T Nation

Alcohol - Detrimental to Lifting?

I imagine this crops all the time but I think my post has a twist to the norm, so bear with me.

Basically, I ahvent touched Alcohol for nearly two years now for many reasons, inparticular the effect it has on mind and body. I have bene training fairly seriously for just over a year now and, given that I started from a decent frame anyway (rugby and boxing) people at university now see me as the big guy and wanted to join in my training regimen.

When I said yes, I added the disclaimer that they could not expect amazing gains if they continued to seriously binge a couple of times a week, and that out of respect for themselves and also for my time, they should perhaps think about cutting back (I dont expect anyone to stop drinking, but excessive drinking is a pet hate).

ANyway the guys agreed, and to their credit cut back, but they did continue drinking and as the months went by, drinking to an over tipsy state was a regular thing.

However, when I commented on this, one said, " I was totally wasted last ngiht and yet this afternoon Ive just performed a PB." This got me thinking, the rugby lads (our UK equiv of Jocks) are very heavy drinkers and yet seem to be  maintaining and building decent physiques. One cannot deny that rugby culture is intertwined with alcohol culture.

Is alcohol really that detrimental to health, body building. Articles ive read have said some pretty scary stuff about it, and now im thinking, well is it really as bad as that.

Dont get em wrong, I ahve no personal intentions of reverting back to alcohol, but Id like perhaps more arguments in my arsenal when defending my decision to not drink.
Cheers,
Nick

anyone?

The articles that I’ve read usually say that alcohol tends to lower levels of test.

Rugby players are able to maintain their physiques do to the amounts of cardio they are doing. They are doing a lot of running for practice, and their games are full of running. While rugby players may be in good shape, they are not (generally) going to be as big as someone who works solely on being big (like a bodybuilder) or someone who is concentrating on their big three lifts (powerlifters).

Having researched and even covered the matter here in an article on T-Nation, I’ll offer my opinion.

First, there is no question that alcohol is detrimental to one’s muscle building and fatloss efforts. Alcohol consumption affects hormonal levels, effectiveness of sleep, and retards the body?s recovery effort just for starters. Anyone who has experienced a hangover is aware of the direct effects it can have on a workout.

Yet we have people like Arnold, who would finish off his workout with a chicken and a couple pitchers of beer and still managed to build a great physique. Then there?s your buddy, who set a PB.

What gives? Which one is the truth?

They?re both true.

You can drink and still build muscle and you can drink and still lose fat. You?ll just never achieve as high a level of performance or success you would achieve without the alcohol. It?s always going to be holding you back like a drag chute. How big the chute is and how often you drag it is up to you.

[quote]RJ Elsing wrote:
Yet we have people like Arnold, who would finish off his workout with a chicken and a couple pitchers of beer and still managed to build a great physique. Then there?s your buddy, who set a PB.[/quote]

I thought Arnold was joking when he said the thing about drinking beer? I was under the impression that he was a nasty competitor, and would say/do almost anything to throw off someone else’s training.

Of course, this is all speculation.

Lot of it has to do with youth. As they get older and if they continued the practice of heavy partying it would effect them more greatly. When you’re young the body can take a lot of punishment and keep coming back for more.

D

I read in mens health that beer actually does not effect T levels but all the alcohol turns to suger in youre blood and that effects insulin and T.Not to mention it dehydrates you.I drink on the wknds.Not allways but sometimes more than other times.

Football season being more.And after lifting and taking creatine all week and feeling big and full,then getting shit faced over the wknd i can literally see the difference in the mirror on sunday.NO MORE PUMP.

[quote]Uncle Fester wrote:
The articles that I’ve read usually say that alcohol tends to lower levels of test.

Rugby players are able to maintain their physiques do to the amounts of cardio they are doing. They are doing a lot of running for practice, and their games are full of running. While rugby players may be in good shape, they are not (generally) going to be as big as someone who works solely on being big (like a bodybuilder) or someone who is concentrating on their big three lifts (powerlifters).[/quote]

Rugby player stay in shape from running? I dont think so. Weight training and sprinting is whats keeping those dudes in shape.

The problem with drinking is a big night out demotivates me for the whole week. It adds fat for sure(beer anyway). You eat more shit food with a hangover as well. Add that to lower T levels and you are making things much harder than they have to be.

I agree with everything said here. I would also add that just because they are hitting personal records and/or are building/maintaining physiques that you believe are very good, that does not mean the alcohol is not keeping them from reaching their full potential. They could be doing even better without alcohol holding them back. But hey, if they can perform well and be built well while continuing to party, that the best of both worlds.

I know alcohol has sure as hell held me back. The shit demotivates a person totally.

Whats everyones thoughts on taking TRIBEX the day after drinking? It still wouldnt restore T levels back to optimal, but surely it’ll help. Right?

Just do both and don’t become guilty of ‘paralysis by overanalysis.’ In the end you’ll be both big AND badass, so you’ll own both parties.

I swear that getting drunk allows me to do double the amount of pull ups I can do sober. I also drank a couple beers before a squat workout and could lift a little more than usual. But that’s a bad idea all around.

Anyways, stop splitting hairs and have fun if you want to every now and then.

[quote]Daha wrote:
Dont get em wrong, I ahve no personal intentions of reverting back to alcohol, but Id like perhaps more arguments in my arsenal when defending my decision to not drink.
Cheers,
Nick
[/quote]

I’ve always thought “I don’t want to” is a pretty solid argument when it comes to defending my decision not to do something.

Speaking from personal experience, drinking was HEAVILY detrimental to my physique, most noticably on the big lifts. Since i’ve stopped regularly (I have the occasional night out, maybe once every couple of months at the most) my growth has exploded, as has my friends’ who made similar changes.

One of my best friends went from a fat 260 to a seriously bulked up 280, and added over 100 pounds on his bench press (from just upwards of 300 to about 440) over this past summer. He and I made conscious decisions not to drink and we had incredible success in doing so. Science aside, all the people I know (college kids) who do drink have sloppy physiques at best, there are however the few exceptions. Rugby players oddly enough. These guys however could be in much better shape if they cut the drinking, even when they do so for a week or two it really shows.

As for the sciency side of things, anything that attacks your liver like alcohol cannot be good for muscle growth or fat loss, plain and simple. perhaps a drink or two every couple nights may not have a very adverse affect. The extra calories from beer or hard liquor of course will have this effect, and as such beer is probably the lesser of the two evils, since the average shot of vodka has about 150 calories in it, plus possible colas it could be mixed it, not to mention the extra toxicity.

The reason I don’t drink is because I simply don’t want to, I weigh all my choices out, and my body is more important to me than getting hammered. It sometimes boggles my mind how the same kids that drink 5 nights a week complain to me about hardly being able to put on 10 pounds in a month or two with heavy supplementation.

Yeah, I guess this all makes sense cheers guys. ALso for the bloke that said ‘stop spiltting hairs and have fun’, well I dont find drinking fun, and dont really need it to have fun, and Im not splitting hairs, just, as I explained, am often fced with a ‘I drink all the time and look im making gains?’

ANyway, following this afternoons training (which incidentally is after a week of booze for the guys) has met wiht failure, and they ahve come to the conclusion that it may be detrimental.
Cheers

I’ll chime in on this one as well, having been an athlete, a bartender, and now a trainer at a gym.

There are a lot of variables to deal with when trying to figure something like this out. You said that you were in pretty good shape before, then got even more serious about your training. You blew up. A lot of these other guys were serious drunkards and cut back some, and began training harder. They made progress. Everything is relative.

Basically, the more advanced and cautious you are in regards to your lifestyle, the more cautious you have to continue to be to make gains. For you, drinking 2x per week now would be a major jump backwards in your training, whereas for them, it may have been a step up, as they were getting plowed 4 nights a week before. Eventually, these guys are going to plateau, and cutting out the booze is going to have to happen to continue to make progress.

Also, you guys are all rugby players. This expends ridiculous amounts of energy/calories. There are a lot of calories in booze. If these guys aren’t paying close attention to their eating already, the calories may be helping solely because they wouldn’t be geting enough otherwise. They may be taking in 3,500 - 4,000 now with the beer, whereas without, they may not make those calories up and only get in 2,000. You, on the other hand, already probably pay decent attention to your intake of food. Replacing 1,500 calories from good carbs and fat with beer would fuck you up something good. With them, they may not just be normally getting enough calories in general.

Also, I’d assume your central nervous system is more advanced, as you’ve been training harder/longer. Alcohol has terrible effects on the CNS, which is obviously very important for your big lifts. The more advanced your CNS becomes, the easier it is to fuck that up too, because it’s used to functioning at a much higher/ ‘more tapped in’ level.

I just saw proof of this recently. My wife’s birthday/my birthday/Valentine’s Day are all in the same week, so we went out celebrating. I normally don’t drink anymore, but got pretty tanked two or three nights that week. 2 days after my last drink (I was doing WS4SB) I was on my ME Bench movement. I got stapled to the bench on my first rep at a weight 10 lbs. lighter than what I had put up 3 times the week be4.

So, the short answer is, there is no short answer, but the more finely tuned you are in general, the easier it is to fuck it up. The effects of one big pig out meal may not be that noticable to Jay Cutler when he’s at 10% bodyfat by looking at his physique, but if he ate that same meal 2 hours before prejudging at the Olympia, he’d be in some deep shit…

Kubo

Alcohol and lifting don’t mix.

Any newb can add 5lbs to their 135 max bench and call it a personal best.

I disagree that alcohol and lifting don’t mix. They mix perfectly well for me. I train hard. I live well. If the guys are going out for beers, I’m going and I’m drinking some beers. When my best friend got married, I raised the toast. My brothers 21st birthday, we had a limo and we got completely twisted. They mix well in who I am, I don’t intend to lay either of them down. I will drink, I will train.

Sure I could perform better in the gym without alcohol. But in the gym performance is not the end all and be all secret of life. Lifting is a part of lives that we do to improve our lives. I refuse to live a life where I won’t drink a beer with my friends. When I go to Spain, I’m drinking the sangria.

Most of you when you say drinking, you mean binge drinking. Binge drinking will ruin a physique and have all those negative effects. Normal drinking will not. I’m gonna break the entire T code on this one, I smoke an occasional cigar as well.

[quote]Irish Muscle wrote:

wise words, i am strong as a fuckin ox when im drunk. i dont know why though. [/quote]

What does this mean? You set personal records in the gym when you are drunk?

Or you FEEL strong when you are loaded… I think we all have that.

Put it this way, I have never been involved in a sober brawl.