Bodybuilding is very much a sport of consistency, especially if you’re taking your training very seriously and are looking to compete in the near future. With bodybuilding, literally all it can take is one bad day to throw you off your game, so if you’re a fan of the party lifestyle that many would-be bodybuilders appear to be fans of nowadays, by the time you’ve finished reading this article, you may very well think twice. You see, there are plenty of people who simply go the gym to work their ‘disco muscles’ as they are known, which are usually their arms and their chests, in order for them to look bigger in their extra small t-shirts when they hit the bars and attempt to pick up women. However, bodybuilding is about so much more than simply trying to show off and impress other people, especially if you are doing it with your health in mind. A party lifestyle and bodybuilding just do not mix unfortunately, so if you are serious about your bodybuilding, you are going to have to knock the partying on the head for the foreseeable future. Of course a night out and a social gathering with your friends every now and then is perfectly fine, but if you are hitting the bars and clubs every Friday and/or Saturday, and drinking yourself into oblivion without fail, well, truthfully you may as well resign yourself to looking average at best, and that’s if you’re lucky. Here’s a look at why partying, and mainly alcohol it has to be said, is so detrimental for bodybuilding.
Alcohol and our bodies
Before going any further, it’s important that we understand what alcohol is, and what it does to our bodies. When most people lead a party lifestyle, especially those aged 21 – 25, they will literally head out early Friday evening, and not stop drinking alcohol until the early hours of Saturday morning. They’ll then get some sleep and repeat the same process again, before spending all of Sunday in bed or on the sofa, before going back to normality on Monday. Alcohol is actually a poison, which is ethanol. It literally poisons your body when ingested and causes you to act like a drunken mess. In terms of bodybuilding, and your health however, excess alcohol consumption and partying just do not go together, and here’s a look at why.
Why alcohol and partying are not good for bodybuilding
As a bodybuilder, your goal is primarily to burn fat and build muscle, whilst maintaining a good level of health along the way. By partying every week however, the exact opposite occurs. Here’s a look at a few ways in which a party lifestyle could be severely harming your gains.
Alcohol is the definition of empty calories – By empty calories, we are literally talking about calories that provide virtually no nutrients of benefit for your body at all. You see, even junk food, as awful as that is, provides a small amount of nutrition, as a cheeseburger for example, would provide protein from the meat, as well as fat and carbs for energy. Alcohol however, provides no micronutrients and no macronutrients at all, so you are literally taking in calories and getting nothing back. If you wish to lose body fat for example, drinking alcohol is out of the question. One single shot of vodka can contain 100 calories, so if you drank just one double vodka and coke, you would already be at around 500 calories. That means that two drinks would be close to 1000 calories, which would almost certainly take you over maintenance, even if you barely at all day. One night of excessive drinking could take your daily caloric intakes to around 10,000 calories, and that’s before you stop for food on the way home, which brings us to our next downside.
Alcohol promotes poor decision making – If you’re bodybuilding, your diet for most of the week will consist of lean proteins, veggies, complex carbs, healthy fats, and plenty of water. Before heading out for a night of partying, you may convince yourself that you’ll have three drinks and will then call it a night and get back on the diet the next day, without breaking your healthy eating. However, the more alcohol you drink, the more you lose your inhibitions and you make increasingly poor decisions. After a while, once you’re steaming drunk and have consumed more than 10,000 calories in beverages alone, on your way home you may not be able to resist stopping for a pizza, burger, kebab, or something else greasy and unhealthy. By the time you’ve finished your stuffed crust, extra cheese large pizza and fries, when you factor in your previous caloric intakes for the day, you could be around 15,000 calories for the day, which will result in weight gain and will greatly slow your progress.
You can’t train when hungover – Some people will go out partying and will force themselves to train in the gym the next morning, and even if they manage to do so, training whilst dehydrated, still under the influence slightly, and feeling like death warmed up, is hardly likely to yield an impressive workout. In truth, training whilst hungover is dangerous, and is a recipe for disaster, plus it is pretty much pointless as well.
Alcohol lowers testosterone – Testosterone is a bodybuilder’s best friend, as it is an anabolic hormone that plays a key role in muscle growth and repair. Alcohol however, severely hinders your bodybuilding progress because it has been proven to lower testosterone productions, and increase Estrogen levels. Estrogen is the exact opposite of testosterone and it promotes weight gain in the form of fat, and slows down protein synthesis. When intoxicated, a person’s testosterone levels can be reduced by as much as 25%, and as more time passes, the more drinking that individual does over the coming months, the harder it becomes for testosterone levels to recover.