When anyone embarks on a health and fitness regime, it’s always necessary to make some dietary changes. Everything in moderation of course! Alcohol is certainly an exception to this. Sure, we all enjoy an occasional splash of rouge or a cocktail, but it’s important to understand how harmful alcohol can be to your physique if your goals are to build lean muscle and lose fat. This article discusses the main ways alcohol can hurt your bodybuilding progress.
Firstly, alcohol hinders our ability to synthesize protein by about 20%. Two of the main contributing hormones involved in protein synthesis are testosterone and human growth hormone. Alcohol affects the release of both of these anabolic hormones; it decreases secretion of HGH by up to 70% and causes your liver to release substances that virtually cancel out the effects of testosterone in your body while increasing estrogen levels. This is the opposite of what anyone wants when we are trying to get into the best shape of our lives! It essentially wipes out any physiological benefits achieved through training, weightlifting or physical activity.
The next problem alcohol presents is dehydration, this is caused by an inhibition of the ADH hormone (anti-diuretic hormone). ADH usually maintains constant levels to prevent you from peeing out all of the water in your body, but when you drink alcohol, the level of this hormone becomes low and you excrete much more water. In addition, alcohol causes your kidneys to work overtime to filter water through the body to break down the alcohol. So, with water levels in the deficit, muscle building capabilities are severely hindered, since our muscles are made up of 70% water.
A third problem that alcohol presents to the fitness enthusiast is that it causes the body to lose vitamins and minerals such as A, C, the B’s, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. These vitamins and minerals are needed by your body to help it function properly, sustain muscle growth and maintenance.
And, as if all those reasons weren’t enough, the last major problem that alcohol causes is that it puts a screeching halt on our ability to metabolize fat. Unlike macronutrients such as carbs, proteins and fats, alcohol supplies empty calories: calories without nutrition. To make matters worse, it is the first fuel source to be used which greatly hinders our caloric burning capacity and basically pushes fat oxidation out of the metabolic equation.
So, next time you feel like having an alcoholic beverage, think about whether it’s really worth it. Don’t diminish your gains and thwart all your hard work in the gym for a boozy evening that puts you two steps back on the path to building muscle and melting away fat!
If you are not sure where to start or how to better understand the best way to balance alcohol in your nutrition plan then get in touch with Kosta to discuss your nutrition goals!
Written by Angel Simmons
Approved By Kosta Kromidas