Alcohol and Fitness Do Not Mix.. Here is Why

Posted on: April 18th, 2011 by Micah LaCerte 3 Comments

Alcohols Effects on Building Muscle

Daily we recieve emails at Hitch Fit from people wanting to lose weight or build muscle. One of the most common questions I’m asked is “does drinking really affect the muscle growth and fat burning process?” I’m sorry to say it, but yes, too much alcohol will almost definitely have a significant negative impact on your muscle-building/fat burning results. Alcohol is far more harmful than most people think, and it’s very important that you understand how this drug (yes, alcohol is a drug) is affecting your progress. This is not an anti-drug speech, but if you’re serious about achieving a truly impressive physique, you should definitely be aware of the 6 main ways that alcohol is slowing down your gains and causing you to store fat.

1) Dehydration.

The kidneys must filter very large amounts of water in order to break down the alcohol, and this can result in severe dehydration within the body. Water plays an absolutely crucial role in the muscle-building process, and being even slightly dehydrated is a recipe for disaster. The muscles alone are comprised of 70% water.  When dehydrated you are weaker, have less energy and your mind is not as clear.  Bottom line you just do not function as efficently.

2) It negatively affects protein synthesis.

Protein synthesis is the process where amino acids are joined together to form complete proteins. Excessive alcohol consumption slows this process down by up to 20%, and since your muscles are made up of protein, you can see how this is a problem.  You put positive things in your body you will get positive results.

3) It lowers testosterone levels and increases estrogen.

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.  If this decreases then so will your muscle gaining in turn causing you to not burn fat as quickly.

4) It increases fat storage.

With 7 empty calories per gram, alcohol can actually be quite fattening. It can also lead to making mistakes with what you are eating if intoxicated.   If your eating and drinking more calories then your burning which typically happens when you go out for a night of fun you will store fat.   Changing your body is about positive choice making.  It can domino is a very positive way or a negative way, this is something you have control over.

5) It depletes the body of vitamins and minerals.

Alcohol consumption causes vitamins A, C, the B’s, calcium, zinc and phosphorus to all be drained at rapid rates. Vitamins and minerals keep every little process in your body functioning properly, and many of these processes involve muscle growth/fat burning and maintenance.

6) Increased appitite-

Alcohol has been shown to increase peoples appitietes. Drinking can cause you to not make the best of choices when it comes to food choices.  Think of a long night at the bar, drinking one to many drinks.  The last thing you want to eat is a piece of grilled chicken and broccoli, You want something very filling because the only calories you have had are empty ones for the different drinks you have.  You want soemthing fatty and salty at 1am. You typically will go to bed after eating this meal so these are calories that will not be burned off and will be stored adding to your fat weight

It’s important to have fun in life, but too much fun can lead to problems. If you’re serious about achieving significant muscle-building results, you definitely need to monitor your intake of alcohol and make sure that you are consuming it in moderation. A few drinks here and there shouldn’t be a problem, but if you find yourself drinking every weekend you can almost certainly kiss your muscle gains goodbye.

If your goals are to achieve the body you have always wanted and feel great then I recommend keeping your drinking to a minimum.  Don’t be afraid to go out and have a good time once in a while. Just make sure to keep your drinking limited and properly nourish yourself to lessen its effects by drinking lots of water and electrolytes. As long as you monitor what you’re doing you can achieve an impressive physique and have a social life at the same time.

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  • Michellelalonde

    Thanks for posting this! I have friends of mine that say they are on a fitness journey like myself, but they go out drinking almost every weekend and sometimes during the week. I stopped going with them and yes they give me lots of crap for not going. I know I cant go and just drink water all night. I tried telling them that the alcohol is holding them back and they don’t believe me or don’t want to? What’s wrong with a little captains and diet coke, right? I miss my friends, but I’m on a mission!

  • Steph2411

    Great post! I love to go have a drink after work every now and then, but it’s difficult when I’m trying to exercise and maintain a figure. It’s so frustrating sometimes. I found a humorous take on drinking and working out and stumbled on your blog searching for more thoughts.

    Thanks for the post! Loved it. Here’s the post I read before I end up finding yours if you’re interested: http://www.tchuddle.com/2011/04/my-old-friend-alcohol/

    • Sophie Stevenson

      I get mocked for not drinking ALL night and it becomes embarrassing for the ones going on about it. Im out wanting to have a good time, not slam someone for wanting to make positive healthy changes! I don’t get it! Oh yea I do, get new friends.

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