How Can Alcohol Influence Fitness Level and Muscle Growth?

How Can Alcohol Influence Fitness Level and Muscle Growth?

1. Alcohol and Fitness

The question that bothers all people is whether you need to eliminate alcohol if you want to be fit and gain muscle mass. Probably, the vast majority of people all around the world enjoys several drinks, especially after a hard working week. The weekend is always celebrated with libation. In fact, athletes and active adults struggle to give up the favorite adult beverage.

According to the results of a research, alcohol consumption can trigger a major setback in reaching fitness goals and gaining muscle. Alcohol seems to decrease muscle protein synthesis, restricting muscle growth. Additionally, studies have shown that alcohol decreases the metabolism and alters hormone levels. It means that natural reduction of body fat turns to be a problem.

There is another issue of not drinking alcohol. Generally, it is recommended to consume one alcoholic drink a day for women and maximum two beverages for men. Taking a drink has become a liquid cheat meal or reward for completion of a difficult workout. However, one drink frequently leads to the second and third.

Yet, studies have proved specific beneficial alcohol influence on the organism. If taken in moderate amounts, it advances good cholesterol, decreasing stress levels and insulin resistance. On the other hand, a negative impact of beverages usually outweighs the positive one.

2. Alcohol and Muscle Growth

Recently, the study was conducted to learn the way alcohol consumption influences muscle protein synthesis. Participants of the research included 8 physically active men performing interval training and weight lifting as a part of their testing challenge. They were supposed to consume whey protein and alcohol right after exercise and four hours after it. Besides, they took a carbohydrate meal within 2 hours after the workout. 2 and 8 hours after the training muscle biopsies were taken to check the change.

According to the gained results, alcohol levels exceeded baseline post exercise with carbohydrate and protein consumption. Muscle biopsies showed a decreased rate of muscle protein synthesis after exercise. Alcohol used together with protein decreased MPS by 24-37%.

Researchers concluded that alcohol really interferes with the muscle protein synthesis in spite of optimal nutrition consumption. The amount of consumed alcohol was based on the way athletes can drink. The findings give sufficient evidence to provide educational awareness to coaches and athletes, concerning alcohol consumption and muscle growth and recovery.

3. Alcohol and Fat Burning

Following the researches, alcohol seems to decrease the metabolism and reduce the body ability to burn excess fat. The reason is in the way the organism responds to alcohol rather than food. Generally, the body views alcohol as a toxin, so alcohol calories cannot be stored the way food calories are. Instead, the metabolic process changes from burning stored food calories up to removing toxic waste. Acetate and Acetaldehyde are the primary toxic chemicals promoted from alcohol.

Only two drinks stimulate the urge to go to the bathroom, since the body is using unwanted products as fuel in order to get rid of toxins. The natural metabolism is slowed down and fat cannot be burned. According to the results of numerous investigations, alcohol is proven to replace fat for fuel and contribute much calories for daily requirement.
Therefore, while you enjoy several drinks, your metabolism is paused for fat burning and is busy breaking down the booze. All the calories from the food we consume are stored as fat. The research has claimed that alcohol prevents the body from proper fat burning, especially around the belly.

So, is this the end to all the relaxing beverages and a pleasant glass of wine during dinner? Not exactly. Based on another important research, alcohol consumed in moderate amounts can be beneficial for health and certain body functions. Alcohol seems to produce a preferable influence on older women, who have drunk moderately. They showed decreased weight gain, if compared to the ones, who fully eliminated alcohol.

4. Alcohol and Hormone Levels

Hormone level, specifically testosterone, is altered by alcohol consumption. Alcohol used in high doses is likely to suppress testosterone up to 23%. According to the results of another medical study, alcohol has promoted no considerable difference in hormone levels even after acute alcohol ingestion.

Therefore, there is no conclusive evidence on interrelation between alcohol and testosterone levels. Nevertheless, the investigations indicate that it would take quite much alcohol to alter the hormone. Over 9 drinks for 180 lbs man are necessary to decrease testosterone level, as one of the studies claimed. Reduced testosterone level, in its turn, can influence an ability of muscle growth, sexual functioning and advance the danger of osteoporosis and osteopenia development.

In addition, high alcohol consumption can activate the process of testosterone conversion into estrogen. Generally, plants that are used to make alcohol beverages contain phytoestrogens that interfere with the male sex hormone.

Heavy drinking seems to advance the aromatase enzyme activity, which is responsible for the process of testosterone conversion into estrogen. Boosted estrogen level in men bears a potential risk of testicular impairments and occurrence of feminization symptoms.

In conclusion, it is inevitable to remember that heavy drinking can significantly harm the health of a man. However, moderate and occasional drinking has no adverse reactions on lean mass gain and male reproduction.

5. Alcohol and Healthy Diet

Other negative influences of alcohol include mindless eating and decreased inhibitions. Following the reports, alcohol seems to trigger overeating and excess calorie consumption. When under the influence, people cannot put much consideration into a healthy diet.

Alcohol and eating are tightly related and the outcome can grow to an expanded waistline. A research on calorie intake and alcohol consumption has resulted in extra 200 calories a day. Additional calories over a certain period of time led to considerable weight gain for a vast majority of participants.

Mind the amount of calories you are drinking:

• Wine (5 oz) is equal to 100 calories;
• Beer (12 oz) is equal to 150 calories;
• Distilled spirits (1.5 oz) is equal to 100 calories.

6. Alcohol and Sleep

Alcohol can trigger the feeling of relaxation, though it can sometime severely impact your sleep. Since sleep is inevitable for tissue and muscle recovery, the body cannot properly function without adequate rest.

Alcohol is thought to be a depressant and can contribute to your sleepiness. However, staying asleep will be a problem at this point. Alcohol disrupts rapid eye movement sleep, which can lead to further fatigue, daytime drowsiness and bad concentration.

Results of numerous researches prove the negative alcohol influence on sleep patents, advancing physical stress and weariness. Athletic performance, stamina and strength are considerably affected without a healthy reparative sleep. Studies indicate that 1-2 drinks do not seem to promote a harmful influence on the sleep patents, while excessive drinking does.

7. Alcohol and Nutrition

Alcohol is reported to contain empty calories, which have no nutritional value for the organism. There are 7 calories a gram in comparison with 4 calories a gram, which can be found in healthy carbohydrates. A great number of adult beverages are combined with sugary additives with an even higher concentration of unhealthy calories delivered to the body.

Alcohol consumption impairs nutrient absorption by reducing digestive enzymes. Besides, it can harm cells in the digestive tract and affect nutrient absorption. Without proper digestive function even a healthy diet cannot be used as a benefit for the body.

Excessive drinking can prevent the organism from getting sufficient amounts of nutrients and protein. Adequate nutrient levels are also important for an optimal fitness level, maintaining and building muscle mass.