Lifestyle Alcohol and Muscular Performance

You just had an intense leg day… It also happens to be your cheat day…Time to celebrate with an ice-cold beer!

But wait, will this affect my muscle growth?

And tomorrow I plan on working on biceps, will having a few drinks tonight affect that workout?

If you’re looking to find out if muscular performance is affected by alcohol then you’re in the right place!

Alcohol and performance

The chance of alcohol detrimentally affecting your strength output is likely, depending on the amount you drink.

Alcohol does this by inhibiting calcium transients in the body [8].

Post-workout hydration is fairly obvious but when replacing that with an alcoholic beverage above 4%, recovery has been shown to be delayed, which makes sense [9].

Alcohol is a diuretic that will lead to more urination, therefore only increasing your levels of dehydration.

Another study found that after engaging in vigorous eccentric exercise, drinking a glass of alcohol worsens the ability of the muscles to repair [9].

It’s not just the night “of” that has an effect but the day after as well!

Hangovers can tremendously affect an athlete’s performance, a whopping 11.4% decrease in performance the next day has been noted in one study [12] and unfortunately for men, just the alcohol content in beer can reduce testosterone levels in men by 6% according to a study done in 2004 [3].

What would be the best kind of beer after an intense workout if you were to have one?

A beer with less alcohol and more sodium!

Researchers tampered with the ingredients in beer, and developed one that wouldn’t significantly affect the rate of hydration after a workout! [11]

Alcohol may not have a direct effect on your weight gain but what you tend to eat when drinking will.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that both men and women tend to eat an increased kcal when drinking alcohol compared to the days they don’t drink [6].

Let’s talk beer

Let’s bring beer back into the mix.

To make beer, you need plants and in the plants what do you find? Phytoestrogens.

Used as the bittering agent in beer, this phytoestrogen is classified as 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN), which happens to be the most potent phytoestrogen found to date. (And here everyone thought soy was the worst offender). [2]

So now that you know beer has the potential to increase the hormone estrogen, what does this mean for your body if you drink it?

From most studies, the phytoestrogens in beer seem to have a positive effect on women. While for men there has been little to no evidence of it having an effect on the body.

What positive effect can beer have you ask?

According to a cross-sectional study done on 1700 women, researchers found that beer has a positive effect on bone mass for women which could potentially be because of the phytoestrogen 8-PN. [4].

Another study states that a daily dose of hops can greatly reduce early-menopausal symptoms in women [5].

Now let’s look on the bright side

A smaller amount of alcohol post-workout has not been linked to any changes in muscular performance [10].

Some studies even say that having one to two alcoholic drinks a day could potentially reduce your risk of diabetes by 36% [1] and people who moderately drink alcohol have a 23% less chance of developing any form of dementia [13].

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