Alcohol is a diuretic, which is a fancy word for something that makes you pee – a lot. You’ll be familiar with the feeling after the third pint or so. Broken seal, anyone?
Not only does dehydration contribute to a pounding head the morning after, also known as the hangover, but it will also have a huge affect on your muscle cells. Muscles grow best when they are in a hydrated state. In fact, protein synthesis will only work when there is enough water in the cells of the muscle. A reason why it’s so important to stay hydrated during your gym session.
But here’s the really bad news: a lack of fluid can increase the speed of protein breakdown. Yes, you heard us. We’re off to get a gallon of water.
I used to drink heavily on party nights too, until a couple weeks ago when I realized just how much getting drunk was hurting my gains. I’m hoping that after you’ve read this article, for those of you that drink, you will see just how detrimental alcohol is to building muscle and hopefully cut down on drinking. Empty Calories Alcohol is empty calories. It doesn’t have any nutrients, but does have a caloric value of 7 calories per gram. In just one shot (1.5oz) of 80 proof vodka there’s nearly 100 calories. For those of you trying to lose fat, forget it if you are drinking. Not only will the high calorie content of alcohol have a negative effect on your total calorie intake, but it also slows down your metabolism by disrupting the Kreb’s cycle. Since the Kreb’s cycle isn’t working correctly, fats cannot be broken down. In short, your body is trying so hard to digest and metabolize the alcohol, that fat burning stops all together. Dehydration Alcohol consumption also hurts muscle growth. Not only due to hangovers lowering your workout intensity, but it actually lowers protein synthesis by 20%. Twenty percent! There are several reasons why it does this. For one, it dehydrates your muscle cells. As many know, hydrated and even over hydrated muscles (like when you take creatine) allows for a much higher anabolic environment. Because your cells aren’t holding as much water, it becomes much harder to build muscle. The second reason why alcohol can severely hurt muscle growth is because it blocks the absorption of many important nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation and growth including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium