How to make alcohol less bad?

Of course, having no benefit, alcohol is not the best thing to consume but some of us enjoy ourselves very much when we drink.
That being said which would potentially be least destructive to an athlete in general:

  • 2-3 drinks a day 3-4 days a week (read as, Higher frequency but lower volume per instance)
  • 6-9+ drinks in one night once a week or once every other (read as, Lower frequency but moderate to large consumption per instance)

For reference, In my part of the world, a “drink” could be defined as 0,5L 5-6% beer or equivalent.

EDIT: for those of you who are commenting that the quantity I am describing is “not an option”, maybe take the question a bit more general eh?

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I’d lean towards properly drinking every other week.
(Regardless of 4.5+L of beer knocking me out cold.)

Generally for harmful things it’s better to have one (higher) dose occasionally rather than constant exposure day after day.
You’re more likely to enjoy the drunk night and will be building less tolerance to alcohol I think.
The day after will be more painful, but at the same time you will be unaffected the following 13 days as opposed to constantly having alcohol, or it’s waste products, in your system.


2-3 drinks one night per week.

The existing options aren’t worth considering.


I guess this is what I was trying to get at.

The girl scout cookie analogy from the podcast also came up in my mind but I guess I should treat comfort food differently from alcohol

agree. i cut back from 1-2 a few nights to basically 0 during the week and believe this is a matter of prioritization. I don’t think there is a healthy balance to be achieved here. Balance maybe, but there will be an impact.

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It’s my understanding that health boffins would rather you have one drink a night than binge in one night then go alcohol free for two weeks. 6-9 drinks is excessive, although I’ve done it plenty myself.
Can’t substantiate this but I heard it some time ago


for university students… no… in eastern Europe… forget about it.
Although I am trying to get away from this lifestyle.

Depending on how far before bed you had your 2-3 beers that might be better. From a training perspective, I think its really the sleep/recovery impact you have to focus on, as well as the actual physical circumstances surrounding your drinking i.e. 2 beers at home on the couch is way different on your body than 9 beers (or even 2 beers) while standing up or dancing for several hours at a bar/club… Do you hamper your recovery a little bit 3-4 times a week or massively every week or two?

They are quite different, processing large amounts of alcohol at once puts a high load on your liver and can lead directly to pretty serious liver problems down the road.

Of the two, I would go with the 2-3 drinks option.

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The human condition is the problem there I think.
How many people do you know who consume one drink every day, then still have that one drink when they go out? Be that a wedding ,friends ,cardgame,bar…
As well as the tendency of one drink daily turning into a few drinks now and then ,into a few drinks daily, etc.

I barely touch alcohol anymore but to me personally drinking occasionally carries less risk.
And I think if you drink once/2 weeks, then have a rest day might have less impact on your training than doing it the other way round?


I have observed this too and 100% been part of it. But just because it is culturally accepted doesn’t mean that it isn’t ‘excessive’


How to make less bad… could not stop laughing at the title…

alcohol = poison

Do your homework and find a proper drug to allow you to escape reality!

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I understand this is a generalization but I don’t think it is true. Generally toxic effects of substances follow a dose-response curve.

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If you’re going to do bad things don’t half ass it. You’ll be just as unhappy that you did it, and you don’t get the the full joy of it.

*not a medical professional


Good for you - it’s taken me decades to move away from it, but it’s still pervasive.

I enjoy drinking, but there’s no denying the problems it causes, the huge impact on your mood in the days after, and worst of all…it’s saps the desire to train! :slight_smile:

If you’re in a drinking social situation, try to keep it to one or two drinks, have as much water again (preferably during), with food if possible, and get to bed before midnight (preferably with whoever you were drinking with). :wink:

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Just to clarify from my last post I neither agree with regular low dosage or occasional high, I try to steer away from both. Just trying to relay limited information I thought I’d learned. From the WHO maybe, I don’t know. But as already mentioned, not always practical in real life.


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In the UK there are guidelines for men and women from the maximum recommended weekly limit of alcohol. It’s widely acknowledged that if one was to consume that limit each week, it’s less harmful to have a couple of drinks 3-4 times per week, ensuring a few alcohol free days than to consume it all in one go and have 6 alcohol free days each week.

Disclaimer: I support everyone who accomplishes their personal goals and manages to do what they want and what makes them feel better. Seriously, you should be proud of yourself.

Disclaimer 2: I am not a medical professional (worse: I am in the humanities).

That being said, there’s a frustratingly absolutist tone in these conversations about alcohol. There is plenty of evidence that moderate alcohol consumption (and I mean moderate) has mental health benefits. There are other benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption but the science is unclear on dosage etc.

No need to be dismissive of the OP’s question about wanting to figure out how to minimize the effects on training while also being a normal college student and drink. Let’s keep this on target and help them accomplish their goals, not convince them that they have to have our goals. I have seen absolutely no evidence that drinking occasionally but heavily has any benefits for recovery because the science is not clear that drinking moderately (read: a drink or so after proper recovery nutrition and meals) has all that detrimental effect on recovery in the first place. What we do know is that drinking heavily does have negative effects on recovery and performance.

This has sort of the same character as fat-adapted vs. high-carb nutrition: let’s be proud of what we wanted to and have accomplished and be supportive of other people’s goals. As far as I am concerned, my personal successes count even if other people choose a different path.


Thanks for putting this into words so elegantly. I think the attitude towards answering questions you present is very valid.