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BCAA's and Booze

I’m currently at university and one of the things that I think has the greatest negative impact on my training is alcohol. But I’m happy to suffer the consequences as I enjoy drinking and don’t drink at all during the holidays so I always get some good periods of alcohol free training down.

I was wondering whether taking some BCAA’s after a night out would be a good idea? I’ve read them being labelled as the anabolic ‘switch’ for your body so would they work against the catabolic effects alcohol has on the body?

Any general ideas on the subject are welcome

[quote]mozzer87 wrote:
one of the things that I think has the greatest negative impact on my training is alcohol.[/quote]

I would definitely agree with the above statement. I went through a number of years drinking and lifting while at college and I can honestly say that (at least for me) it seriously impaired the gains that I did make. I severely cut down my alcohol intake in my senior year and haven’t drank at all since graduation. Since I kicked the booze I have seen some serious gains in both size and strength. Not saying you should do the same (I believe living the college experience made me a more complete individual), I just wanted to shed some light on the subject from another perspective.

On to the intended point of the post though, I always wondered about the BCAA/alcohol relationship myself. I personally always downed a handful of BCAA’s before drinking and right before bed whenever I drank throughout college. Whether or not it did anything is debatable, but I would say better to err on the safe side when it comes to protecting your hard eared muscle/strength.

If you’re drinking, why worry about BCAAs? That’s like taking Alpha Male to help reverse the T level effects.

Suck it up and deal with it, or don’t drink.

Cheers for the response, yeah it seems to make sense. What amount of BCAA’s were you consuming while at college?

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
If you’re drinking, why worry about BCAAs? That’s like taking Alpha Male to help reverse the T level effects.[/quote]

Great idea, I wish I thought of that! Oh wait, I did… too expensive to implement.

Seriously though, I agree with you that if making gains and achieving one’s strength and physique goals is a priority then there are certain sacrifices one must take in order to optimize their results. However, I would argue that there is definitely a balance between having a good time and putting forth the necessary effort to achieve one’s immediate and long term goals. How these two objectives are split will depend greatly on the individual. Not everyone is at the point in their life where reaching their training related goals is their top priority, and that is completely understandable and even encouraged at times. I can say with 100% certainty that I would have missed a number of meaningful, personality forming opportunities had I not drank during college, especially the early years.

Anyways… I started taking BCAA’s during my junior year so I had a few years of experimenting with the dosage until I found what I feel worked best for me. Basically my current protocol, as has been for a while now, is 40g during training when mixed with a full dose of Surge sipped throughout the workout. If I am in a cutting phase, I will skip the Surge and add in an additional 15g of BCAA in order to make up for the BCAA’s found in the Surge that are no longer present. This way I manage to get 55g of BCAA per session regardless of whether or not I use Surge. As far as BCAA’s and booze is concerned, I usually took about 10g before and after drinking. I started using the powdered stuff because it was easier to take during training so it only ended up being about 2 tsp at a time. You can also pop a couple of Vitamin C tabs before bed and upon waking to help fight increased cortisol levels.

Like I said, maybe this works and maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s over complicating minutia, but maybe it’s kinda smart at the same time. All I know is that it helped me feel better about going out and tying one on, and having that peace of mind was important to me. 2 scoops of BCAA and 2 vitamin C caps costs less than a dollar so why not at least give it a shot?

Dan

Yeah I’ve got a kg of BCAA powder and have started to take the amount your taking during workouts.

How long have you been doing that for and so far how’s it working out? I read some of the things CT writes about such as the massive results he’s had with clients and even himself (on large BCAA doses) and I’m pretty excited about the next few months.

[quote]mozzer87 wrote:
I read some of the things CT writes about such as the massive results he’s had with clients and even himself (on large BCAA doses) and I’m pretty excited about the next few months.[/quote]

Exactly. I picked up CT’s “Black Book of Training Secrets” a couple years back and read it like it was the bible. I have followed many of his programs both from the book and here on T-Nation and have always experienced quality gains so he quickly became one of my favorite coaches along with Charles Poliquin (the man is genius). Both of them recommend high doses of BCAA while training and, for me at least, this protocol does not disappoint.

The biggest difference I have noticed is the ability to put on muscle while eating on a slightly hypocaloric diet. I am one of those people who freak out if I can’t see my abs for more than a week so as of right now I never have really done an all out bulk, but rather follow a consistent, slightly above maintenance eating regimen with a lot of hard, sensible training. I usually eat between 500-1,000 kcals above maintenance for a few months and then drop down to maybe 300-500 kcals below for a couple weeks in order to burn off any fat gained. I try to keep my BCAA’s around 40-60g during training regardless of my goals.

Since I started doing this (slightly less than 2 years ago) I have gained somewhere between 15-20 lbs of quality muscle while keeping my bodyfat levels fairly low. That may not sound like a whole lot, but I can honestly say I look a hell of a lot better than I used to and am a lot stronger as well. I am sure you could make faster progress if you followed a more traditional bulk, but that’s not really something that interests me as I like to look good (i.e. not fat) year round.

Hope that helps.

once you can legally buy alcohol products the urge to drink them with any regularity pretty much becomes non-existent, at least with many people around my age (26) i have talked to

[quote]cyph31 wrote:
once you can legally buy alcohol products the urge to drink them with any regularity pretty much becomes non-existent, at least with many people around my age (26) i have talked to[/quote]

Completely agree, before I turned 21 I loved to drink. Now I have to tell people I’m on a diet and can’t drink whether I’m bulking or cutting because it simply isn’t that much fun anymore because you can do it whenever you want.

[quote]Higgins wrote:
Now I have to tell people I’m on a diet and can’t drink whether I’m bulking or cutting because it simply isn’t that much fun anymore because you can do it whenever you want.[/quote]

I notice that people look at you a lot differently when you actively choose to not drink (i.e. not drinking simply because you don’t want to). For a while I would go to the bars and people would ask me why I wasn’t drinking.

They would ask me if I was on antibiotics or if I had to work at some crazy hour the next morning and when I would tell them that I just didn’t feel like it they would look at me with a puzzled look and usually call me some sort of derogatory term insinuating that I was a candy-ass. Now I just drink tonic water with a slice of lime and tell them it’s a gin and tonic to shut them up.

Bitches.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
If you’re drinking, why worry about BCAAs? That’s like taking Alpha Male to help reverse the T level effects.

Suck it up and deal with it, or don’t drink.[/quote]

Its so hard to just get a straight answer without a constant bombardment of lifestyle advice… Take your BCAA’s post booze-binge but don’t expect it to make up for your night of partying and eating b/c it won’t but it can only help

I know… rather than just give out information on how BCAA’s might help people constantly feel the need to give advice on drinking itself which I don’t freaking want, EVER!

Here the legal age is 18 and I’m 2 years over that and oh wait I still like drinking. And now I’ve just finished my exams I will be getting well and truly plastered several times in the following week.

So… anymore ideas about what will help combat the old booze sessions? I usually find it tends to mean I stay sore for longer after a gym session than usual thats what made me think of the BCAAs at first as they are reputed as helping a lot with DOMS.

I’ve noticed impared recovery like you are talking about. I’ve come home and slammed a shake before bed as well…who knows if it helps but it can’t hurt.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Thanks a lot, very useful information there, I’ll definitely be incorporating as much of that as I can

I order a diet coke and tell people it’s Rum and Coke when I don’t want to drink alcohol.

I sometimes have BCAA tabs before or after a night of drinking. Sometimes I even take BCAA tabs with me to the bar if I know I’ll be out for a long night.

Here’s something I wrote to someone over PM when he asked me about going out drinking for a night:

Your doing everything else right, one night of drinking isn’t gonna ruin everything. Definatly stick to a 0 carb spirit like vodka or low carb light beer. If you have 6 vodka and diet cokes you looking at about 540 calories. Treat it like a cheat meal, have all your other meals during the day like you normally would. And NO EATING junk food along with the liquor.

Where people screw themselves when drinking, is instead of drinking diet coke, they drink regular coke. Now every drink totals about 200 calories. Then they don’t stop at 6, they drink till they have no clue who they are, so maybe they drink 12. Then at the end of the night they eat a cheese steak or 3 slices of pizza. That’s 3000 extra calories. Then they go home and pass out. The next day they are so hung over, if they were supposed to work out they will skip it and since they’re feeling like shit they order out for crap food instead of preping there own food.

Also drink plenty of water before bed, even a glass or 2 while your out if you can remember. I take a multi-vit before bed too along with my normal Low Carb Metabolic Drive shake and fish oil. Also it’s best to do your drinking on a night when you don’t have a scheduled workout the next day.

Everything in moderation.

[quote]JohnnyDangles wrote:
jehovasfitness wrote:
If you’re drinking, why worry about BCAAs? That’s like taking Alpha Male to help reverse the T level effects.

Suck it up and deal with it, or don’t drink.

Its so hard to just get a straight answer without a constant bombardment of lifestyle advice… Take your BCAA’s post booze-binge but don’t expect it to make up for your night of partying and eating b/c it won’t but it can only help[/quote]

i’m not trying to make it a lifestyle choice and be all high and mighty. I drink, and enjoy doing so. But, I’m not about to worry about popping 10 BCAA pills with every Miller Lite.

it just sounds like an overall retarded idea to worry about

To answer your question, it would probably be a good idea. Regardless of the alcohol consumption, going out all night will leave you catabolic, so getting some aminos into your bloodstream asap would probably be good.

For my advice, I think you should look into alternate means of enjoying yourself while partying. I know a lot of people might not agree with me on this, but it is not too hard to get drugs online that will be just as fun as alcohol without messing up your physique. There’s also drugs that will drastically reduce the amount of alcohol you need to get drunk. If you want to go the legal route, there are some nootropics that are fun in high enough doses.

I find guys are usually understanding when I tell them I’m not drinking because of my physique. At least in my crowd, most guys lift weights themselves, and they know drinking isn’t exactly the greatest thing to be doing.

For girls, say something along the lines of, “because every time I go out and drink with my buddies, a girl like you always ends up taking advantage of me”.

What drugs are we talking about here? Benzos or some pain killer?

A lot of opiates (vicodin, morphine, etc.) screw with your digestive system in a really bad way - and probably are a worse alternative to alcohol.

When you said a drug makes you drunk faster vicodin came to mind. I am curious what you are suggesting here.