Should I Stop Drinking to Excel in Boxing? Expert Insights and Tips

Why do you drink?

Before we talk about the effects of alcohol, we must discuss the reasons you actually drink it

Understanding the reason you drink can be a key variable to replacing whatever hole that alcohol is currently filling.

Unfortunately many delude themselves when asked, “Why do you drink” and they give answers like “It relieves stress”, “It makes me feel more confident”, or “it reduces my anxiety”.

These aren't actually the reasons, they’re just the positive effects. 

To get to the actual root of the problem you need to go another level deeper and ask yourself 

  • Why am I so stressed?
  • Why do I need an external source of confidence?
  • What is the cause of my anxiety?

And the problem is that these are some difficult questions to answer. 

Obviously, we don't know you and so we can’t answer these questions for you. 

However, if you can find a way to come up with truthful and meaningful answers then you are at least one step closer to curing this addiction.

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How it will affect your boxing

We all know that alcohol consumption has negative effects on your brain and body

So in this post, I won't be discussing certain effects like “damage to the gut lining” or “the effect on neurons in the brain”

This post is strictly about how this will affect your performance as a boxer

Short-term effects:

In this case “short-term effects” is another way of saying hangovers 

And these hangovers can and will affect your ability to box and train at maximum performance. 

But exactly how will it do this?

Physical Impairment

Hangovers often come with physical symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, and decreased coordination. These can affect your boxing training by reducing your strength, endurance, and overall physical performance.


Alcohol dehydrates the body. 

This dehydration can lead to decreased energy levels, muscle cramps, and poor focus, all of which can hinder your boxing training.

Reduced Cognitive Function

Hangovers can negatively impact your mental clarity, concentration, and reaction time. 

Boxing requires mental focus and quick decision-making, so any impairment in these areas can affect your ability to effectively execute your boxing techniques and strategies.

Mood and Motivation

Hangovers often come with feelings of irritability, anxiety, and low mood. These psychological effects can dampen your motivation and enthusiasm for training, making it harder to push through intense workouts or maintain a positive mindset.

Should I stop drinking?

Disrupted Sleep Patterns

Alcohol disrupts the quality of your sleep, and a lack of proper rest can impact your recovery and performance. Adequate sleep is essential for muscle repair, cognitive function, and overall physical and mental health. So this lack of sleep essentially amplifies the effects stated above

Long-term effects:

If it is a one-time thing and you manage to push through the consequences then you should be ok in the long term.

However, if you continue to drink and train(not at the same time) then there will be some serious long-term effects 

Even once you have recovered from the hangover such as…

Increased Risk of Injuries

Alcohol abuse can impair coordination, balance, and reaction time, increasing the risk of injuries during training or bouts. Reduced motor skills and slower reflexes can make it more challenging to dodge punches, counter effectively, or execute defensive maneuvers.

Decreased Physical Performance

Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to decreased cardiovascular fitness, muscle weakness, and reduced stamina. These physical impairments can hinder your boxing performance, making it harder to maintain the required intensity, endurance, and speed during training and fights.

Impaired Recovery and Muscle Growth

Alcohol disrupts the body's ability to recover and repair itself after intense workouts. It can hinder muscle protein synthesis, delay muscle recovery, and compromise the growth and development of lean muscle mass. This can impede your progress in boxing and limit your overall physical capabilities.

Cognitive Impairment

Prolonged alcohol abuse can have detrimental effects on cognitive function, including memory loss, decreased attention span, and difficulties with decision-making. In boxing, mental clarity, focus, and strategic thinking are crucial. Alcohol-induced cognitive impairments can affect your ability to effectively analyze your opponent's moves, anticipate actions, and execute tactical maneuvers.

Impacted Emotional Well-being

Alcohol abuse can contribute to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and mood swings. These emotional disturbances can affect your motivation, confidence, and overall mental well-being, potentially compromising your performance and enjoyment of boxing.

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What to expect once you quit

If you decide that you dont want to go through the painful effects and symptoms stated above then I personally applaud you and wish you the best of luck

But I also warn you that if you do have a serious addiction then this will be a challenging and mentally straining task

So to make it slightly less challenging, 

Here is a rough outline of what to expect for the withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal Symptoms

Within 6-12 hours

Mild symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and headache may begin. These early symptoms are often referred to as "the shakes."

12-24 hours

Withdrawal symptoms can escalate, including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, sweating, gastrointestinal distress (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), and confusion.

48-72 hours 

This period is considered the peak of withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may intensify, and individuals may experience hallucinations, agitation, severe anxiety, and seizures (in severe cases).

3-5 days

As the acute withdrawal phase subsides, symptoms gradually begin to improve. However, some individuals may continue to experience lingering symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.

Note* These are similar to hangover symptoms however there are some distinct differences.

Hangovers typically occur after a single episode of heavy drinking and are characterized by physical and mental discomfort. 

They arise due to the direct effects of alcohol on the body, such as dehydration, disrupted sleep patterns, and the production of toxic byproducts during alcohol metabolism.

On the other hand, withdrawal symptoms manifest in individuals who have developed a physical dependence on alcohol and abruptly cease or significantly reduce their alcohol intake. 

Withdrawal symptoms can be more severe and include a range of physical and psychological manifestations, indicating the body's adaptation to chronic alcohol consumption. 

Understanding the difference between hangovers and withdrawal symptoms can help clarify the distinct challenges associated with excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence.


As I mentioned earlier, this is a challenging thing to accomplish, and now that you understand what you have to overcome 

You are already one step closer

But now you have to actually overcome these symptoms which is the hard part

Although it is hard, you can still do it if you can avoid these 3 common pitfalls that often lead to an early relapse…

1. The “just 1-time” excuse. The fact that you have an addiction means that you are unable to control yourself and so as soon as you experience the rush from alcohol


2. The “this is the last time” excuse. Exact same reason as the first point. You can’t control yourself, so just remove it completely

3. Forgetting that the only way to truly get rid of withdrawal symptoms is to wait it out. At some point your going to feel like this feeling will never end and the only way to get rid of it is with alcohol. 

You must remember that alcohol is the cause for the the symptoms and not the solution. So as hard as it might get you need to FIGHT THROUGH IT.

Because their is always light at the end of the tunnel

Short term Benefits:

After you get over the withdrawal symptoms you will notice many short-term benefits that will actually improve your training such as…

Elevated Testosterone Levels

By quitting alcohol, you give your body the opportunity to experience increased testosterone levels, 

Leading to improved muscle growth, enhanced strength gains, and better athletic performance in the boxing ring. 

Higher testosterone levels can contribute to increased power, speed, and agility, giving you an edge over your opponents.

Better Sleep

By eliminating alcohol, you can experience improved sleep, with fewer interruptions and deeper, more restorative rest. 

Quality sleep allows your body to recover and repair, enhancing your physical readiness, reaction time, and mental focus during training and competition. 

With better sleep, you'll feel more energized, mentally sharp, and ready to give your best in the boxing ring.

Clearer Thinking and Focus

By quitting alcohol, you'll experience clearer thinking and improved focus, enabling you to better analyze and anticipate your opponents' actions, react swiftly, and execute precise techniques.

This enhanced mental acuity can give you a competitive advantage, allowing you to outsmart and outmaneuver your opponents in the boxing ring.

Improved Mood

By quitting alcohol, you can experience an improved mood, feeling more positive, emotionally stable, and capable of enjoying the journey of boxing. 

A positive mindset can help you stay motivated during training, bounce back from setbacks, and maintain a strong mental state during intense bouts, enhancing your overall performance in the ring.

Long-term benefits:

If you manage to keep this streak of sobriety (which I know you will) then you will also get to experience the more crucial long-term effects such as…

Improved liver health

As a boxer, maintaining a healthy liver is crucial for optimal performance. 

Conditions such as fatty liver, hepatitis, and cirrhosis can impair liver function and compromise your overall health. 

By quitting alcohol, you give your liver a chance to heal and reduce the risk of long-term liver damage, ensuring that your body can efficiently process nutrients, detoxify harmful substances, and support your physical performance in the ring.

Reduced risk of chronic diseases 

Long-term excessive alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of various chronic diseases, which can hinder your boxing aspirations. 

Conditions such as heart disease, liver cancer, breast cancer, mouth cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders can have a detrimental impact on your overall health and athletic performance. 

By abstaining from alcohol, you can significantly lower your risk of developing these diseases, ensuring that you can focus on your boxing career with a healthier and stronger body.

Enhanced mental well-being 

By eliminating alcohol, you may experience improved mood, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, and better overall mental well-being. 

This enhanced mental state can help you maintain a positive mindset, cope with the pressures of training and competition, and perform at your best in the boxing ring.

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Stronger immune system 

As a boxer, maintaining a strong immune system is essential to prevent illnesses and stay in optimal health. 

Alcohol weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and illnesses that can disrupt your training and competition schedule. 

By quitting alcohol, you can help boost your immune system, reducing the risk of infections and ensuring that your body can effectively fight off illnesses. 

This will support your overall health, improve your ability to recover from intense training sessions and keep you in top form for boxing.

Improved relationships and quality of life 

By giving up alcohol, you can rebuild and strengthen relationships, enhance your focus and dedication to training, and improve your overall quality of life. 

This positive shift in your personal life can create a supportive environment for your boxing journey, allowing you to thrive both inside and outside the ring.


In conclusion, while it is possible to drink and still become a good boxer, it comes with significant challenges and disadvantages.

Alcohol consumption can impair physical abilities, hinder training, and lead to long-term negative effects on performance.

And even though Quitting alcohol is an extremely difficult task

It is also a very achievable goal that can bring numerous benefits, 

Including elevated testosterone levels, better sleep, improved focus, enhanced mood, liver health, reduced risk of chronic diseases, stronger immune system, and overall improved quality of life. 

So recognizing the impact of alcohol on boxing performance and making the decision to quit can pave the way for a brighter future as a boxer, with enhanced physical capabilities, mental clarity, and overall well-being.

If you enjoyed this blog post and would like to be notified when we release future blog posts about “changing habits” and “what is dopamine” 

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Also, we understand that one big problem associated with alcohol addiction is depression. 

So if you also fight this battle every day then Click Here to read our “full no bullshit guide to getting over depression” to help you win whether you decide to give up alcohol or not.


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