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How Does Alcohol Post-Workout Impact Muscle Growth?
How Does Alcohol Post-Workout Impact Muscle Growth?

Q: How Does Consuming Alcohol Post-Workout Impact Muscle Growth?

In today's blog we focus on BodyBuilding.com's recent research into how consuming alcohol after your workouts can impact muscle growth.

Whether you're looking for an pump up before a Friday night out on the town or going for a quick workout before a romantic date, it's quite common for people to have a drink shortly after training... Even if you believe you can "handle" the additional calories because you may be mixing up your workouts with a less nutritious diet to make your body 'work harder' (not a great idea in the first place!), drinking alcohol has a bigger impact on your physical beyond basic calorie balance.

Alcohol itself can actually knock your ability to build muscle off the rails, at least in the short term. How? Start by understanding how you build muscle over time, or the relationship between muscle protein synthesis, MPS, and muscle protein breakdown, MPB. The first process builds muscle mass, and the second tears it down. Our bodies are constantly building and breaking down protein throughout the day, a process known as protein turnover.

It's the net balance between MPS and MPB that determines the fate of your existing and potential muscle mass. Although the change in protein turnover is continuous, the long-term net balance dictates muscle growth or breakdown. If your body is constantly breaking down more muscle than it's building, you clearly won't be putting on muscle any time soon.

Alcohol reduces muscle growth by suppressing MPS, which shifts the net balance in favor of muscle breakdown. When consumed post-workout, these negative effects are amplified. This is because your workout itself is catabolic, greatly increasing MPB, especially the longer you go. Having a drink after training decreases MPS and further increases MPB. This catabolic cocktail is not a recipe you should try often if muscle growth is your goal.

What About A Vodka Protein Shake?

A 2014 study published in PLOS One had subjects consume one of the following combinations immediately after their workout (as well as four hours later): whey protein only, whey protein and alcohol, or carbohydrates and alcohol.1 Protein turnover was measured two hours and eight hours post-workout.

It may seem plausible to think that consuming protein in a post-workout beverage will minimize, if not completely negate, the detrimental changes alcohol imposes on your muscle-building efforts. Unfortunately, the damage is already done.

This is clear evidence that alcohol and protein don't mix post-workout, and that even the anabolic properties of whey aren't enough to override the detrimental effects of alcohol. As you'd expect, alcohol suppressed MPS. What was interesting, however, was that even when Vegan Protein was added to the alcohol group, rates of MPS were still reduced by 24 percent compared to the protein-only group.

Practical Recommendations

A 24 percent reduction in MPS once or twice per week may seem insignificant, but trust us: As muscle growth becomes even more challenging over time, you'll want every single percent you can get! To mitigate the negative effects of alcohol on your hard-earned gains, try working out in the morning or otherwise putting as many hours—and protein-rich meals—between your training sessions and your social hour as possible. 

 

For the full article, visit BodyBuilding.com

For the highest quality Vegan Protein Shake we recommend, click here!

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