Do Alcohol and Bodybuilding Mix?
Are you a bodybuilder that enjoys alcoholic drinks? If so, you should be aware of the effects of such beverages when it comes to reaching your bodybuilding goals. You should also know the best way to consume them if you body build. Here are a few key points that will be expanded on:
* Alcohol suppresses the process of losing fat. It doesn’t really store fat per say.
* Excessive consumption of alcohol can thwart the recovery process and the synthesis of protein when it comes to muscle building.
* Bodybuilders that consume alcohol after a competition aren’t really that affected but it, but taking a few days off is necessary.
* The type of alcohol consumed, frequency, time, and food choices play a role in alcohol’s effects on your body.
* When it comes to bodybuilding, alcoholic beverages more than likely won’t cause unwanted effects, such as shrunken testes, if it’s consumed correctly and responsibly.
Breakdown of Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks contain something called ethanol. The body will basically zero in on ethanol when it’s consumed by trying to break it down. The ethanol is eventually converted to acetate and acetyl-CoA, which are both wasteful sources of energy. I use the term “wasteful” because roughly 18% of the energy derived from its calories isn’t used. There are around 8 calories are in a fluid ounce of booze. Hence, alcohol’s thermogenic effect is pretty high.
The widespread belief is that alcohol will easily turn in to fat, but just the opposite is true. It will, however, inhibit the fat loss process. This is due to the fact that the acetyl-CoA and acetate basically tell the body that there isn’t any fat or sugar present that must be eliminated.
Muscle, Fat and Alcohol
In order to shed fat and create muscle mass, you must monitor both your hormones and calories. The truth is that alcohol has an influence on each of these two factors. How, you ask? First, alcohol contains calories, so drinking causes more calories to enter the body. Second, alcohol can affect the hormones responsible for staying lean and creating muscle. What’s more is that it acts as a type of cell messenger that affects your muscles and your brain. Both of these factors also tie into performance.
Will Drinking Stop Muscular Development?
Alcohol isn’t good for the development of muscles because it has both a negative effect on the recovery process and the synthesis of protein. Additionally, it affects the metabolism of muscles by increasing myostatin, decreasing post workout inflammation, decreasing glycogen resynthesis, and suppressing mTOR brought on by physical activity (probably by lessening your phosphatidic acid). It is also prone to harm IGF-1 and insulin levels. All of these factors are not conducive to building muscle mass and strength.
In a study published by Sports Medicine, participants were either given 1 g/kg of fruit juice or alcohol about a half hour after working out. In the following days, each of the two different groups experienced impaired isometric, eccentric, and concentric types of strength. However, in relationship to those three strength types, the group that drank the alcohol was about 20%, 15%, and 10% less stronger than the group that didn’t drink it. Note that 1 g/kg equals approximately 1 g/2.3 pounds. This means that someone that weighs roughly 179 pounds would have received about 78 g of booze, which equates to around five to seven alcoholic beverages. This is based on the fact that the typical alcoholic beverage (1-2 oz spirits, 5-6 oz wine, 12 oz beer) contains approximately 15 g of alcohol.
A second study published by Sports Medicine gave participants either 0.5 g/kg or 1 g/kg of alcohol. The group that had the 1 g/kg experienced the same outcome as the last study, but interestingly, the 0.5 g/kg group didn’t experience these negative results. So in other words, the 179 pound person mentioned earlier would have been fine if he cut his alcohol consumption in half. Such results were found to be true in other research studies. Therefore, if you’re going to drink alcohol, remember this 0.5 g/kg rule.
Athletic Performance and Alcohol
Generally speaking, the athletic performance of an athlete isn’t really affected if they consume alcohol after a game. A research study done on a soccer team gave each player about 2.5 g/kg of alcohol (around 15 typical beverages) following a game. To put it lightly, they all got drunk. A few days later, the team went to another game and played just as good as before. Additional studies had similar findings, So what’s the takeaway? Your performance level isn’t really affected by alcohol as long as you don’t have a game to play in the next couple of days.
Wine, Beer, and Losing Fat
When it comes to losing fat and alcohol, you must take in to account factors like calories, the manner in which the alcohol is used, and the endocrine effects it will have on your body. Also, recall the information stated previously about the breakdown of alcohol. The relationship between food and alcohol must also be considered. The fact is that alcohol lessens inhibitions when it comes to eating and different people have different eating habits in general. In other words, alcohol can cause you to eat more even if you’re the kind of person that usually watches the amount of food you consume.
The effect on hunger might differ depending on the kind of alcoholic beverage. Since it’s bitter, beer gives off a compound called GLP-1 that suppresses appetite. Additionally, beer appears to lessen cortisol when consumed in small amounts over a small period of time (large amounts might do the opposite). Cortisol is significant because it plays a role in your appetite by lowering motivation levels and increasing an indulgent mindset. The herb hops, which beer is made from, can also be a factor since it’s a type of sedative.
Red wines have histamine in them and histamine is known to increase cortisol. Hence, red wines will increase your hunger. White wines and spirits don’t contain histamine or GLP-1, so not much can be concluded about them. However, research done by Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior came to the conclusion that white wines have pretty much the same effect as beer. The same research supported the stated effect of red wines too. Note that after time, cortisol levels will likely increase with any type of alcohol consumption. On a side note, increased levels of cortisol are known to have a negative effect on muscle recovery.
Alcohol also appears to affect the chemistry of the brain, which affects your appetite. Specifically, it decreases serotonin and increases dopamine, which promotes adrenaline and desire. It also lessens melatonin levels, which is associated with sleep. Furthermore, there is a relationship between sleep and appetite.
A study done by Appetite looked at alcohol consumption prior to eating. The study concluded that any kind of booze raises the consumption of food. However, the specific beverage dictated the power of the effect. Mixed drinks seemed to have the greatest effect followed by red wine. White wine and beer had the least.
It’s been said that alcohol affects hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen production. This is true to some extent but it is dependent on the context and quantity. The 0.5 g/kg rule is backed up by studies when it relates to testosterone levels.
Your activities might determine how alcohol affects you. Drinking it after you’ve had a grueling endurance workout will intensify the loss of testosterone associated with this kind of exercise. Research that proved this gave participants about 2 g/kg of alcohol. However, when alcohol consumption happens after weightlifting (at around 1.1 g/kg), testosterone levels are actually increased.
Alcohol lessens HGH (Human Growth Hormone). However, it doesn’t appear to influence estrogen levels. A three week study that involved adult males and females used the 0.5 g/kg rule and found that there was really no effect on their estrogen levels. Other studies with higher levels of alcohol produced similar results.
Some Final Points
* Stay away from fats and carbohydrates if you drink during a meal. Instead, opt for meals that contain vegetables and protein. This will increase the thermic properties of alcohol and help prevent the buildup of calories from fats and carbohydrates.
* Choose white wine or beer IF you’re going to drink.
* Stay away from mixed cocktails, especially those that contain added calories from sugar.
* Remember the 0.5 g/kg rule.
* Drinking alcohol after cardiovascular activity isn’t recommended.
* It’s better to drink after weightlifting instead of before.
* Moderation is imperative; Don’t over-consume.
The bottom line is that alcohol comes with calories but no nutrients. It actually diminishes vital nutrients, such as B vitamins and magnesium, which can lead to digestive problems such as poor metabolism. Hence, it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin and/or bodybuilding supplement, especially if you’re going to consume alcohol. Again, moderation is imperative!
Do you drink? If so, what effects have you noticed on your muscle and strength building ?