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The Fitties Blog

The Effects of Alcohol on Weight Loss and Muscle Gain

April 04, 2023 | Lifestyle and Wellness

There are many times throughout the year where special occasions dictate that alcoholic beverages be served and consumed. Some of the biggest celebrations of any given year often take place during the holiday season. For example, New Year’s Eve is a major celebratory time when alcohol is readily available. And while alcohol can make for a great day/night when consumed responsibly, it can add to one of the factors that will cause you to gain weight and demolish any health and fitness program before it even gets started.

To help gain a better understanding of the physiological effects of alcohol on the body, and how it relates to health and fitness, I’ve developed a list of the top physiological effects of drinking alcohol and what it can do to your body when on a weight loss program. In addition, alcohol can affect those who are trying to bulk up and gain muscle mass.

What Alcohol Can Do To A Weight Loss Program

Weight loss and alcohol do not mix, so if you are on a weight loss program or are aiming on creating weight loss goals soon, follow along with the information below for an in-depth look on how alcohol might be hurting your attempts to lose weight and feel great.

Consider alcohol a drug from here on out if you are looking to lose weight. One of the reasons it is a drug is because it has a “downers” effect on the mind and body and promotes a sluggish lifestyle. A sluggish lifestyle is one that is not active and not energized. In addition, the consumption of alcohol can deteriorate the brain and brain cells, which can end up hurting your ability to think, learn, and communicate. Furthermore, chronic alcohol use can cause the blood to thicken through ways that still have yet to be figured out. When your blood thickens, you become fatigued and incapable of being able to be active and flourishing. Thicker blood means your heart needs to work harder in order to nourish all of your body’s cells. If you are on a weight loss journey and have goals to lose the pounds, this will make it very hard when the body is sluggish and the mind is diminished.

A Beer Belly Is A Fatty Belly

If you have ever heard the term “beer belly” then you may understand what alcohol does to your body. Another reason why it is wise to stray from alcohol consumption if you are looking to drop some weight is because alcohol is used as energy in the body. Alcohol provides seven calories per gram of alcohol, which means you can get energized by having a drink or two. When you drink alcohol, you should consider it as drinking liquid fat, because if you do not use this energy from those beers or cocktails you consumed, you store it all as fat (except what you don’t excrete). This does not bode well for anyone wanting to shrink the stomach section and for anyone who has those final 10 pounds to lose because every pound you lose through diet and exercise at the gym, you gain right back with alcohol.

What Alcohol Does For Muscle Gains

Many men want to gain muscle mass as part of a New Year’s resolution, and why not? Hitting the gym and sticking with it all year will promote overall wellness, improved energy, and it can help to increase your self-esteem levels. However, as most men look to do every start of the year, gains in the gym can take a huge hit when alcohol is consumed on weekends (or more).

Alcohol Prevents Muscle Growth

For the many guys who desire a trim physique and a lean figure with good muscle volume, it is very difficult to have muscle gains in the gym if you drink any alcohol, even just a beer or a glass of wine. For one, alcohol has quite the negative effect on energy levels in the body. Alcohol can actually stop the processes in the body that create and promote muscular growth, meaning it takes longer to restore torn muscles and rebuild them back to optimal health. Recent studies have shown that significant decreases of about 20 percent can be seen up to 24 hours after consumption of alcohol, which virtually ages your body in the short term. While 20 percent might not seem to be a lot in protein building in the body, the protein shakes you normally drink to build muscle probably do not have much of an effect for building the body you so desire.

What About Recovery?

Building muscle starts with the load and volume you lift in the gym and most of it occurs during your recovery. This means your rest and the time it takes for your body to create amino acids to specifically rebuild the torn muscle tissue is critical. Some studies have examined the effects of alcohol intake on post-exercise recovery and found that alcohol impairs the ability of skeletal muscles to adapt to a training load, which is the stimulus that individuals seek when making gains in the gym.

Healthy Lifestyle With Alcohol?

While light alcoholic beverages can have a health-promoting effect for many individuals, it is something that should not be considered as part of a healthy lifestyle for those who want to lose weight or have muscular gains in the gym. There is evidence to show that alcohol can slow the body’s ability to use fat as energy and the consumption of it can cause the body to store fat, which means losing body fat is much more difficult. Similarly, muscular gains are shunted as a result of the alcohol in the body, which acts much like a poison on protein building.

Some individuals may be able to drink more than others, but when it comes to you and your goals, it is wise to stray from alcohol whenever you can. Consider finding more reasonable options that are non-alcoholic in nature. While your friends or family are having a sloppy time, consider yourself ahead of the game so that you can get where you want this start of the year.

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