan of was that the non alcoholic beers were beneficial. So it’s the things that are those antioxidants, the things that are in beer that are not the alcohol part. Yes. Right. But the other stuff that’s in it that proved to be that were actually good, right for recovery. Yeah, it really was. And you know, I’ve been doing my own. I wouldn’t say it’s an experiment is turned into an experiment. It wasn’t I began as I’m turning 50 On Tuesday, happy birthday, thank you. And for the at the end of April, I decided that I was going to just take a take a real break from from alcohol and sort of just steal my resolve, make myself as ready and able and fit and mentally healthy as I possibly could, within reason for doing anything completely kooky because I don’t believe in extremes. But so I arrived at my 50th birthday feeling really confident and capable. And one of the things I chose to do was to eliminate alcohol. Now, I’m like you, I’m an alcohol minimalist. So in those three months, since I’ve made that decision, I have had three drinks. Very specific times when I felt like it was going to actually make me make me enjoy the moment a little bit more make me feel like I wasn’t just being wasn’t just holding on with willpower and, and stuff. But I have actually found that, you know, the benefits that all the things that we’ve talked about in this episode, I didn’t change anything about my exercise program. Because I’ve spent years dialing that in, I got that all all sorted out. I didn’t change anything about that. But you can see more most muscle definition I’ve increased my benchpress by 10 pounds, there are all these things that are just sort of bubbling to the surface. And showing me that this is this really does work in practical terms, not just in a scientific study in a test tube somewhere. And non alcoholic beer actually played a good role for it for me in this endeavor as well. There are so many great craft breweries out there that are making the NA beers right now. So it’s not just the the Molson point five, or the old duals, or those kinds of beers that predominantly were in the in the grocery stores over the last few years, I’m actually like, I’m able to choose a white ale or an IPA or Pilsner or something and have those. And in terms of like the cognitive behavior therapy part that we were talking about earlier. It’s not usually the alcohol and this is this is one of those things that I’ve really discovered over the years is we’re not after the alcohol. Most of the time, in those drinks were actually after the feeling of completion, or the feeling of celebration, or the feeling of giving yourself a treat. And I have found personally, this when I finished, let’s say, mowing the lawn on a hot day, nothing better than a cold beer or cold, something root beer, whatever it happens to be, whatever your beverage of choice is, after you finish that, for me, a beer is a wonderful thing. The non alcoholic beer completely filled that void because I, I chose one specifically that I was really looking forward to the flavor, I put it into a pint glass from one of our local breweries. So it looked really nice. And I sat down and enjoyed it the way that I would anything else. And I did not miss the alcohol. And I think that was a real reinforcement of belief that I had, but that I hadn’t really collected the evidence on, you know, the idea of collecting evidence to do something once and you’re like, hey, that worked. But then if you never do it again, you don’t really collect more and more evidence to realize that that is, but it is true. And it is possible to enjoy yourself with friends or after mowing the lawn without having alcohol. Yeah. So in these three months, I’ve reinforced that idea more and more that it’s not about the alcohol, it was about doing something fun for myself giving myself a little bit of a boost doing something that for a lot of people I think it is signifying the end of your work day can be the the big thing that that we use alcohol for. It’s like okay, well, I’ve had the cocktail. So work is done. Now it’s time to relax. But we can achieve that without the alcohol. And that was something that I really, really enjoyed learning yet again, and reinforcing with myself. So I may not stay in this in this minimal of, of a usage of of alcohol. But the the information that I’ve gained from doing this experiment will stick with me for the rest of my life. I can always remind myself like, hey, wait a second. Do you want alcohol? Or do you really just want a nice refreshing beverage to sit down and signify the end of your day? It’s really interesting that you’re talking about this. I actually just had folks at moderation management reach out and we were having a conversation because the New York Times had reached out to them and was asking about a comment that somebody scientists had made about how non alcoholic beverage is our triggers for people that have a problem, or have had been heavy drinkers. And I have the complete opposite opinion, I believe just like you do I believe that non alcoholic beverages, I’m not sure. I mean, not sure, it would have taken me longer, I think to change my drinking habits had I not had non alcoholic beverages, because I really like the flavor. I like a cold beer on a hot afternoon. I like the flavor of that. And so, but like you, I really, I found, I came to understand that it wasn’t the alcohol that I really wanted, I but I do enjoy the flavor. I do enjoy that and the ritual around that as well. So it’s, so I’m glad to know that that’s that you’re finding that too. And, you know, whatever that looks like for all of you and moving forward. I’m glad that that’s what you’re learning as well. Yeah. So yeah, so the upshot really is just if you follow those same guidelines that Molly You talked about quite often on on this podcast, you will also be maximizing your your fitness efforts as well. So just making sure that you’re you’re following your you’re following the good health guidelines using alcohol. I don’t want to say responsibly because again, that’s that’s placing a lot of judgment on it using it in a way that aligns with your biology. How about that? Is that? Yeah, no. And and it will work in your fitness life as well. Awesome. Wow, Brock, this has been for, you know, folks, we will not bore you with the technical details. But there have been some here during our podcast, and Brock and I have you know, locked arms and made it through and I really can’t wait to share all of this great information with everybody. Such a wonderful guest to have I appreciate it, Brock, so much just your wealth of knowledge, your experience in this realm. And I’m going to make all of those links, folks, links to the article, Brock wrote about alcohol and fitness. Also just all of the ways that you can engage with him where you can find him both on the change Academy podcast with Monica, right Nagle, the weight loss program, and all the other things because he’s a busy guy, you’re a busy guy. And Molly, I want you to listen to my upgraded fitness podcast, because some of the stuff that you said earlier about not being not enjoying your workouts, but you’re enjoying the outcome of it. There are ways to do it. And this is totally off topic for this, this podcast. But one of the things that I really do get into is making sure that we are enjoying our movement, relationships, and we’re enjoying the things that we’re doing for ourselves. Because if we’re just swallowing our exercise program, like some yucky medicine and hoping for the best, that’s pretty unlikely to be sustainable and unlikely to stick around. And there are so many other ways to do it. So so please, I hate that I will definitely enjoy. I will definitely be tuning in Brock and I’m working on my own thoughts about it. Because honestly, I do enjoy getting stronger. And I really just have to reframe the whole, you know, it’s really not that bad when I put my mind in the right spot. And I really could get used to it. And I know and I have to have that very same thought like if I keep thinking this way, it won’t be sustainable. So I need to work on my own thoughts around it for sure. So upgraded fitness. Check it out. It’s everywhere you get audio. Awesome. Awesome. So many great resources. So many great tools here, folks. And again, Brock Armstrong, thank you so much for being on the show today. Thanks, Molly. Thank you for listening to breaking the bottle legacy. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Take something that you learned in today’s episode and apply it to your life this week. Transformation is possible. You have the power to change your relationship with alcohol. Now, for more information, please visit me at www dot Molly watts.com