Drinking and Bodybuilding
How does alcohol affect your training?
Is alcohol the enemy? Does drinking really affect your gains?
Please don’t think that this is an attempt to stop you having a beer ever again. Anything in moderation is OK. But it is important that you know the facts about the effects that even small doses of alcohol can have on your bodybuilding and your overall health.
Alcohol affects your body in different ways. Most of them are negative. It can change your emotional status, your ability to think rationally, your judgment and your muscle coordination.
Bodybuilders can be affected as it will interfere with your hydration, nutritional intake, your protein synthesis, and your overall recovery. The emotional effects that drinking alcohol can have on you are also likely to decrease your motivation for workouts.
Alcohol And Muscle Gain
There are two good reasons why you shouldn’t drink alcohol if you are a bodybuilder. The first is that it will interfere with you gaining muscle mass and the second is that it will make you fat!
If you already have good muscle mass and consume 2-3 beers a day and go crazy at the weekends you might be tempted to believe that your drinking has not affected your bodybuilding. But this is wrong and here is why.
When you are bodybuilding, the quality of every calorie is very important. The calories that you have consumed from the three beers (around 450 calories) do not have any nutritional value. You would have been far better off consuming the same amount of calories eating something high in protein.
Nutrition is essential in bodybuilding and you can gain muscle and lose fat by getting the right amount of nutrition. Drinking alcohol is as useless as eating donuts or cheeseburgers. There is no nutritional value and you will just get fat.
The absorption by the body of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D K and E is also diminished by alcohol. Drinking alcohol tends to negate all of the good things that you have eaten and leave you malnourished and this means that you will not be able to add muscle.
Your endurance and strength can be reduced for up to 48 hours if you have three drinks. You will be unable to add muscle because you will be too weak to achieve your maximums.
Going on a binge is even worse and can set you back a week or more. You will waste calories, lose sleep, have problems with vitamin absorption and suffer from dehydration. And then there will be a strong lack of motivation to go bodybuilding. No bodybuilding, no muscle gains!
Drinking And Exercising
Alcohol will interfere with the essential processes that are required with most forms of exercise. Your overall performance, your focus, and your rebuilding and recovery will all be affected by drinking. If you are in a competition then refrain from drinking alcohol until it is over.
The body absorbs alcohol very quickly but metabolizes it very slowly. This means that those couple of drinks you had two days before will still be affecting you. This will decrease your strength and slow down your reaction time which could cause you all sorts of problems.
Your balance could be impaired and so can your hand/eye coordination. Your motor skills are also likely to be affected. One thing that is very likely is increased fatigue. Your liver function will be under severe pressure after alcohol consumption.
Alcohol will negatively impact your aerobic capabilities and will also cause problems for your cardiovascular system. Your blood pressure will be increased and this means that the heart will have to work harder to circulate blood around your body.
The bottom line is that 48 hours after drinking you may believe that you are fine for your workout and exercises, but your body will have other ideas. You will certainly not be at peak performance and it is unlikely that you will achieve your exercise goals.
There is no getting away from it. Alcohol will impact your performance 24-48 hours after consuming it. You will experience a reduction in the quality of your training and the alcohol will have affected your sleep so this will not help either.
The only true way to avoid the effects of alcohol is to avoid it altogether. If you can’t do that then go for moderation. This is not intended to spoil the party, but you have to decide what is more important. Partying or bodybuilding? A few nights a week I enjoy a beer or glass of wine with my partner. I feel the effect is negligible on my training.