Alcohol is far more harmful than most people think, and it’s very important that you understand how this drug (yes, alcohol is of course a drug) is affecting your progress both when you are inside and outside of the gym.
We receive emails every single day of the week from aspiring muscle-builders from all over the world here at UK Fitness Directory. One of the most common questions that we get asked is “does drinking alcohol affect my muscle growth?” Personal Fitness Trainers and responsible Gym owners would tell you that it does and so would we, so here goes:
YES, too much alcohol will most definitely have a significant NEGATIVE impact, there will be a detrimental effect on your muscle bulk from all your hard work in the Gym and all your muscle-building efforts may go to waste!
Alcohol is actually much more harmful than many people would think. It is very important that you understand just how it is affecting your progress. Please bear in mind that this is not just an anti-drug speech, we do understand that many people do like to have the odd drink from time to time!
However, if you are really serious about achieving a truly impressive physique, then you should definitely be aware of the five major reasons behind alcohol slowing down your muscle gains!
1) Alcohol is known to negatively affect protein synthesis.
Protein synthesis is the Biochemical process where individual amino acids join together to form more complex molecules called proteins. Excessive alcohol consumption actually slows this process down by as much as 20%! This may be shocking news but since your muscles are made up primarily of protein, you can hopefully now see why this is a problem!
2) Alcohol consumption lowers Testosterone levels and increases Oestrogen levels in the body.
Testosterone is known to be the most important muscle-building hormone present in the human body. One of the main limiting factors that will determine how much muscle a person can build up is their level of free-flowing testosterone. Increased Oestrogen levels can have other undesired effects – particularly in males – for reasons that we hopefully don’t need to go into too much detail on apart from to simply mention ‘Man boobs’!
3) Alcohol also causes dehydration.
The kidneys are organs that are simple in design yet complex in operation and must filter a relatively large volume of water in order to break down any alcohol that is present in the bloodstream. This can result in severe dehydration within the body itself which is potentially dangerous, particularly if you are exerting yourself during exercise.
You may not know it but water actually plays an absolutely crucial role in the Biochemical muscle-building process, therefore if you are even slightly dehydrated then this is a recipe for disaster!
Do not forget also that the muscles themselves are comprised of 70% water which they require for normal effective function.
4) Alcohol will deplete the body of vitamins (Vital Amino Acids) and Minerals.
Any alcohol consumption will cause Vital Amino Acids – such as vitamins A, C, and the B’s plus Calcium, Zinc and Phosphorus to all be flushed away, the more that is consumed, the more rapid these rates of decline will be!
We all know that Vitamins and Minerals keep every little Biological process in your body functioning properly, and many of these processes of course involve muscle growth and maintenance!
5) Finally, Alcohol increases fat storage in the body.
Alcohol, with 7 empty calories per gram, is actually quite fattening. Alcohol also disrupts the well-known ‘”Kreb’s Cycle”, which plays an important role in fat burning as any serious sportsman or sportswoman should be aware of.
At the end of the day, moderation is King even during the festive season!
We are not prohibitionists from 1920’s Chicago! We know that it is important to let your hair down and have fun in life, but too much fun can lead to unexpected and no doubt unintended consequences if you are not careful!
If you are truly committed and serious about achieving significant muscle-building results, then it stands to reason that you should monitor your overall intake of alcohol and ensure that you are consuming it in moderation wherever possible. We know that it can be difficult at certain times of the year, especially for instance when festive spirits are running high but hey, those New Year’s Resolutions are surely never that far away!
Just the odd drink here and there probably won’t be too much of a problem, unless you are Diabetic.
The problem is, if you find yourself drinking every weekend and after the Gym session too then you can almost certainly kiss your muscle gains goodbye!
Sure, go out and party from time to time, but make sure that you drink plenty of water and eat a protein rich meal to properly nourish yourself with the Vitamins and Minerals that your body needs for peak performance!
In Conclusion – Nourish your body and it will reward you
At the end of the day, we would never advocate revolving your entire life around your muscle-building program, so don’t be scared to go out and have a good time from time to time. Just make sure that you keep your drinking nights down to a reasonable level (no more than once a week) and properly nourish yourself to reduce the overall effects of alcohol.
As long as you monitor what you’re doing you can be a fitness fanatic and achieve an impressive physique whilst having a social life too!