Drinking alcohol carries many health risks but how does it affect the process of building muscle specifically? It turns out, alcohol can really get in the way of building muscle. The more you drink, the more it holds you back from reaching your fitness goals. There are several reasons why alcohol has this effect. Some of these reasons include inhibited protein synthesis, lower growth hormone and testosterone levels, dehydration, and preventing you from working out to your full potential due to the effects of a hangover.
Inhibited Protein Synthesis in Your Muscles
Protein synthesis is essential to muscle growth. Protein synthesis is the process through which your body takes protein from the food you eat and uses it to create muscle. When muscles experience small tears (usually due to working out) the process of protein synthesis begins in order to fix the muscle and build stronger muscle fibers. This is essentially how working out leads to building muscle.
However, alcohol actually inhibits protein synthesis. Many studies even go one step further, concluding that not only does alcohol stop your muscles from growing, but it can actually decrease your overall muscle mass. If you still want to drink alcohol, make sure you at least avoid it on days when you expect to train.
Lower Testosterone & Growth Hormone
Testosterone is a very strong muscle building hormone. In fact, it’s what is used to make steroids. Alcohol lowers testosterone which itself leads to reduced protein synthesis. Growth hormone is another key hormone when it comes to building muscle. Growth hormone is normally released during sleep. However, drinking alcohol before bed can suppress this release.
Reduced Ability to Train
Alcohol can also lead to dehydration and hangovers, both of which make it much more difficult to train to your full potential the next day. Individuals who feel very hung over are much more likely to simply give up earlier into their training and feel tired sooner.
If you are looking for a program which will give you the tools to build muscle, try out PumpFit Club. We offer training classes designed to be inclusive and help you build muscle and feel better. Call us now and ask about trying a free class.