Ditch the Alcohol if You Want to Maximize the Benefits and Gains From Weightlifting

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on January 22nd, 2024
Reading Time: 4 minutes


Pretty much everyone understands these days that Testosterone is a major aspect of weightlifting and bodybuilding and the reason why men can build muscles more quickly and build more muscle than women.

For that reason, it should come to little surprise that the use of alcohol, most notably, overindulgence and abuse of alcohol, can inhibit the body's ability to build and preserve muscle mass, reducing your ability and chances to maintain your ideal male physique.

How Does Alcohol Interfere with Healthy Muscles?

For men looking to maintain athletic performance or maintain a fit figure, alcohol can cause a lot of problems when drank to excess.

Three major ways that alcohol disrupts the normal function of the body with regard to bodybuilding and athletic performance are rebuilding, recovery, and performance.

Though the buzz dissipates in a matter of hours, the physiological hangover of alcohol can persist for a couple of days.

In fact, athletes are suggested not to drink heavily in the 2 days before they are set to perform, because the body can take that long to fully process the alcohol out of the body.

The following are some ways that alcohol consumption can prevent athletes from performing at their peak, even at a rate of consumption of two-three drinks in a night:

  • Alcohol inhibits coordination and reduces motor skills
  • Alcohol leads to issues with balance
  • Alcohol slows reaction time
  • Alcohol reduces strength
  • Alcohol reduces the body's ability to operate at its physiological peak.

How does Alcohol Inhibit Liver Function?


One of the biggest reasons why alcohol use reduces physical capacity and gains achieved through physical exercise is because of its effect upon the liver.

Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, just like the glycogen that your body uses for that added boost of energy. In fact, these two processes compete with one another, meaning that when your body is processing alcohol, there is less capacity to convert glycogen into usable energy, which reduces your ability to maximize your workout. You both get tired more easily and can't perform at your physiological peak.

Alcohol Reduces Testosterone Levels in the Bloodstream

Overconsumption of alcohol can also suppress Testosterone Levels in the bloodstream. Alcohol is one of many chemicals that promote the conversion of Testosterone into Estrogen.

Lower Testosterone Levels mean that you have less of the innate hormone which promotes muscle building in both sexes, but to a much greater extent in men.

Also, elevated Estrogen Levels in Men are associated with inhibited heart and cardiovascular health, which can affect your circulation in both the short term and the long term. If you drink too much, you simply can't build muscle as effectively as a man that does not drink at all.

Alcohol Leads to Dehydration Which Reduces Physical Performance

Hydration plays a central role in your ability to work out and stay at your peak. The kidneys require an abundance of water in order to do their job keeping the human system clean and allowing vitamins, nutrients, and energy to reach their intended locations.

If your body doesn't have enough water, your muscles won't have enough energy and this will not only interfere with your workout performance but the vital rebuilding and strengthening period that takes place post-workout and while you are asleep. Alcohol severely depletes water resources, because it takes a lot of water to breakdown and metabolizes alcohol, which could be used to encourage healthy function related to muscle-building.

Alcohol Has a Negative Impact on Sleep Quality

Most people don't realize it, but it is while you are asleep that the body actually does the hard work of making you stronger after a workout.

It is while we sleep that our bodies go into a mode of repair and replenishment, in which our bodies prepare themselves for a new day. Alcohol belongs to a class of chemicals known as sedatives, meaning that they encourage sleep.

The problem is that alcohol is a short-acting sedative, meaning that, while it helps you fall asleep quicker, your sleep becomes more restless as the night goes on and the alcohol wears off, preventing you from going through all of the sleep phases associated with healthy sleep. Drinking too much and too often will prevent your body from fully rebuilding and rejuvenating itself, which will impede long-term gains.

Be Aware of the Effects of Alcohol and How It Can Prevent You From Meeting Your Workout Goals

Most people enjoy a few drinks now and then, but it's important to remember and keep in mind the costs associated with alcohol use.

Whether you are a bodybuilder, or just like to work out to keep yourself in shape, it's vital to recognize that your use of alcohol plays a role in the effectiveness of your workout routine.

If you aren't getting the results you are looking for, or are looking to increase your Testosterone Levels, cutting back on the beer and liquor can lead to significant benefits!

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