T Nation

Alcohol Consumption

What’s up fellow T-man. Just wanted to see your opinion on this. Do any of you drink heavily(even moderately) while training? I know its a stupid question but you would be surprised at how many alcoholics I know that are ripped as hell, not to mention gains are amazing. It doesnt add up to me. I, myself, stopped drinking for a year now and have seen that results are decent. So my real question is does alcohol consumption REALLY hinder your days at the gym, or even muscle growth??? Thanks alot T-men.

I will tell you from personal experience that I have gained about 10 lbs. of LBM and have gotten leaner since I gave up alcohol. It is not just what alcohol does to you directly but what it does to you indirectly. Let me explain. First of all, directly alcohol is a diuretic meaning it dehydrates. The worst thing you could do if you want to gain muscle is become dehydrated (70% of body is made of of water). Why do you think T-men consume mass amounts of water? Second of all, alcohol is full of sugar. The worst thing you could do for your body is consume mass quantities of sugar. Why do you think they call them “beer guts.” T-men very rarely eat simple carbohydrates unless it is right after a workout. As for alcohol’s secondary effects (hangover, don’t get a good workout, don’t feel like eating 6 times after drinking binge, binge on garbage food when drunk, get off schedule, lose focus, sleep with women you would have never sleeped with if you were sober etc.)

As for those guys you see that are ripped and gain muscle they are probably 18 years old and they have rocket metabolisms. Even if they aren’t 18 they could probably be gaining more muscle if they did not drink alcohol. Mass consuming alcohol catches up with you one way or the other as you age. Be different, don’t drink. It will be more beneficial for your muscle gains in the long run.

Here is an excerpt from an article on T.net called “The Big T Part 2”

“…As mentioned earlier, LH is correlated more with arousal than T, so that’s why you get horny, you dogs. The problem, though, is that high LH secretion is ineffective at increasing T during an alcoholic stupor. Alcohol, you see, prevents T production at the Leydig cell level and not at the pituitary level. So you’re arousal is up, but T stays down.”

I do not believe that drinking moderately hinders gains. I have always trained for strength as opposed to BBing, so I would not know if that holds true for a BBer making progress. The calories do add up, so as far as weight gain, it could be damaging. But for performance in the gym, unless i was whacked the night before, it has not been a problem. The key word is moderation. Drinking more than a drink EVERY day, is not what would I call moderation.

I don’t drink. I can’t say I’ve never had a drink because I’ve had a few drinks in my lifetime. Never liked it and sure don’t need it to have fun.

I have horrible genetics and have to work my ass off and watch my diet for every little gain. I’m sure if I did drink, I would be in sorry shape!

I think it depends on what training effect you’re after… If it’s hypertrophy/“looking good”, I think excessive drinking definitely hinders gains. That said, over one summer I was able to put on 10 lbs. (mostly muscle) whilst drinking… That was very good for me, but I know that I could have gained more, if I hadn’t been driniking…

As for strength training, I really don’t think it makes that much difference - so long as you’re not still hungover when you go to the gym!! One of my friends, who at the time was one of the strongest people I knew (lb. for lb.), used to actually drink beer on his squat workouts!! Again, better progress could probably be made if you were sober, but, all things considered, I think drinking has a much smaller impact on strength training vis-a-vis hypertrophy/bbing.

I have had a similar experience to t. I had been (over)training for years, and relying on fitness magazines for my nutrition information (with such little gems as ‘eat carbs in the morning, and protein at night’). I’d spent several months before the start of college stockpiling homebrew beer. At the start of term I’d bunk class all morning, push weights all afternoon and spend all night drinking. I finally increased my protein intake at the same time (lots of ground beef - not too lean),and got some decent advice on hardcore training but I put on the best part of 15lbs of lean muscle in 3 months, (bringing my misinformed self up from 130lbs to 145lbs).
Thinking back now, it could have just been that I was so overtained, and chronically dieted/ underfed that any calories - even inferior ones like alcohol - when combined with protein in a teenager’s diet would pile on meat. Nowadays I’m a bit older and beer goes straight on my ass. But hey - Arnold S, in Pumping Iron said “Milk is for babies, when you grow up you get to drink beer”.