Why Alcohol is Harmful for Muscle Building

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If you’re a bodybuilder, you should know what alcohol does to muscle growth.  After your efforts at the gym, have you ever wondered if it’s a wise choice to reward yourself with an ice-cold beer? Some suggest that alcohol in moderation is fine after a workout and might have limited health benefits.  Others say you should avoid alcohol if you want to achieve peak performance levels. So what’s the best thing to do? Will drinking wine or beer undo all of your hard work? Here are some considerations to help you make an informed choice during your exercise routine.
Muscle Gain

How Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth

Simply put, you get stronger and muscles get bigger when you work out.  Hard work and a solid weight training regimen will pay off when you are in an anabolic state–a muscle building stage–as long as possible. A workout becomes unprofitable when you are in a catabolic stage – muscle breakdown. Drinking alcohol before, during or after a workout puts your body in a catabolic state, where muscle tissue is breaking down instead of building up.

Alcohol also deprives the athlete of a growth hormone called HGH. You know it is important to rest muscles between workouts. HGH helps your muscles recover and grow during those intervals. Your body produces HGH during sleep, but drinking can disrupt sleep and HGH production. As a result, drinking can decrease HGH levels by up to 70 percent. Less HGH is available to work on those muscles.

Alcohol affects more than muscles. Drinking reduces your mental awareness and lessens your endurance. Neglecting the value of water by picking alcohol is not the best choice. Water helps you exercise more efficiently and not getting enough can decrease your performance by as much as 25 percent.  Drinking water instead of alcohol can help you feel stronger and work out longer.

The Impact of Alcohol on Testosterone Levels

Alcohol lowers testosterone levels, which affects your workout several ways. First, your drive to work out will be lowered. Second, without proper testosterone levels during bodybuilding, you will not be able to maintain muscle strength and mass to lift those barbells.

Studies show that people who drink alcohol have lower levels of testosterone.  Muscle tissues use receptors to communicate with testosterone and those receptors are blocked by alcohol. Muscles never receive the message to build up – they become catabolic. Muscles enter a breakdown state that counteracts the workout.  Limiting alcohol means that your muscle receptors can respond to testosterone during your workout.

If you can’t remove alcohol from your routine at the gym, that may be an indication that you have a bigger problem. You might be addicted to alcohol. Call a certified professional to help you seek out an  accredited alcohol rehab center. Let them help you become the healthiest person that you can be.

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  • This article contains very good advice. I have quit alcohol since getting interested in bodybuilding and fitness.
    But I did hear the Arnold Schwarzenegger used to down a load of beer straight after working out.

  • Niku,
    I’m glad you understand the facts and information shared here. Please share this blog post with your friends 🙂

  • Thanks for the article.

    I think that an absolutely vital piece of information is missing from this article: alcohol will have virtually no hampering effect on muscle growth unless it is drunk in excess. Drinkig alcohol once a week ,even heavily, will not hinder muscle growth, as the drops in testosterone won’t be significant enough nor long-lasting enough for it to cause any type of visible negative effect. Our muscles grow ALL WEEK long, 24 hours a day, assuming you lift weights 3 or so times a week. It’s not a drop in testosterone for half a day or even one full day is going to make a noticeable difference.

    So yeah, don’t drink alcohol in excess, but don’t be afraid of it either as you’ll develop the drinking equivalent of Anorexia 🙂

  • Hey Mark,
    That’s an excellent point, but how many people do you know that just drink once a week? Back in the day, mostly everyone I knew would drink several times during the week. But good points 🙂

  • Yes it’s true that wine affected badly to our health. But some person tells that a little quantity of wine is too good for health. I always confused that which one is right and which one is just a myth? After reading your blog finally it seems to me that wine is affected to our body and muscle growth.

  • Hi Alexander, also it depends what type of drink the person is having. Are they having a hard drink or a wine cooler. There are many factors. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Please share it. Thanks.

  • Wow strange to see that alcohol has theses much of impact on testosterone. I’ll think twice before having a beer or a glass of wine again 😛

  • Great post, thanks for sharing this. Alcohol in moderation is fine, however, alcohol is addictive. You need to be cautious with the amount you take especially if you’re into muscle building.

  • In a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Research they concluded that just a mere 24g of alcohol consumption showed whole-body lipid oxidation ( the rate at which your body burns fat) decreased by a whopping 73%!

  • Nice posting. These tips are really tremendous to sale our home. I think it would be effective for all.Thank you for sharing with us. keep it up.

  • The guys at my local gym have this discussion often about how much is okay for body builders. Now, armed with the information from your post, I can finally offer them the proof that I was right all along. Thanks.

  • Hi Jason,

    Thank you very much for this very interesting post. Honestly, I really didn’t know that alcohol is harmful for muscle building. Thank you very much for sharing this. I have learned something new today. I would recommend this post to my friends who are alcohol drinkers.


  • Great article, just an addition to your article. Alcohol can damage your liver and if you are taking a lot of supplements it will double the cause of damage in your liver in the long run. So better to stop taking alcohol or drink in moderation

  • We strongly recommend training programs to lose weight and build muscle regularly to get the most from your workout. Once you have a great body, this does not mean you can stop exercising, instead, you have to follow to stop doing so, but not as intense as before. However, you may also have some workout routines without weights making the herbal supplements to support it. All the builder is in constant search of a new supplement that really works. The main objective is, and always has been, to find natural methods that can help increase your lean muscle mass. One of the latest entries in this area is a supplement known as growth hormone antlers, deer antler or aerosol. This is presented as an insulin-like substance that many people claim will actually help body builders not only add muscle mass, but also recover and heal faster, along with a number of other benefits. The real question, however, is really works for body builders and if so, how it helps.

  • the muscle tissues that happen to be keeping the achievement of its representatives. This will make the bibs are worn above and make the series, you should never restrict biceps.
    You’ll need to be careful with your calorie intake if you are going to develop muscles. You can find excellent unhealthy calories and poor classes, so it is important to know which one to promote muscle progress and which restrict. When you eat a poor diet, you neglect to build muscle mass and no doubt will become excess fat.
    Owning a protein snack before and after exercises to strengthen muscle tissue. As an example, consider the consumption of 15 grams of protein half hour before your workout, and follow-up for another 15 gr protein-training article. To give an example, one or two servings of whole milk has 15 grams of protein for health.
    Require a health supplement creatine. Creatine monohydrate help muscles recover that will help increase the volume and concentration of your workout routines. Be careful if you receive at the time of any other dietary supplement. Stick to the instructions to some tee, and never consider more than anime for you.

  • First, would like to say GREAT info graphic! Second, I agree with Mark . If your goal is to gain muscle, then you must only drink in extreme moderation, like once per week. Drinking several times per week will have a negative affect on your muscle development as stated above. True it can be very hard to determine exactly how much will affect your development, but the key to remember is that if your “goal” is to gain muscle, then do your best to eliminate alcohol from your diet regime.

  • Interesting article, its amazing the effect that alcohol has on the body especially if one is involved in bodybuilding or a similar sport!

    Its okay to have it in moderation but keep it to one day on the weekend so you train, Monday Wednesday and Friday and then drink on Saturday giving you Sunday to recover and sort your diet and nutrition out for the coming week!

    Good solid article with some good and well presented information, i bet a lot of people seeing this will now think twice before drinking alcohol now and personally i reduce it to almost non existent apart from special occasions!

    What are the rest of you like when it comes to drinking alcohol?

    Let me know?

  • Great post. A few people I know bust their guts out the gym and to cool off, spend their evening at the bar totally negating all the hard work they put in for the workouts. I argue that it is bad and they argue back that is okay to drink. Your article will be useful when I talk to these folks. Thanks.

  • I always be told that alcohol is harmful for muscle building but didn’t really know why. Now I know It so I can explain it to other people asking me about alcohol. Thank you for the post. Really helpful

  • Very good information. Also learned it’s wrong to mix supplements with alcohol. Your sex drive also depreciates.