Is alcohol halting your gains?

April 28, 2018

does alcohol affect muscle growth

It’s finally the weekend and you want to go socialize and party with your friends. Most gym goers have the occasional drink even during the week. During college, most socializing revolves around alcohol. You may be chasing an arm pump prior to your date or sneaking in a quick session before heading out, it's really common to indulge in a drink shortly after training. Some of you may think that, because you are on a “dirty bulk”, the calories won’t interfere with your gains. But there is more to drinking alcohol than just calorie balancing, and it impacts your body in different ways. 

Alcohol can wreck your capacity to build muscle. How? This starts with comprehending how you build muscle in the long run. As well as understanding the differences between muscle protein breakdown and muscle protein synthesis. The first tears down muscle, while the second builds it. We are constantly building and breaking down protein throughout the day, a process known as protein turnover.
If we are eating right throughout the week, getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of water, staying as healthy as possible, why do drink at the end of the week. Why do we put all this effort into ourselves throughout the week, but on weekends we drink crazy amounts of alcohol.
The amount of calories in alcohol isn’t good for an athlete. Some of you with “hard gains” may think you need the calories to gain weight. But even then, you’re getting the negative effects of alcohol. 
Alcohol isn’t nutrient dense, and because its empty calories, you probably aren’t counting them. But depending on the drink you prefer, you are looking at around 100 calories per shot! The high calorie content of alcohol slows down your metabolism and has a negative effect on your total calorie intake. At this point your body is trying so hard to digest and metabolize the alcohol, that fat burning stops completely.

Alcohol consumption also hurts muscle growth. Hangovers can lower your workout intensity,  as well as lower protein synthesis by 20%. Alcohol directly impacts the cells in your muscles by dehydrating them.
Cells in the muscle stop retaining as much water, and makes building muscle much more difficult. Another reason why alcohol can potentially ruin muscle gains is because it blocks the absorption of many important nutrients that are crucial to key muscle functions. A product like Amino Wurx can help assist in this area post drinking.
alcohol and muscle growth
Anabolism, or protein synthesis, is negatively affected by alcohol. Alcohol hurts the absorption of protein in the body, just like it hurts the absorption of any other substance. Because less protein is being turned into muscle tissue, you are not adding as much muscle mass!

T-levels drop to an average of 25% when you are intoxicated. Alcohol has also been shown to create a much quicker aromatization of androgen into estrogen. This could explain we we often notice man boobs in heavy drinkers. If done in moderation, alcohol by its own nature will not turn your muscle into m-oobs.
If none of this information has made you change your mind regarding alcohol, here are some tips to help you post drinking 
Leave at least 2 liters of water ready to drink when you get home before you go to bed. Not only will this help avoid a hangover, but it may aid your muscles by hydration. Adding Amino Wurx will help shuttle nutrients back into your system.
Drink a protein shake like IsoWurx or eat something high in protein before going to sleep. This may suppress the catabolism, plus you always need protein.
Your body may be craving a bunch of unhealthy items after drinking. Most likely because your dehydrated and depleted of nutrients. Eating a big breakfast filled with rich and dense foods can make the biggest difference to start recovering. Aim for something high in protein, healthy fats, and nutrient dense starches.
Try working out early in the morning, putting as many hours between your workout and the late night drinks. Meals high in protein prior to drinking can be helpful too. Try drinking only one glass of whatever you fancy, instead of going on a binge. Trying to burn the calories the next day is naturally intuitive. But the reality is you are better off just recovering and optimizing your diet that day. Steady pace cardio might be beneficial. But any hypertrophy or conditioning work won’t “cancel out” all the damage you did the night before.
Unfortunately alcohol reduces testosterone among all the other negative things mentioned earlier in this article. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have fun, don't be afraid to go out and have a good time. Way too many athletes stay in on weekends. Go out, drink A beer, have a good time, just keep it in moderation.
Not drinking will really make you a better athlete and improve your results! You will see an immediate improvement in strength, focus, motivation, intensity, endurance and recovery. To maximize performance, know that if you abstain you will improve your gains!
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