Alcohol and Bodybuilding Don’t Mix

If you are serious about adding muscle and getting 8-pack abs, alcohol is enemy #1. Alcohol and bodybuilding do NOT mix. There are two great reasons to avoid alcohol if you are a bodybuilder: 1) because it inhibits gaining muscle mass and 2) because it makes you fat. Having A beer or glass of wine once or twice a month is not a problem, what I am talking about is daily drinking or weekend binge drinking.

Quick quiz: Drinking one beer a day will add how much fat in one year?

a) 3 pounds of fat
b) 7 pounds of fat
c) 12 pounds of fat
d) 15 pounds of fat

Choice D. Pretty unbelievable isn’t it. Drink just one beer a day and you add 15lbs of fat in a year. Small changes in diet can have huge effect over time! So just cut out that one beer you have with dinner every night and you can lose 15lbs of fat without running a single mile!!! How easy is that?

People who like to drink cling to the report published a few years ago that drinking red wine might be good for your heart. First of all, the study suggested but not proved this correlation. Second, bodybuilders (at least my audience) are very health conscious and they are at very low risk of heart disease anyway. They are not overweight, get lots of cardio, eat lots of vegetables, fruits and have a lowfat diet. The lowered risk of heart disease seems to be related to the anti-oxidants found in red wine but there are many healthier, and lower calorie, ways to get antioxidants. Another sobering statistic for those clinging to the reports that “Alcohol is good for the heart” is that a 24 year old is FOUR times as likely to die from alcohol related causes than they are to die from heart problems.

Now some of you are thinking that you already have 6-pack abs and that drinking 2-3 beers every day and partying every weekend hasn’t hurt YOUR bodybuilding – WRONG! Drinking HAS hurt you dearly in your ability to add muscle. The quality of every calorie counts when you are a bodybuilder. Those 450 calories in those three beers at dinnertime have zero nutritional value. Instead you could have eaten three broiled chicken breasts and got some quality, low fat protein or with those 450 calories you could have eaten a huge pile of steamed vegetables packed with vitamins. Many people accuse me of being a Nutritional-Nazi and tell me to lighten up but nutrition is critically imporant to bodybuilding. If you have “just one beer’ with dinner and “just one donut” at breakfast and “just one double cheeseburger” at lunch and “just one peanut butter sandwich” for a snack, then suddenly your diet looks remarkably like the average American and you will be fat and weak like the average American! Many people dont believe my claim that you can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time and its usually the same people who tell me to “lighten up” about nutrition!!!

Another big problem with alcohol is that it prevents the body from being able to absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, K, &E. When you drink daily you are neutralizing the healthy things you have eaten which can leave you malnourished and malnourished bodybuilders cant add muscle. With 3 or more drinks your strength and endurance are lowered for up to 48hrs and you cant add muscle if you are too weak to push your maxes. Drinking so much that you get a hangover can set you back an entire weeks worth of bodybuilding progress between the wasted calories, the lack of sleep, the dehydration, vitamin mal-absorption, and the lack of motivation that follows a drinking binge.

Now lets talk about alcohol, supplements and your liver. Your liver is a big filter that gets all the toxic crap out of your blood and like any filter, it has a limited capacity. If you drink too much you can die from alcohol poisoning because your liver cant filter it out fast enough. Supplements can also be very, very hard on the liver. Liver problems due to creatine and other supplements are very common, its the supplement industries dirty little secret. If you INSIST on taking supplements (which I don’t recommend) then its a bad idea to drink any alcohol at all – not even a single drink. Leave your liver at 100% capacity to filter out the toxic crud found in supplements.