Can you drink alcohol and make gains? It’s a hotly discussed topic on the internet, and there are lots of mixed messages out there. Some newbie bodybuilders wonder if they should give up the beer to smash out their gym goals, whilst others claim that moderate amounts have health benefits. And others suggest that it depends on the type of alcohol drunk.
So, what’s the truth about alcohol?
Alcohol and muscle growth
Alcoholic beverages are solutions that contain ethanol, and it’s a psychotropic substance that has a depressant impact on the nervous system. Compared with other alcohols, ethanol has relatively lower toxicity while still creating a psychoactive effect.
So, the truth is alcohol in any quantity will harm muscle growth and strength whilst making gains.
How much of an impact does alcohol have on muscle growth?
- One drinking session to mild intoxication has the same impact as skipping one workout.
- A drinking session where you become severely intoxicated will significantly reduce your performance in the gym for 1-2 weeks.
- Regular consumption of alcohol, even in small quantities, leads to a plateau in 80% of athletes and will see a 100% decrease in muscle growth.
In fact, scientists have found a significant decrease in T levels and increased stress levels during the day after drinking alcohol.
Alcohol’s impact on the body
Impacts muscle protein synthesis
According to research by the Montclair State University, protein synthesis, which is the process of uniting amino acids in a specific sequence to build muscles. Even in moderation, consuming alcohol slows this process of building muscle mass by 20%.
Reduces growth hormone levels
Another study revealed that alcohol inhibits muscle growth by suppressing the secretion of insulin-like growth factor GF-I and growth hormone secretion.
Also Read: Do growth hormones really boost your gains?
Over the following two days from consuming alcohol, the level decreases by an average of 70%.
Drinking alcohol and testosterone
Consuming alcohol not only impacts and decreases your testosterone levels, but it increases your estrogen levels. This happens for several reasons:
- The number of proteins that bind testosterone together increases.
- The conversion of testosterone to estrogen is considerably sped up
- Some alcoholic beverages, like beer, contain estrogen-like substances.
- Alcohol and its metabolites can stimulate estrogen receptors themselves.
As well as impacting your T levels, alcohol also has an impact on your swimmers! According to a survey published by BMJ Open, moderate alcohol consumption every week is associated with lower sperm quality in healthy young men.
The importance of hydration
That pounding headache and dry mouth that you get the day after drinking too much? That’s dehydration. When we drink alcohol, our kidneys attempt to flush it from our system, which leads to dehydration.
Also Read: How does food impact strength training?
As you probably know, water plays a crucial role in building muscle mass, and when we’re dehydrated, muscle growth stops. And in severe cases, dehydration can even lead to the breakdown of muscles. Even low-alcohol drinks can damage muscles and limit our muscle recovery time because of dehydration.
In addition to dehydration, when we consume alcohol, it also causes a deficiency in specific vitamins and minerals. In particular, vitamin A, C, almost all B vitamins, calcium, zinc, and phosphates. These vitamins and minerals are vital for making gains in the gym and building muscle, as they’re all needed for building muscles and synthesizing endogenous anabolic hormones.
Alcohol creates fat
Did you know that alcohol is calorie-dense? Just one gram contains seven calories. And according to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Research, most of the energy from consumed alcohol will turn into fat.
Plus, not to mention the munchies and increased appetite we get when drinking alcohol.
Missing those zzzs
Although you might be out like a light after a few beers, drinking alcohol disrupts your sleep and doesn’t allow you to spend as much time in precious REM sleep. As a result, the beneficial impact of sleep on your muscles for healing isn’t as effective.
Increases the risk of cancer
According to research by the American Association for Research on Cancer, the results showed that alcohol consumption increases your risk of cancers developing.
Also Read: 8 bodybuilding tips for faster results
In particular, white wine showed an increased risk of developing a tumor.
Impacts your brain function
Researchers at the University of Oxford have argued that even moderate alcohol consumption affects the brain. In another study from the University of Texas at Galveston, it was shown that chronic alcohol consumption killed most brain stem cells and reduced the production and development of new nerve cells.
Now, we’re not sure about you, but that cold beer seems a lot less appealing than ever before. Not only will it impact your gains and stop you from smashing out your best performance (in the gym and the bedroom), but it could be adding pounds, impacting your sleep, and increasing your risk of cancer – no thanks.
Ready to SMASH your goals?
Instead, want to make serious gains, increase T levels, and enhance your performance in the gym? Of course, you do.
It’s time to get BRUTAL – the right way.