- Q&A Columns
- Contest Photos
- Contest News
- Athlete Profiles
- Product Reviews
Boozer and Blubber
Q: How bad is drinking alcohol when it comes to losing fat and building muscle? Is it really that bad for you?
A: When it comes to anything fitness and bodybuilding related, whether it’s shedding fat, building muscle, or improving performance and strength, alcohol is a really bad thing! Alcohol consumption negatively affects the body in multiple ways. First, alcohol can blunt growth hormone (GH) and testosterone production. It disrupts proper sleep patterns, and this disrupts GH release, which primarily takes place during deep sleep at nighttime. Alcohol negatively affects the hypothalamicpituitary- gonadal (HPG) axis, the system involved in testosterone production in men. In fact, a ton of research shows that alcohol consumption is associated with low testosterone levels and infertility in men. Alcohol also has a negative impact on fat burning, recovery, and performance.
When you drink alcohol, it goes to the liver and enzymes are produced so it can be processed. While you’re metabolizing alcohol, your body’s energy systems get really messed up, so to speak. ATP production is compromised, blood sugar levels drop, glycogen storage is hampered, and, on top of that, you become very dehydrated. All of these factors decrease fat oxidation, compromise the ATP and glycogen energy systems, and cause a loss of key micronutrients. This certainly isn’t an ideal situation for anyone looking to get ripped and build muscle. That being said, many of us (myself included) still like to have a few drinks on special occasions. I don’t see anything wrong with it, as long as you normally follow a balanced and healthy lifestyle. When you do decide to indulge in a few drinks, make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking water throughout the day (and/or night) and be sure to top up your nutrition with top-quality food and supplements.
This will definitely help prevent a bad hangover and mildly limit some of the negative effects of alcohol. While I was in Vegas for a trade show late last year, a few colleagues and I had a few too many glasses of wine before, during, and after dinner. Needless to say, the next morning I woke up with a pretty hefty hangover, which is what tempted me to visit a place called REVIV (aka The Hangover Clinic) that’s located in the MGM Grand hotel where we were staying. The staff at the clinic (who were all medical doctors or paramedics) hooked my buddy and me up to an electrolyte IV and another IV pumped full of B12, B6, folate, vitamin C, glutathione, and a few other antioxidants! I must say, I did feel a heck of a lot better within a few hours, which just goes to show you how much water and valuable nutrients you do in fact lose when drinking. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting you use any of these techniques so you can drink more or more often. No matter what, alcohol is a toxin and can only do harm to the body. If any of your college buddies try to convince you otherwise, they’re probably just trying to make themselves better about their bad drinking habits!
To read more about how alcohol impairs muscle growth, click here!