I receive emails every single day from aspiring muscle-builders all over the world, and one of the most common questions I’m asked is “does drinking really affect the muscle growth process?” I’m sorry to say it, but yes, too much alcohol will almost definitely have a significant negative impact on your muscle-building results. Alcohol is far more harmful than most people think, and it’s very important that you understand how this drug (yes, alcohol is a drug) is affecting your progress. This is not an anti-drug speech, but if you’re serious about achieving a truly impressive physique, you should definitely be aware of the 5 main ways that alcohol is slowing down your gains…
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, you can see how this is a problem.
2) It lowers testosterone levels and increases estrogen.
Testosterone is the most important muscle-building hormone in your body. One of the limiting factors that determines how much muscle a person can gain is their level of free-flowing testosterone.
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.
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 Kreb’s 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. If you’re serious about achieving significant muscle-building results, you definitely need to monitor your intake of alcohol and make sure that you are consuming it 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, 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.