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Killing your Gainzzz One Drink at a Time

Everyone knows that drinking isn’t conducive to GAINZZZ...but how exactly does it hinder your progress in the gym? In this article, we’ll talk more about alcohol’s effect on your performance and what you can do to make sure you can still enjoy a night out without negating all of your hard work in the gym.

Dehydration is one of the first and most noticeable effects of a night of drinking. This is the main cause of the pounding headache, nausea, and other side effects that come with a hangover. If you’re crushing glasses of your favorite alcoholic beverage, it’s likely that you aren’t drinking enough water over the course of the night. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it makes you urinate more and expel a lot of the water you do have left in your system. Considering that our muscles are composed of 75% water, this can take a major toll on performance in the gym and recovery rates.

Fat gain and storage are the second impacts of drinking. Alcoholic beverages are nothing but empty calories, and often include hidden sugars and carbs in the form of flavoring and mixers. Take, for example, the average lite beer. At 110 calories each, it would be easy for the average person to mindlessly put down over 500 calories in beer, not including the pizza or wings that often come with the beverage. On top of the excess calories, alcohol negatively affects protein synthesis. While it is technically a carbohydrate, it does not convert to glucose like a normal carbohydrate does, which your body can then use for energy. Instead, it becomes a fatty acid and is stored as fat in the body.

The last major impact of drinking on performance in the gym is its effect on hormones. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows down bodily functions, including the production of testosterone. Lower testosterone levels have an effect on muscle mass, definition, strength, and recovery rates. As the most important hormone in the body for building muscle, this is the ultimate enemy of progress!

While it would be most optimal to cut alcohol completely, we know that’s not realistic - you’re going to want to have a drink or two with your friends on Friday night or enjoy the open bar at a wedding while you break it down on the dance floor! The key is going to be moderation, and taking a few extra steps to mitigate the effects afterwards.

  • Have a high-protein meal and plenty of water before you start drinking. This will keep you full while you’re out and prevent you from caving into bar snacks, pizza, wings, and other junk food.
  • Alternate between water and an alcoholic beverage while you’re drinking. You’ll stay hydrated better throughout the night.
  • Go for low calorie beverage options, like lite beer and mixed drinks that use diet soda.
  • Stay FAR AWAY from the late night Taco Bell or Pizza Hut run post-drinking! Have a small snack and another glass of water when you get home. You’ll feel better in the morning and won’t blow thousands of calories!
  • Get up and CRUSH IT the next day! Get back to your routine - have a solid pre-workout meal, give it 100% in the gym, and eat and drink normally. Don’t bottom out your calories and do excessive cardio, which will only create a vicious cycle.

So next time you head to Happy Hour, keep your GAINZZZ in mind and be smart about the choices you make! Take a few extra steps before and after drinks and you won’t have too much of an interruption in your progress. As always, don’t hesitate to come in to your local Nutrition Corner with any questions!

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