Every single day I receive emails from aspiring muscle-builders from all over the world, and to my surprise one of the most common questions I’m asked is whether or not drinking really affects the muscle growth process? I’m somewhat sorry to say it, but yes, too much alcohol will definitely have a significantly negative impact on your muscle-building results.
After a long hard weekend of partying, I’d say alcohol and muscle gains is a good subject to talk about today. Quite honestly, alcohol is far more harmful than most people think, or are led to believe and it’s very important that you understand how this drug (yes, alcohol is a drug) is affecting your progress in the gym. This is by no means an anti-drug speech, but if you’re serious about achieving a truly impressive physique, you should definitely be aware of the 5 main reasons alcohol is slowing down your gains and ultimately negating your progress.
1) It negatively affects protein synthesis.
Protein synthesis is the process where amino acids are joined together to form complete proteins. Excessive alcohol consumption slows this process down by up to 20%, and since your muscles are made up of protein, I am sure you can see how this is a problem.
2) It lowers testosterone levels and increases estrogen.
By now I am sure you have heard that testosterone is the most important muscle-building hormone in your body. One of the main limiting factors that determine how much muscle a person can gain is their level of free-flowing testosterone. Once you start raising the estrogen levels you are much more susceptible to prostate issues like cancer and hypertrophy, man boobs, depression, irritation or aggression due to the hormonal imbalance, weight gain, and not the good kind, low sex drive or even impotency… I am sure there are plenty more but this is what I have off the top of my head.
3) It causes dehydration.
The kidneys must filter very large amounts of water in order to break down the alcohol, and this can result in severe dehydration within the body. Water plays an absolutely crucial role in the muscle-building process, and being even slightly dehydrated is a recipe for disaster. The muscles alone are comprised of 70% water. If you feel thirsty, you are most likely already dehydrated, that is definitely something to keep in mind especially for you athletes.
4) It depletes the body of vitamins and minerals.
Alcohol consumption causes vitamins A, C, the B’s, calcium, zinc and phosphorus to all be drained at rapid rates. Vitamins and minerals keep every little process in your body functioning properly, and many of these processes involve muscle growth and maintenance.
5) It increases fat storage.
With 7 empty calories per gram, alcohol can actually be quite fattening. Alcohol also disrupts the Krebs Cycle, which plays an important role in fat burning.
It’s important to have fun in life, but too much fun can lead to problems. Everybody likes to have a good time, but if you’re serious about achieving significant muscle-building results, than you are definitely going to want to monitor your intake of alcohol and make sure that you are consuming it only in moderation. A few drinks here and there shouldn’t be a problem, but if you find yourself drinking every weekend you can almost certainly kiss your muscle gains goodbye.
If you do decide to go out and party, make sure to drink plenty of water and to properly nourish yourself with vitamins/minerals and a protein rich meal
I don’t recommend revolving your entire life around your muscle-building program, as this can lead you astray from your friends and family, so don’t be afraid to go out and have a good time once in a while. Just make sure to keep your drinking nights infrequent (no more than once a month) and properly nourish yourself to lessen its effects. As long as you monitor what you’re doing you can achieve an impressive physique and have a social life at the same time. I hope this info helped or opened some of your eyes.