T Nation

Beer and Muscle Building?

Ok so basically I’ve been on a long training hiatus, and from December to February, I would smoke weed every single day, and on Friday and Saturday, I would get blackout drunk. I quit smoking weed 16th of February after realizing that I was spending close to 400 dollars a week on just weed. I just recently picked up Bodybuilding again, and i quit partying as well, but I really do enjoy having a beer with my chicken and rice dinner on Saturday night :slight_smile:
I’m trying to put on as much muscle as I can, so my question is will having a beer or two affect my gains? Me and my mates have a long-standing tradition of having a glass of scotch and a cigar on Sundays, so that equals about 2-3 drinks a week. How much will this affect me?

Sounds like a drastic change in lifestyle. Kudos. However you wont be able to go 0 to 100 and keep at it consistently… Focus on Mon - Fri and keep the beer(not blackout style…) and sunday drink, it wont harm.

The 20-30 meals and 3-7 workouts you have each week will have a much bigger impact than 2-3 drinks a week.

It’s good that you’re getting a handle on your vices, but unless you’re actually competing, the impact of doing that kind of stuff once or twice a week is minimal compared to the effort you should be putting into your training and nutrition plan.


Clearly getting black out drunk is not a good idea, regardless of your muscle building goals.

That said, you can certainly have beer regularly and still make great gains in the gym. I drink IPA’s, sours, stouts, etc… a few times a week, and never go for light beer. Unless you’re trying to get stage ready, this really won’t impact you if you keep it within reason (1-3 beers; maybe 2-3 times a week). Also, you can “account” for the extra calories by consuming slightly less carbs on days you’re going to have a beer or two.


… jesus.


Seconding both of these posts.

I have a single beer with dinner just about every night (unless it’s the weekend & my wife wants to split a bottle of wine). Usually fancy-schmancy stuff like @antiquity - IPA’s, stouts, porters. I would not do this if I were a bodybuilder trying to get into stage condition, but for “regular guys that lift weights and want to be strong / look decent” it’s not a big issue. Doesn’t seem to have hampered my strength gains.

With that said, someone in your position may need to be cautious about what truly constitutes “moderation.” If you find yourself using that as an excuse to go from one beer to two beers to a sixpack, etc…you’ve lost the original point.


Absolutly get where you’re coming from. Alcoholism runs in my family so i have a new rule that i only drink socialy and only a beer or a glass of scotch.
However, have you found that drinking half a bottle of wine impacts recovery the next day. Can you still workout the day after?

yeah its messed up

There’s some good articles based upon studies on this site. I suggest searching them out but basically if you trained that day you can have something like 0.5g per kg of bodyweight without it affecting performance. Can’t remember exactly, still hungover :wink:

Can I still work out? Absolutely, haha. If I don’t do a good job rehydrating before bedtime, I may wake up with a mild hangover, and need a couple cups of coffee and some water til I feel better, but I’ve never had a hangover so bad that I couldn’t work out from 2 glasses of wine.

I am not in any way qualified to issue you formal medical advice, but this is my concern, yes. If you have a family history of alcoholism and went on a three-month binge with heavy amounts of smoking and drinking, you probably want to keep a very close eye on this (I do work with some people that treat alcoholics, and they have remarked that “I’m just a social drinker” can become an excuse for a lot of drinking if you’re not careful…)

Like I said, I drink 1 beer (sometimes a small pour of bourbon/scotch instead) almost every day (M-F) and split a bottle of wine with my wife on weekends, and it’s not going to have a significant deleterious effect on progress. As @Chris_Colucci said, getting the basics in your 20+ meals per week and 3+ workouts per week will matter a lot more than whether you have a beer with dinner until you get to a very, very high level.

If “a beer or two with dinner on Saturday night and a scotch & cigar with my mates on Sunday” is the extent of your vices, that is just fine. Live your life, man.

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See this:

“…1g/kg alcohol level torpedoed muscle recovery, but the .5g/kg alcohol consumption had no effect.”

As for beer and bodybuilding, Layne Norton said he drank 1-2 beers every day when he was competing in bodybuilding, including when cutting for a competition. It can be done, but it’s extra calories that will have to be cut from somewhere else.

Have you considered that you may be one of them? People that drink normally don’t need to set rules like that.

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Yeah dude thats why i quit binge drinking. Giving up binge drinking acutally wasn’t that hard, quitting smoking was a lot harder. Haven’t smoked in nearly 2 months. I would however assume that cannabis is more friendly for muscle building than alcohol, but i don’t know.

If either is an unhealthy habit that leads to lack of productivity, reduced motivation, poor sleep quality, or higher stress it’s going to affect muscle building.

2/3 drinks a week is nothing, 2/3 drinks a day I would say is more the point at which alcohol consumption may start to affect gains & health etc.



That’s what I said on my 12th birthday when I started drinking.