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 alcohol and muscle gain

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patrickgoold



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PostSubject: alcohol and muscle gain   Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:34 am

I have been trying to gain muscle for the last four months. I think I am having a little success. However, over the last four months I have abstained from alcohol really. But this makes my social life very difficult. So my question is how bad is a drink or two per week for a vegan bodybuilder?

I know that alcohol makes a mess of the protein synthesis which is my main worry.

Any ideas?
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Pete
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PostSubject: Re: alcohol and muscle gain   Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:52 am

I can give you the basic idea right here, if you want me to dig up the studies I can, but if you just want the info that's pretty straight forward. Alcohol does a few things:
1/ It lowers testosterone & raises oestrogen
2/ It slows protein synthesis
3/ You lose vitamins & minerals
4/ You'll dehydrate
5/ You 'turn on' fat storage
6/ You are taking in 7 empty calories per gram of alcohol
7/ You can damage organs & illness

These are the possible effects, but obviously one or two won't have such a profound effect (bear in mind 1 drink for a female & 2 for a male are maximum daily intakes!).

Maximum intake should be 2 (I'm assuming you are a male being called Patrick) in a day. I would also space them out, so have one drink, then drink some soft drinks, then have another say one or two hours later. Pre-alcohol I'd take some B-vitamins, some magnesium at least & take them after you've finished you drinking as well.
If you have any oestrogen issues, then alcohol shouldn't be taken at all as it tends to aid the conversion of testosterone to oestrogen. It will slow protein synthesis so that could be a slight issue, dehydration can be fought off by having a soft drink or 2 in between alcoholic drinks. Fat storage for beer can be a problem, a pint of beer or lager can be between 150-350 cal approx, so 2 pints could be as much as 700 cal, along with that alcohol turns on the fat storage system so you end up storing more, plus alcohol makes you more likely to make bad food choices adding more bad calories to your diet. If you're aim is fat loss I recommend zero calories from alcohol as one night out can undo a week of hard work (2 pints & a stop at a fast food place can set you back well over a 1,000 calories & sometimes a LOT more). If you are aiming at adding muscle & leaness is not an issue, then 2 drinks maximum, at most twice a week (on non-consecutive days) & plan a pre-post drinking routine, that will include vitamin/minerals, increased fluid intake. Drinking with food may also be helpful, so a glass of wine with a meal will be better for you than a strong lager on an empty stomach.

You can do nothing about the protein synthesis issue. I have read estimates that alcohol can affect some people by as much as 33% in terms of overall muscle gains, but these are, from what I gather estimates (obviously alcoholics would be affected more as the ability to train would also be impaired, as would recovery & the desire to train). there no real way to know how much your muscle gaining is hurt by alcohol. Losing a social life can also impair muscle gains, so it has to be a balance between your muscle goals & your life. You may choose to trade that pound of muscle, or that extra pound of fat for a night out once a week. I know big guys who do drink, but most stick to low amounts like a pint at the start & a pint mid-way (some guys even drink say a half, 4 times a night with a lot of soft drinks between alcoholic drinks), so it can be done. When you're dieting, then no I don't seeing it working very well & an important point is being careful about eating junk on the way home, pre-prepare something to eat for when you get back. It's just another thing we, as athletes, need to do differently from the average person.

The best answer in terms of muscle growth will be zero alcohol, but if it means you'll never get a chance to socialise & show off those muscles then there really isn't much point is there? I say find a balance you can live with, then stick to it. Most importantly have pre-set limits & they are iron-bound, none negotiable, if you've hit 2 pints & some buys you an alcoholic drink it stays on the table end of session for that night, you'll have to decide that before any night out, there are no more 'unlimited drink nights', binging will cost you serious calories & precious recovery, it's simply not an option from a health or muscle gaining point of view.
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PhysCultureFan

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PostSubject: Re: alcohol and muscle gain   Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:40 pm

The Randy Roach book 'Muscle Smoke and Mirrors' reads that back in old time Germany around the 1900s, some weightlifters like the Saxon brothers would be drinking beer while picking up heavy weights, like a pass time, like some blokes work on cars while drinking beer, a sort of a party. Sandow too, was known to quaff an occasional brew and of course, he hailed from Germany too.

Side note: Some diets, like those of the Saxon brothers from Germany were totally unrestricted, they did some serious eating: https://westonaprice.org/Splendid-Specimens-The-History-of-Nutrition-in-Bodybuilding.html (towards the bottom) And I know with some people, they want to be big and have little care how the weight is proportioned, I've seen some pictures of the Saxon brothers like that but here they look okay: http://www.beastskills.com/SaxonTrio.gif

A bit off topic, but to translate the amount of food the Saxon bros. ate into vegan products would be an interesting equation.

I've nothing against beer or alcohol but my constitution nowadays has changed though a good dark beer or ale might go down well, it's been awhile.
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PostSubject: Re: alcohol and muscle gain   Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:58 am

The alcohol % of those older beers where said to be pretty low & bear in mind Arthur Saxon died at 43. We'll never know how much a part alcohol played in that as he went through WW1 (some time as a prisoner) & had other illnesses, so we can't say if alcohol actually affected him & if by how much; Sandow too died at only 58.
With both it would be interesting to wonder how their diets affected their overall health. Guys who advocated lower meat intakes or were for a non- meat diet like George Hackenschmidt (89) or Bernarr MacFadden (87), they also advocated no smoking & low alcohol intakes, so again it would be hard to say what affected them in a positive way without figuring out a lot more than what we know about the human body than we do right now.
I do believe that excess may have badly affected a lot of the old time athletes. The only foods that any athlete should take in just about unlimited amounts should be non-starchy fresh fruits & vegetables as these tend to have lower calories, but are very nutrient dense. Having high quantities of meat, alcohol or recreational drugs will tend to have a bad effect in the longer term even if they don't in the immediate future. The guys you see lifting into their old age tend to be the low meat eaters or veggie type of eater (Joe Rollino, Jack La Lanne, Bill Pearl), sure the other guys can get as strong, but it seems like they burn out as they age & have to drop out due to injury or illness & seem to die at an earlier age than those guys who eat a more balanced diet.
My basic ideas for an eating plan for someone not so concerned about exact macro-nutrient intake is half a plate should be filled with veggies (always try & get some green leafy in that), one quarter of a plate being a carb source, one quarter being a protein source. If you're adding body-fat fill the plate slightly less, but keep the portions about the same. That should work for most people assuming they are eating a diet high in whole foods.

Obviously the more you train, do manual labour etc the more you'd have to tweak that diet to hit your goals. So, for an athlete such a simple diet probably wouldn't be optimal, but for the average person it would probably be a real improvement!

I have nothing against beer myself, but if someone is a top athlete I would move them away from it as it will probably effect their performance &/or their longevity in the sport. It depends on your goals, weigh up the 'cost' metabolically of a beer Vs the enjoyment you get from it. If 2 beers means you'll be able to go out & live life, while zero beer means no social life, then 2 beers might well be an option every now & again, just treat it like someone who knows the effects. If you want to minimise the negatives, then stay hydrated, take a few vitamins pre & post drink, don't drink on an empty stomach & have a snack waiting at home so you don't buy junk. That way you should be able to go out & have minimal consequences.
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Jay
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PostSubject: Re: alcohol and muscle gain   Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:16 pm

Joseph Greenstein also was a low meat strongman, ripping horseshoes into his 60's or 70's?

My personal experience is that if I want to gain stomach fat quick, nothing works quite like alcohol.
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Bas



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PostSubject: Re: alcohol and muscle gain   Fri May 28, 2010 5:05 am

This is very sad news as a few good lagers with mates keeps me laughing and happy. It's the social animal in me.
Though there a few good studies on the role of alchohol in inhibiting the developement of muscle. I've cut down to half pints myself and have lost 8lbs alongside my new training ala Rob dos Remedios Smile
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PostSubject: Re: alcohol and muscle gain   Fri May 28, 2010 5:47 am

Nice one. Making changes like these (like just cutting down on alcohol & switching up the training) can really change body body comp. Keep at it & let us know how you get on.
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