Alcohol and Weight Training

A Facebook buddy of mine asked me about the negative effects of drinking on working out. So I thought I'd address the issue with a post.

Prepare yourself.

The short answer is this: alcohol does effect bodybuilding negatively.

Here's the deal. We all know by now that alcohol is very fattening. But what you may not know is that (and how) alcohol retards muscle growth. This occurs not only as a result of hangovers lowering your workout intensity, but alcohol actually lowers protein synthesis by something like 20%.

There are a couple reasons for this. First, alcohol dehydrates your muscle cells. Plain and simple. As most of us know, hydrated and even over-hydrated muscles (i.e. during a creatine regimen) allows for a much higher anabolic environment. When you drink alcohol, your cells won't be able to hold as much water -- thus making it much harder to build muscle.

Next, we see that it can severely hurt muscle growth because alcohol blocks the absorption of many important nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation and growth. These nutrients include, but are not limited to: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium. We all agree those are important to muscle growth, yes?

Lastly, alcohol actually lowers testosterone and increases estrogen. Yes, estrogen. In one study conducted, male testosterone levels were measured before and after the consumption of alcohol. At the most intoxicated state, testosterone levels had dropped to an average of 25% lower.

Try to remember that the next time you're throwing back to get down with the ladies.

Boilerplate answer? Alcohol and bodybuilding do not mix. Over an extended period of time, drinking alcohol will cause you to gain fat and lose muscle.

Not exactly what we're going for, is it? So while I don't recommend anyone stop drinking all together (because I'm certainly not going to), I do recommend people limit drinking and try their best to keep it in moderation. You have to decide what the means for yourself.

Oh, quick side note. If you're on Facebook, feel free to request me as a friend and let me know you found me by way of this blog.

Don't worry, I'll approve ya.

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