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How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Muscle Growth?
Does drinking alcohol affect muscle growth?
You may have already wondered whether it would do you much harm to have a couple of beers after a working week.
If you’re looking to shed extra fat and get in shape, does that mean that you should abstain from all alcohol products for a time, or is it okay to indulge in a little alcohol if you are strictly maintaining your food habits?
Some feel that they should allow themselves a few drinks rather than breaking the diet plan with some junk food, while for some it’s the opposite.
What is the Connection Between Muscles and Alcohol Consumption?
To figure out how drinking alcohol affects muscle growth, we first need to understand what alcohol does to your system.
By having a good knowledge of what drinking does to your system, you can make your own decision as to whether or not you should keep away from alcohol if you are looking to build some lean muscles.
Alcohol and Growth Hormones
When it comes to building muscle, growth hormones play a huge role.
They stimulate cell growth and development as well as optimal bone growth.
If the release of these hormones is not adequate, your muscle development is going to change significantly.
During your early sleep hours the rate of growth hormone secretion is the highest.
But since alcohol generally disrupts your regular sleep rhythms, there is a good chance that it will disturb the release of growth hormones.
In fact, according to studies, alcohol can decrease the amount of growth hormone release up to almost 70%.
So alcohol can very possibly negatively affect your muscle growth.
Alcohol and Testosterone
Another crucial thing to consider when we ask the question of how does drinking alcohol affect muscle growth is the way alcohol affects the release of testosterone in your body.
As you may already know, testosterone plays a large part in muscle mass development.
Men have higher amounts of muscle mass than women because they have more of this hormone circulating through their bodies than women do.
However, when alcohol enters your system, it produces a substance in the liver which meddles with steady testosterone release.
Thereby, the concentration of testosterone in the body is decreased and this results in poor muscle mass and definition.
How Alcohol Affects Muscle Recovery
Alcohol also affects the bodies ability to recover effectively from exercise.
Alcohol is a toxin to our system and for it to be removed, energy needs to be spent.
This means part of your energy reserves will be spent recovering from the negative effects of alcohol.
So you will have less energy to call upon for post-workout recovery from exercise, so you’ll feel weaker after your workout sessions.
Alcohol and Dehydration
Dehydration is another factor you will need to pay close attention to.
Alcohol acts as a diuretic which means that it removes fluids from your body.
Therefore, you need to compensate that loss or fluid by drinking enough water or other non-alcoholic drink (that does not contain caffeine).
In this way, alcohol disrupts the natural water balance of your body.
Dehydration can negatively affect your body in any number of ways.
It can result in lower physical performance, may induce fatigue, cause hunger pangs (a serious problem for people on a lean diet) and disrupt your ability to produce ATP– the original source of muscular energy.
Alcohol and Glycogen Synthesis
Like ATP, another important source for muscle development is stored glycogen.
However, when we consume alcohol, alcohol synthesis gets the better of glycogen synthesis and thus decreases the amount of stored glycogen in the muscle cells.
This means that during your next workout session, you may be visited by early fatigue and your body will have less energy in store to draw from.
If you end your workout sessions prematurely, you would not gain anything from so your muscle gains will be affected.
Does Alcohol Affect Aerobic Ability?
If an increase in strength levels is not your primary goal alcohol can still do you harm.
Alcohol can also negatively affect your aerobic activities.
Alcohol intervenes by increasing blood pressure throughout the body and subsequently can cause the heart rate to increase.
During aerobic activities, your heart rate will work at an increased rate.
The extra increase in rate because of alcohol consumption is going to put extra stress on you and this will make the workout feel much harder for you.
Alcohol’s Affect on Body Fat
Lastly, drinking alcohol will mean that you will be consuming more calories and this can have an adverse effect on your muscle-building or fat-loss program.
However, wine, beers, or hard liquors contain fewer calories than those fancy cocktails.
So, if you must drink, avoid the latter variety.
But if you drink more than 3-4 drinks, these calories would add up to a full-sized meal.
So, if you are not cutting down on your food intake to make room for those calories you are going to develop extra fat.
If you were wondering whether or not to indulge in some drinks, just be sure you remember all these factors about alcohols affect on muscle growth.
Of course, as you can clearly see by now, muscle building and alcohol do not form the best of pairs.
However, if you are not preparing yourself for a bodybuilding competition or some major athletic showdown, maybe you can, after all, have a few drinks occasionally.
Just remember to be moderate. In addition, try to eat more vegetables throughout the day, drink more water with the alcohol, and if you can, sleep a bit more than normal after those drinking sessions.
Check this out – Can I Drink Alcohol While Dieting?
Stuart PatrickHealth and fitness lifestyle writer. I spent a lot of time trying to change my body and realised there are so many untruths in the health and fitness industry that can stop you or slow down your progress. So I started blogging to share my knowledge and experience to help others to cut through the BS. On this blog and on the YouTube channel, I share my findings and experience with you so you don't have to go through what I went through. Search 'ListedFit' on YouTube and Instagram.
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