If you’ve spent any significant amount of time on a bodybuilding forum you’ve probably come across a thread discussing the impact of alcohol and testosterone. Some people swear against it while others seem to go out and get wasted every weekend and still make gains.
Most of the articles out there set out to condemn drinking and put the ball in the reader’s court to give it up for good if they want to progress. This article, however, will take a more neutral approach and allow you to decide what you think is best.
Alcohol and testosterone are very different things in terms of the effects they have on the body, in this article we will discuss how alcohol effects the body and testosterone levels!
Alcohol and Testosterone – The Impact Alcohol Has On T-Levels
One of the big arguments against alcohol is that it is empty calories. There are 7 calories per gram and literally no nutrients in there that are helpful to your body not to mention it doesn’t fill you up. It actually has the opposite effect – it makes you seek out unhealthy processed food!
After all, we’ve all had cravings for McDonald’s after a late night of drinking. As a result, the combined calories contained in alcohol along with the meal that usually comes after drinking is enough to send you well over your daily target intake level.
Ok so you already know about that, so what are the positives? Well for starters, when drinking moderate amounts (that doesn’t mean you only get plastered once per week) studies have shown alcohol can help improve your insulin sensitivity and reduce the level of triglycerides in the blood stream.
It’s also been shown that people who drink in moderation tend to live longer lives than those who abstain entirely and that the consumption can reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and even help ward off colds!
Looking at the arguement that way you can see that drinking really doesn’t seem so bad. Unfortunately the “no” side’s platform doesn’t end there. They also maintain that alcohol impacts hormone levels and the ability of the body to burn and store fat.
The hormone they are most concerned about it testosterone, which as we know is essential to muscle-building along with a host of other functions. The argument is that alcohol can and does lower your testosterone levels, which will translate to reduced progress in the gym.
What they don’t tell you is that the actual drop in testosterone levels is pretty small – usually in the single digits in terms of percentage – certainly not enough to have a huge impact on results. Therefore moderate consumption (think 1-2 drinks per day max) shouldn’t do too much damage.
Testosterone is the single most important factor when it comes down to muscle building so many guys who are serious about muscle building are doing everything they can do keep those levels as high as possible by using effective supplements that boost testosterone.
In terms of fat storage there is definitely a connection between alcohol consumption and reduced fat burning. This is because once you consume alcohol your body prioritizes burning those carbs instead of those already in your body. In terms of actually storing fat, however, alcohol itself is actually difficult for your body to store.
The problem lies in the big meals that usually go with a night of drinking, as mentioned above. If however you can avoid that and moderate your alcohol intake then this won’t be a huge problem and certainly won’t completely derail your progress.
Super Simple Solution
The best solution is to just stop drinking all together.
But we all know that’s not going to happen.
So, make sure your natural testosterone levels are as high as they naturally can be. The best way to do that is to supplement with a high quality natural testosterone booster.
But beware of companies that use ineffective fillers in their supplements. Make sure they contain these proven ingredients.
If you are consuming a ton of alcohol then yes, it will impact your progress. Just as it will impact every area of your life negatively – your relationships, health, productivity, who you sleep with etc. Having said that the key to consuming alcohol and making gains is to drink in moderation.
If you are worried about having low testosterone that hinders muscle building consider seeing your doctor or take in testosterone boosting supplements.
Make sure your calories consumed stays within your targets and don’t have a high-carb, unhealthy meal after drinking. Also avoid the drinks that contain sugary mixes as they add a lot of calories – instead opt for wine or hard liquor.
For 99% of bodybuilders out there looking to improve their physique but not to compete in the next Mr. Olympia this strategy will work fine.