If you’re a bodybuilder, you should know what alcohol does to muscle growth.  After your efforts at the gym, have you ever wondered if it’s a wise choice to reward yourself with an ice-cold beer? Some suggest that alcohol in moderation is fine after a workout and might have limited health benefits.  Others say you should avoid alcohol if you want to achieve peak performance levels.

So what’s the best thing to do? Will drinking wine or beer undo all of your hard work? Here are some considerations to help you make an informed choice during your exercise routine.

How Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth

Simply put, you get stronger and muscles get bigger when you work out.  Hard work and a solid weight training regimen will pay off when you are in an anabolic state–a muscle building stage–as long as possible.

A workout becomes unprofitable when you are in a catabolic stage – muscle breakdown. Drinking alcohol before, during or after a workout puts your body in a catabolic state, where muscle tissue is breaking down instead of building up.

Alcohol also deprives the athlete of a growth hormone called HGH. You know it is important to rest muscles between workouts. HGH helps your muscles recover and grow during those intervals. Your body produces HGH during sleep, but drinking can disrupt sleep and HGH production. As a result, drinking can decrease HGH levels by up to 70 percent. Less HGH is available to work on those muscles.

Alcohol affects more than muscles. Drinking reduces your mental awareness and lessens your endurance. Neglecting the value of water by picking alcohol is not the best choice. Water helps you exercise more efficiently and not getting enough can decrease your performance by as much as 25 percent.  Drinking water instead of alcohol can help you feel stronger and work out longer.

The Impact of Alcohol on Testosterone Levels

Alcohol lowers testosterone levels, which affects your workout several ways. First, your drive to work out will be lowered. Second, without proper testosterone levels during bodybuilding, you will not be able to maintain muscle strength and mass to lift those barbells.

Studies show that people who drink alcohol have lower levels of testosterone.  Muscle tissues use receptors to communicate with testosterone and those receptors are blocked by alcohol. Muscles never receive the message to build up – they become catabolic. Muscles enter a breakdown state that counteracts the workout.  Limiting alcohol means that your muscle receptors can respond to testosterone during your workout.

If you can’t remove alcohol from your routine at the gym, that may be an indication that you have a bigger problem. You might be addicted to alcohol. Call a certified professional to help you seek out an  accredited alcohol rehab center. Let them help you become the healthiest person that you can be.