How to Combine Alcohol and Bodybuilding Without Losing Workout Gains
The age-old question of whether having a few drinks will ruin your bodybuilding progress is often met with the standard response from many fitness experts who believe that alcohol as an evil substance that should be avoided at all costs. They maintain that drinking will destroy training performance, lead to excess weight gain, and kill muscle growth.
The answer is not really that cut and dried as the overall picture depends a lot on each individual, how much is being consumed how often, and how much a night of drinking will affect your personal training and diet goals. If you enjoy regularly having a few drinks it is important to understand the effects of alcohol on overall body composition and how to incorporate it into your life in a way that will minimise its potential negative effects.
Right. Here comes some truths:
– When it comes to the topic of alcohol and fat loss and muscle growth, the simple fact is that alcohol contains a high amount of calories, clocking in at around 7 calories per gram consumed. Therefore the calories from alcoholic drinks consumed must be added to your daily totals just like any other drink or food in your diet.
– There is a distinct difference between the direct and indirect effects of alcohol on fat loss and muscle growth. For example, an indirect effect is when you allow your alcohol consumption to interfere with your nutritional plans and overall training program. If this is the case it stands to reason that in some way your progress will be impeded if you skip workouts, binge eat during a drinking bout or it affects your overall motivation to stick to your fitness goals. However, these are behaviour changes more than the direct result of drinking itself that will have a direct impact on your physical goals.
How to Incorporate Alcohol and Bodybuilding into Your Life without Negative Effects on your Results
1. Treat alcohol like any other food by taking its calories into account in your overall dietary intake.2. Ensure that alcohol consumption does not interfere with your diet plans and the consistency of your training.
It is interesting to note what happens when alcohol is added to a properly constructed and consistently implemented bodybuilding program and if it is possible to do so without slowing down the rate of fat loss and muscle growth.
Moderate Drinking vs Heavy/Binge Drinking
If you are a moderate drinker who enjoys a few beers with buddies after work or a couple of glasses of wine in the evening with a meal, it may not impact your fitness goals to any significant extent. Moderate drinking is defined as 2 standard drinks for a male and 1 for a woman. Many studies have shown that small amounts of alcohol may protect the body against a range of diseases and that moderate drinkers actually live longer than non-drinkers. Just make sure that the extra calories are taken into consideration and you should not have too much of a problem.
Whether heavy drinking becomes a definitive concern for your bodybuilding fitness goals ultimately depends on how your body is able to handle the alcohol, how often you are binge drinking, and how much you are drinking at a time. A heavy night of drinking no more than once or twice a month may not impede your progress too much providing you employ the proper guidelines mentioned above to minimise the negative effects of alcohol.
Whether alcohol and bodybuilding is a healthy pursuit or not is entirely up to you to decide, however, purely from a fat burning or muscle building perspective, the effects will probably be minimal. For the average trainer who is in control of what they are doing it is not likely to be too much of a concern but if a high-level athlete is trying to squeeze every ounce of possible progress from a workout, it’s an entirely different story.
So, there you go. Drinking while bodybuilding is OK as long as you take into account the extra calories/sugar and do not binge drink often.
For more health tips when drinking check out our Start Here page. Thanks!