Let’s face it, we all like a drink every now and again but if you’re looking to build muscle, it might be wise not to drink as much as you might like to. The truth is that alcohol and exercise really don’t mix, and although this might not come as a surprise, this could actually be the reason why you aren’t seeing as much of a muscle gain as you might have liked.
But why is alcohol causing such problems when it comes to building muscle? Here are a few reasons:
#1 – It Dehydrates You
Alcohol has one huge effect on the body which is that it actually dehydrates you. Have you ever woken up from a night of heavy drinking and found that you can’t stop drinking water? If you have, this is the perfect example of dehydration in effect.
It might be obvious that hydration isn’t good for your health but what effect does it have on building muscle? Well, your body needs water in order to be able to perform to the best of its ability. If you aren’t hydrated, you are going to find lifting those weights in the gym harder than ever and worst of all, your body is also going to struggle repairing itself once you have finished your workout too.
#2 – It Makes You Fat
Another big thing to remember about alcohol is that it is extremely fattening. Alcohol actually contains 7 calories per gram, which means that it has more calories per gram than both protein and carbs. Only fat has more calories per gram at 9 calories per gram.
As well as this, all of these calories are empty calories as they contain basically no nutrition at all. This means that your body can only flush them out or store them as fat, nothing else. At least with protein, your body can put a lot of the calories to good use but with alcohol, these calories are going to be stored as excess fat if you don’t need them.
So remember, it is probably going to be better to have a nice big meal consisting of a protein source and a carb source than a few pints of beer down the local.
#3 – It Hinders Protein Synthesis
Sure, this one sounds complicated but really, it’s quite simple. In order to build muscle, your body needs to build muscle proteins and alcohol slows this process down. This means that drinking excessive amounts is going to mean that your muscles take longer to recover after those workouts and also, they’ll probably ache more too.
Basically, alcohol is going to make all of that hard work you’re putting it at the gym pretty pointless.
#4 – Increase Appetite
Have you ever been on a night-out and found that you had a craving for food? If you have, then this is the alcohol working it’s magic. Alcohol basically increases appetite meaning that the more you drink, the more hungry you feel and usually if you’ve been drinking, you won’t really care whether or not this food is healthy or not.
By increasing your appetite, alcohol often leads to the drinker consuming more calories through more food than they would normally consume. And don’t forget that alcohol is fattening in itself too.
#5 – It Affects Sleep Quality
As you might already know, sleep is a big thing when it comes to building muscle. If you aren’t getting enough high quality sleep, you are probably going to notice that your muscle building progress slows a little as your body isn’t able to repair the muscle tissue efficiently.
If you’re drinking a lot of alcohol, the quality of sleep will be decreased even further which will often lead to aching muscles and longer recovery times.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why alcohol and muscle building really don’t mix so if you can, it is best to keep the alcohol consumption down to a minimum.
Of course, we’re not saying that you should never ever drink alcohol. In fact, letting your hair down once in a while and reducing your stress levels (possibly through the consumption of alcohol) can be a positive thing when it comes to building muscle. It is just best not to do this on a regular basis.