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15 Reasons Athletes should avoid alcohol--->, FF Insider#83
January 06, 2010
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Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

15 Reasons Athletes Should Avoid Alcohol Consumption

By Coach J. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, NASE Cert., USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified

Understanding and utilizing balanced, specific nutrition is one of the most important elements in athletic performance. To realize the benefits of a specialized performance training program, athletes must consume the proper foods and beverages (hydration) to repair muscle tissue, hydrate the body, and restore/replace fuel sources in the liver and in muscle. Choosing to neglect proper sports nutrition will have a negative impact on performance, especially in sports that have long and grueling competitive seasons such as wrestling and ice hockey.

Also choosing to abuse the proper nutrition protocols by consuming alcohol, whether it is ‘binge drinking’ or ‘casual drinking’, in relation to specific timing following workout days or competitive events (games, tournaments, etc), will have a negative effect on performance.

For this article, I want to disclose 15 reasons why athletes shouldn’t drink alcohol, especially on days where energy expenditure from games, practices, and/or workouts would dictate proper nutrition for optimal recovery and performance in subsequent events, practices, or workouts.

So, here they are, in no particular order.

15 Reasons why athletes should not consume alcohol:

1. It dehydrates you. Dehydrates muscles don’t function properly, and shut down sooner. Also, dehydration may cause intense headaches and muscle cramping.

2. It delays recovery after exercise by slowing the replacement of muscle and liver glycogen (the body’s primary fuel sources during exercise).

3. It impairs heat regulation. (Again, this can cause a slew of issues, including heat exhaustion and even death).

4. It increases blood pressure.

5. It delays recovery from soft tissue injuries. Injured athletes need to get back into the game and competition ready as quickly as possible—anything slowing down this process should be avoided (seems like a no brainer!).

6. It depletes the body of valuable vitamins and minerals.

7. It slows down reaction time for 72 hours.

8. It impairs coordination for 72 hours.

9. It impairs concentration.

10. It is fattening. It provides a lot of empty calories AND it increases fat storage.

11. It is a depressant.

12. It inhibits protein binding (absorption) which prevents tissue repair following a workout.You might as well throw out your protein shake if you choose to drink alcohol afterwards!

13. It inhibits natural HGH secretion following exercise and/or during sleep.

14. It shrinks muscle tissue.

15. It lowers natural testosterone, and may eventually convert it to estrogen.

To many of us, it seems like common sense why alcohol should be avoided. However, many athletes still choose to consume it and damage their chances of performing at their best. I suggest that next time you get ready to grab a cold one, you think about the effects it may have on your performance.

Special thanks to the University of Louisville strength and conditioning Nutrition newsletter, and Dr. John Berardi.

Plyometrics: Are they safe for young athletes?

By Emily E. Novitsky, BS, CSCS, Finish First Sports Performance Athletic Performance Specialist

According to recent research, plyometrics are safe and effective for youth athletes within the context training. By definition, plyometrics (according to Wikipedia) is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. An example would be multiple bound/jumps or single leg jumps. There has recently been an enormous increase in the interest of this specific training method pertaining to youth athletes. In the following article we will be discussing the implementation of plyometrics into a youth training program and how it is safe/effective.

Most coaches or parents want to know if training (in general) youth athletes is safe, and, according the research--it is “safe.” However more recently the question has changed to the different forms of training for instance for the sake of this article “Is it safe for a youth athlete to be participating in plyometric exercises or training?” Plyometric exercises are safe and effective for youth athletes. It is however very import to teach the proper form and then progressively challenge the athlete. A well rounded trained athlete is definitely capable of performing plyometric exercises. However it is easily misunderstood that plyometrics are a used as a conditioning tool. Although that may be the case for some athletes it shouldn't be for youths. There are other exercises that can be safe and effective for conditioning youth athletes. They can be used, but when it comes to the youth population it is important to strictly work on perfecting exercise technique in these more specialized, more advanced exercises. Just like the saying goes “you have to walk before you can run.” In the case of plyometrics it is the same--the athlete has to be taught how to land and jump properly before they can perform plyometric activities safely.

Keep the volume low and intensity low (low reps and sets, and do not add external resistance) for any new youth athletes beginning plyometric training. Until the youth athlete has mastered the safe and proper technique then there will be a progressive increase in volume and intensity. A progressive example would be a single jump in place then multiple jumps in place. Finally the athlete will progress to the long jump or jump over a distance multiple times.

Plyometrics should be performed at the beginning of a workout because it is powerful movement that is/will be tiring or in a separate session by itself. In order for plyometrics to be effective (when focusing on power, minimizing ground contact time, or rapid ground force production)it is important for the athlete not be tired while performing these exercises--this will hinder the progress and purpose of plyometric training.

In conclusion, it is safe to have youth athletes participating plyometric training. However the athlete has to prove that s/he is strong enough to perform the exercises with perfect technique before the increase of volume or intensity. If you or anyone you may know has questions on youth plyometric training feel free to contact Emily or Jeremy at or call us at 412-787-5070.

Motivational Quotes

"Get up and train while your opponent is sleeping."
-- J Robinson

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
-- Anonymous

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
-- Albert Einstein

"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."
-- Lance Armstrong

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

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