T Nation

Alcohol Timing


I've read various accounts of the detrimental effect of alcohol but I was wondering something today. Would there be a difference in one drinking on the night after a workout (say 8 hours or so later) as opposed to drinking on a night in which one did not work out? The reason I ask this was I used to try to schedule any drinking I might do during an off day, however, I was wondering today whether that actually made any difference as I assume recovery would be effected regardless of when one consumed the alcohol. Note: this is not a if I drink alcohol every night will my gains be affected post. I'm just wondering if my past "philosophy" was grounded or if it was part of the "if you drink the night you workout, it negates anything you might have done" school of thought. Thanks.


One or two drinks has been shown to have a positive effect on testosterone. So, it would seem logical to think that after the workout you might get some benefit from the higher T. But, the next morning you may have an unusually low T-level due to the alcohol. So, be sure and use some ZMA and maybe Alpha Male or other T-support supplement -- not that it will totally offset the damage but may minimize it and aid faster T-recovery.

Also, the alcohol is inefficient calories, so consuming after some activity may have your furnace burning more effectively and the alcohol may not do as much calorie damage. Generally, on days that I don't work out I try to make an extra effort to eat clean since the activity level is lower.

This is all pure speculation on my part, just trying to think through it logically. Obviously if you're going to get shit-faced drunk it doesn't matter -- it's pure damage regardless of timing.


If you're talking about one or two, I don't think it matters either way. If you're talking about binge type quantities, I find that it is best to do that on an off day or at least after a minor/easy workout. I find it sets my recovery back too much if I do it the night after a really hard workout. I'm still not sure which factor contributes to the negative effect on recovery most. The possibilities I figure are the following:
1. The alcohol itself
2. Longer periods without food that are associated with my drinking/partying activities
3. Sleep disruption- getting to bed later, getting up to piss constantly and sleeping generally poorly

I suspect #3 is the biggest factor though 2 also plays a big role. I think 1 is more relevant to the fat gain that results from doing it all more than occasionally.

Everything in moderation.


Your right on the money, I usually have only light soreness, but after a night out drinking (on the same day of lifting) I am hurting big time.