What Does Alcohol Do To My Muscles?
Alcohol affects all types of muscle fibers differently. There are two main ways alcohol affects muscles:
1) By inhibiting the synthesis of proteins (and thus causing protein breakdown).
2) By increasing the release of growth factors into the blood stream which cause muscle cell death.
The first way causes muscle damage, but it’s temporary. After the alcohol wears off, the damaged muscle cells will begin rebuilding themselves again. The second way lasts longer and damages the body over time. If left unchecked, this type of damage leads to atrophy or loss of strength and size.
How Long For Hormones To Balance After Quitting Alcohol?
After you quit drinking, your body goes through a period of “washout.” During this time, your body undergoes a phase where it loses some of its natural ability to produce certain hormones. This is why it takes several weeks before you feel completely normal again. Eventually, these hormones return to their original levels. However, there may still be residual effects from the alcohol that linger in your system for months or even years later!
How Do Alcohol Hormones And Weight Gain Relate?
Because alcohol intake causes your body to release more insulin, you gain weight. This is because drinking alcohol increases your blood sugar. To bring your blood sugar levels back down to a normal range, your body releases insulin. This insulin sends the excess blood sugar (now in the form of glycogen) into your muscles and fat cells. The problem is, alcohol contains empty calories. Your body takes the glycogen and converts it into fat. Alcohol also decreases the hormone that prevents you from eating too much and feeling hungry (leptin). This further causes you to overeat and gain weight.
One drink is all it takes to disrupt your leptin levels and cause an increase in your set point (the level at which your body tries to maintain your weight). This means that your body is trying harder to gain weight (and keep it on). Although some people are more sensitive to these effects than others, everyone is affected to some degree.
Does Alcohol Inhibit Hormones?
Alcohol itself does not directly affect testosterone levels, but drinking can certainly have an indirect effect. Alcohol can lead to poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle. Drinking can also lead to the abuse of other drugs. All of these things can have a negative effect on testosterone levels.
A lot of bodybuilders drink alcohol while dieting in order to “celebrate” reaching a diet goal (e.g. losing a certain amount of weight). While this may seem like a good idea, it’s not really a good long-term solution.
Alcohol contains nearly as many calories as fat (7 calories per gram versus 9 calories per gram). When you drink alcohol, you are likely to choose less healthy foods or overeat while you’re drinking. This can have a negative effect on your weight loss goals.
How Does Exercise With Alcohol Affect Muscle Growth?
Exercise helps your body produce growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). These three hormones help improve muscle and bone mass and stimulate the immune system. They play an important part in encouraging your muscles to grow. Drinking heavily (more than three drinks per day) can lead to a disruption in the production of these hormones. This disruption can hinder muscle growth and recovery. Heavy drinking can also lead to a shortage of essential nutrients that your body needs. This can cause your muscles to become weaker and smaller.
A Quick Word On Hangovers
Hangovers are caused by a number of factors. The most common cause is dehydration. Alcohol itself causes dehydration since it encourages you to urinate more frequently. Drinking on an empty stomach and hot environments can worsen hangovers as well.
Alcohol also disrupts your normal sleep cycle by disturbing rapid eye movement (REM) and slow-wave sleep. Being hungover can make you tired and less enthusiastic about working out (or doing much of anything else). It can also affect your mood and cause you to feel fatigued, nauseous, nervous, depressed or even aggressive. If you are prone to headaches when you don’t drink enough water, you’ll definitely feel one when you have a hangover.
To prevent a hangover:
Drink Water: Alcohol is a diuretic that encourages the body to urinate more. This causes dehydration and can lead to a hangover. The best way to avoid this is to drink adequate amounts of water before, during, and after drinking alcohol. If you find yourself feeling bloated or noticing a need to urinate more than usual, you should probably drink more water.
It is not recommended that you drink only alcohol since this can lead to severe dehydration.
Eat before and while drinking: Your stomach can only hold a limited amount of alcohol. Drinking on an empty stomach can quickly lead to alcohol poisoning and an unpleasant night (or morning) in the hospital. It is best to eat a light snack before drinking. This will help slow the rate at which the alcohol enters your system.
It will also prevent blood sugar from dropping which can zap your energy and lead to irritability and headaches.
Stay active: Sitting around in a drunken stupor is bad for you for a number of reasons. It is important that you stay active (within reason) when you are drinking. If you insist on sleeping it off, make sure you do so in a safe place and not before making sure you have your phone and wallet with you.
Eat a light snack after drinking: As mentioned above, drinking on an empty stomach can lead to blood sugar dropping rapidly and result in irritability and headaches. Since you are likely to feel nauseous and not very interested in food, eating something light like a banana or some crackers can help prevent this.
Sleep in a horizontal position: Again, as mentioned above, it is important to sleep in a safe place and make sure you have your phone and wallet with you. It is also important to sleep in a horizontal position so you don’t trigger the brain’s instinct to cause vomiting (this is done so you don’t aspirate anything into your lungs while you’re unconscious). If you feel like you’re going to vomit, you should lean your head well over a basin or have a bucket close by to vomit into.
Stay hydrated: Alcohol is a diuretic so you’ll need to drink extra water the day after.
One of the best ways to start your day is with some morning exercises. Not only will this improve your blood flow and tire you out so you’ll be more likely to sleep well and longer, but it will also put your body into fat-burning mode which will help you get rid of that beer belly (or latte belly if you’re a coffee drinker like me).
You can do these in the comfort of your own home or outside. If you exercise outside in the morning, you’ll get the added benefit of some healthy Vitamin D from the sun. Just be sure you put on a good sunscreen or wear a hat to protect yourself from skin cancer or sunburning your brain.
What follows are only a few examples of morning exercises. You can get much more detailed information on the Internet.
Twisting Lunge: This exercise works out your legs and your torso. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and shuffle sideways a step and a half length (about two or three feet). Bend your knees and lower yourself down as far as is comfortable for you. Now twist at the waist as far as you can to one side, touch the ground and then twist to the other side, touch the ground and then stand up again.
Do this as fast as you can ten to twelve times. Then switch legs, bend down and touch the ground with your opposite hand to the side that you lunged first (if you lunged to the right then touch the ground with your left hand).
Windmills: This works out your arms, shoulders, back and abs. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your arms out in front of you and twist from side to side as far as is comfortable for you. Do this as fast as you can for ten to twelve seconds.
Skipping: This is a fun one! And you don’t even need to buy a skipping rope to do it (although you can if you like, they’re quite cheap). Just bounce up and down as fast as you can. This works out your calves and thighs.
Do this for one minute.
Jumping jacks: This works out your arms, shoulders, abs and legs. Stand with your feet together and jump up in the air as high as you can, when you land, spread your legs apart and your arms out to the side. Then jump up in the air again bringing your legs together and arms back to your chest. Continue this for one minute.
These are just a few simple examples, you can find many more on the ‘net and in books. Just be sure not to push yourself too hard and don’t do anything that causes pain (obviously). Also, if you haven’t exercised for a long time (or ever) you might want to ask your doctor before starting, just to make sure nothing is wrong with you.
Sources & references used in this article: