T Nation

Minimizing Alcohol Damage?


As a college student, I typically find myself going out to drink 2-3 times per week Thursday-Saturday night. While I know this is really detrimental to my physique goals, I like doing it and don't want to give it up to get faster gains. I see a lot of reasonably big guys that keep lifting and drinking throughout college, and although they'd certainly be bigger or more ripped if they didn't drink, they still look good. I hope I can be one of those guys in 4 years (I'm a freshman).

My question is, given that I'm going to drink, how can I reduce the damage done by my alcoholic binges? I consume anywhere from 8-18 drinks on a given night (hard alcohol and light beer), so the calories get high quickly. Are there any supplement regimens you guys follow before a night of partying (or during, or after)? Also, I usually consume some pure protein right before going to bed (FF cottage cheese, chicken, etc) - is this a good idea? Is there anything you guys do nutritionwise before/during/after drinking to help fight off catabolism?

edit: on my worst nights I drink 8-18, not every night. I do have the ability to have 5 and just chill.
Thanks for the help.


Well, lets see here. You go out 3 nights a week and drink 8 to 18 drinks a night? First of all, you are an alcoholic and should probably take care of that before worrying about anything else. I can see having a few or 4, but 8 to 18?! Dude, 8 beers is like a heavy drinking night for me, and I drink too much.

I'm not telling you how to live your life, but damn dude, you can still have fun and not be like out of your mind shitfaced retarded stupid drunk. Best of all when you drink light the ugly girls don't get magically pretty and you don't wake up next to Shebba the hairy man bitch the next morning and want to cut your dick off. Trust me, you keep this up and you will go NOWHERE in the gym, by the time you recover from the last binge you are at it again.

Instead of drinking all the damn time, find a nice gal(or 5) to bang , that's what college is about, sex, you can drink anytime.


Holy shit dude your an alcoholic. 8 - 18 drinks? You might as well forget about even working out, your just waisting your time.

I would like to consider myself one of the more "Liberal" guys here when it comes to drinking and smoking. I prolly have about, eh 5-10 drinks a week total. I still keep a 6 pack, at 26 yrs old. I even have a few cigarettes here and there two. And hell, I take a hit on the reefer here and there. But at 8-18 drinks, several times a week, thats just stupid. You test levels have got to look ridiculous. Hey, its your own throat your slitting.

Just ask yourself..."why"....do you really need to be drunk to enjoy yourself and have fun at parties? I was always the sober type at college parties. I found the prettiest girls numbers, ran my game and got several digits, and split.


Then don't expect fast gains.

Seriously, keep drinking all you want, but don't expect to build an impressive physique with your current approach.

If you decide your body is more important than your alcohol binges, have some balls and don't be afraid to not drink heavily just because your friends do.

It's easy to have a good time w/o drinking. Unfortunately, some people are so used to drinking that they have to learn how to have a good night on the town while sober.


8-18 drinks... sounds like college.

It's amazing how many college punks (I was included in this) who just couldn't do a couple casual beers, and then be done with it.

Instead it's ALL or NOTHIN, which is the reason we've been seeing more teen deaths/hospitalizations in the last few years. Teens follow the examples of those who've tread on the path before them.

Alright, here's to some advice:

if you're worried about calories, you have 2 options, eat less that day, or drink less that night. There's really no other way to manage it.

Alcohol will SLOW your progess down a LOT. There's a reason college girls put on 15 pounds their first year, and it's not just the ice cream in the dorms. it's also BOOZE and a lower activity level. Many people you see walking around campus probably played a sport or two in highschool, without that, now their metabolism slows a little, and then BOOM! they start slabbin on fat.

The best way to minimize the damage from booze is to minimize consumption. I've found it amazing what going a few weeks "off" can do to a person's tolerance. Back in school I was at the point where I could go out and have 6 or 7 beers and not feel any buzz, this was when I became worried about my health. I then quit drinking for 3 WHOLE Weeks (I know, this is a really short amount of time, but for a college kid surrounded by bars and parties, it's a liftime).

I came out of the 3 week sober-binge and lo and behold, I could get a buzz off of two beers, and I didn't have the need to get "smashed" anymore because I had seen first hand how STUPID people acted at bars and parties when they were shit-faced.

My recommendation:

Evaluate your life and your health. Eventually binge drinking is going to catch up to you in a negative way, and it'll be up to you to decide how to positively influence your OWN life.

as my parents always told me

"Have fun, but don't be stupid."

don't be stupid.


And if you are going to drink at least drink real beer.


I posted a similar subject a couple weeks ago and asked for alternatives or examples of other people's "limits" without jeopardizing their efforts in the gym. I basically got guys telling me I was hypocrite for posting such a question. I also received some feedback as to some good alternatives with mixed drinks, whatever. You have to know your limit. 18/day will pack on the lbs quick. As much as I like a beer on the weekends I limit myself to where I am not counterproductive towards the work I do in the gym. Don't expect a welcoming committe on this one. All I can say is know your limit, know your body and respond accordingly.


8-18 beers! switch to a couple forties, get a quicker buzz and save some bucks at the same time. This question was posted to T-mag awhile back, and I forget who it was that replied, but they said you should eat some sort of protein throughout the evening to meter the insulin response.

I know we're a bodybuilding forum, but we should recognize that there are other facets in people's lives and stop with the "well you're not going to make any gains doing that cause drinking's bad mmmkay?" People realize drinking is bad, the topic was minimizing alcohol damage. While in the military it was fairly routine to be at the strip club til 2 am and wake up at 545 for PT where we would run 5-6 miles, spend the rest of the day working and then hit the gym. It hindered my gains, but was checking out some chicks sliding up and down a pole worth the .1 lbs of muscle I didn't pack on that day? You bet yer ass it was. I don't drink more than once or twice a month now, and only for football or sports related events, but I have some great memories from alcohol related activities.


hey man,

i'm in college too, i know how ya feel, ya probaly could make some good gains anyway, if ya didn't drink as often, it a hard decision, i choose the weights, but still get drunk now and again, it hard to stick to it, when all your mates are getting drunk,
ya could even put your goals on hold, till ya finished in college, i thought about that before, but couldn't do it, its a matter of how bad ya want it.


Dont start drinking before evening in the next day. You have to let your body to burn the alcohol away before you pour in more.
Eat regularly and eat good food, no crap. You must have some real food to eat in the morning.
Train on the weekdays when you don't drink. Also sleep enough on those days. Try to keep at least one weekend sober in a month.
Learn to drink water. After 4-6 beers you can easily replace every other beer(or drink) with plain water. It's easy to learn and you'll still be drunk enough to have fun.
As long as you party you shouldn't fantisize about getting huge, just try to stay fit so you can take the punishment.
Learn to drink slow.


I forgot to add, follow this regimen at your own risk. Tou might become a real pro.


I dont see how people think 8-18 drinks 3 times a week= alcoholic. I probably do similar, but as you get older it gets harder to stay lean with all those empty cals, but I enjoy it, maybe 2 times a week (please take note this is not american beer, its molson dry, and hard stuff, but I am not going into a discussion about beer) I can probably go through a good 18 if not more in the US.

You might wana cut back, maybe limit yourself til your feeling good than slow down a bit.

Personally I eat clean most of the week, and make sure to get in some vitamins, because the more you drink and piss the more you lose vitamins and minerals from your body. Other than that if you can avoid eating garbage and limit yourself to drinking on the weekend, it shouldnt be too bad. However dont expect incredible gains as someone else said. Its either you worry about it or not at all. You cant minimize damage, there are no magic pills, cut back on consumption or just train hard and deal with it.


You don't think consuming fifty-four alcoholic drinks per week at the very least boarders on alcoholism?


Its not the calories dude, not even close. Its the damage it does to your body, and most important your testosterone levels. Considering this freaking site is dedicated to that very hormone, I really don't understand why you would go about and destroy the one very thing that defines you as a man - your testosterone.


Be nice is someone actually answered his fucking question, instead of calling AA for them! Good lord.

So what, hes a college student. Most time the thats what you do in college, so get over it. When he graduates I doubt he'll drink like that anyway.

He knows it isnt good, but its part of the social scene now and he just wants some advice. So give it to him. Leave the alcoholism chat for someone who needs it.


Agreed. Plenty, if not most kids get bombed several nights a week in college. It's shit for your body, sure, but it doesn't make you an alcoholic. I didn't drink that much in college, maybe more like 25 drinks a week, but most of the kids I knew who were real boozers finished college and cut back to two nights a week or something. Drinking heavily in college makes you normal, whether that's good or bad, not an alcoholic. That being said, I'm looking to cut back on my drinking a little bit, while in grad school, because of lifting.


18 drinks is really a hell of a lot and possibly something to worry about. But drinking 3 times a week, in and of itself, does not preclude gains. It can make it hard to minimize fat gain however. This can be compensated by more cardio but this may slow muscle gains down in and of itself. Bottom line, quite apart from the health hazards, drinkning does not necessarily preclude good progress. But it most definitely slow it down.


You know, college is college. I actually still go out 2-3 nights a week, but I don't drink as much as I did in college. Which is a good thing. But I don't regret my college years. And I'm pretty happy with my current physique. But I will say that my greatest gains were during periods of very minimal alcohol consumption. I also felt my best during those times.


I agree with Mike as far as damage goes. It can't be minimized. Eat clean and train hard. That's all you can do. You have to decide how much you are going to drink based on much pleasure it brings you and how much it's impacting your strength and physique goals and overall health. Nothing is going to 'negate' it.


liver protection supplements= minimizing the damage.