Alcohol decreases the ability of our muscles to repair and rebuild.
Muscles are made of protein, alcohol consumption negatively affects protein synthesis by up to 25%. Alcohol is shown to decrease levels of anabolic hormones, such as growth hormone, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) and testosterone.
These hormones are a necessary to build muscle. Consuming 3 alcoholic drinks has a catabolic (breakdown) effect on muscles, by increasing a protein responsible for breaking down muscle mass. Also decreasing another protein that is responsible for the development of new muscle. I’ve noticed myself on a Friday after I’ve done a resistance training session and then I drink that night that my muscles become quite sore and don’t recover as quick as usual.
Alcohol lowers testosterone levels and increases oestrogen
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. Another thing is the rise of oestrogen (female sex hormone).
Alcohol inhibits the liver’s ability to break oestrogen down, so the free-floating oestrogen count throughout the body elevates. When oestrogen is produced in excessive amounts, it can have many negative effects on a man’s body. The most noticeable effect is the development of female breast tissue, know as Gynecomasia, aka Gyno. The chances of Gyno (development of female breast tissue) occurring just because of alcohol consumption is fairly unlikely, but still, men do not want to cause their oestrogen levels to rise.
Alcohol causes dehydration
The kidneys must filter very large amounts of water in order to break down the alcohol, this can result in severe dehydration within the body. Water plays an extremely important role in the muscle-building process, and being even slightly dehydrated is a recipe for disaster. The muscles alone are comprised of 70% water.
Alcohol depletes the body of vitamins and minerals
Alcohol consumption causes vitamins A, C, the B’s, calcium, zinc and phosphorus to all to deplete at a rapid rate. Vitamins and minerals keep every little process in your body functioning properly, and many of these processes involve muscle growth and maintenance. This is why correct nutrition is also of extreme importance.
Alcohol increases fat storage
With 7 empty calories per gram, alcohol can actually be quite fattening. It also disrupts the Kreb’s Cycle, which plays an important role in fat burning.
I hope you have learnt a few things from this document, I want it to shock you all a little bit and have you think about these things next time you go to have a few drinks. As long as you avoid drinking during the week and don’t binge every weekend, the effects drinking will have minimal effect on your goals.
On the flip side, if you continue to drink during the week and binge on the weekends you will only get so far with your training and it will take a lot longer to see results. It’s OK to have a drinking date every now and then but just be smart about it.