Let’s face it, alcohol is the main beverage that people drink when it comes to social gatherings. Whether you’re at the club, a house party or just a small family gathering alcohol is probably going to be there 9 times out of 10, so as a bodybuilder you’re now wondering about the effects of alcohol on your muscle growth.
Of course drinking alcohol regularly is associated with increasing your chances of many health risks, but all we will focus on in this article is how it effects your hard earned muscle gains, 5 negative side effects to be exact:
1. Inhibits Muscle Protein Synthesis
A few studies have shown that drinking alcohol inhibits protein synthesis, in other words it stops your muscles from growing. The study was done on rats, after they consumed alcohol a decrease in both muscle weight and lean body mass was recorded, which is why researchers believe that alcohol may effect the proteins that activate muscle growth.
Additionally, a different study found that alcohol reduced the production of HGH (human growth hormone) by up to 75%. This growth hormone is extremely important to muscle growth and repair so having it reduced by such a large percentage will slow down the speed at which you gain muscle.
2. Lowers Your Testosterone
The more you drink the lower your testosterone levels will be, in fact when blood alcohol levels are at the peak your testosterone levels will be at its lowest. Having enough testosterone is probably the most important factor when it comes to gaining muscle mass, so when it’s lowered it reduces protein synthesis dramatically.
3. Speeds Up Dehydration
Drinking alcohol dehydrates your muscle cells because it is a diuretic and when your cells aren’t holding enough water it becomes much harder to build muscle. Furthermore, not having enough fluid can decrease blood flow to your muscles which slows down your recovery.
4. Easy To Gain A Lot Of Fat
Each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories and it doesn’t have any beneficial nutrients, so you’re literally taking in empty calories. In 100 grams of 80 proof vodka there’s 231 calories, but it isn’t only high in calories it also slows down your metabolism so if you’re cutting you should never drink alcohol.
5. Slows Down Your Recovery
When it comes to bodybuilding recovery is one of the most important aspects to gaining muscle mass. Drinking alcohol will slow down your recovery and increase your levels of creatine kinase, an enzyme that signals tissues damage.
So Can You Still Drink Alcohol ?
The good news is that you don’t need to give up alcohol to build muscle, although that would be for the best. Now if you would still like to drink when trying to build muscle you’re gonna have to limit yourself to only drinking once a month and no more.
Here are some helpful tips to help minimise the damage that drinking causes to your muscle gains:
- Drink double if not triple the amount of water you would drink on a normal day to make sure you stay hydrated.
- Make sure you’re well fed with nutrient dense foods before you go out for a drink. For example eat some slow digesting protein and complex carbs to ensure your muscles are still getting what it needs to repair itself.
- Don’t drink on the same day as you’re training, but also try to avoid drinking if you’re training the next day because of the negative effects alcohol has on protein synthesis.
To sum up if you like to drink just keep it in moderation like your cheat days and if you have anymore questions about the effects of alcohol on muscle growth then leave it below in the comment section.