I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Bodybuilding at certain times can lead to a social death! This is of course is a very strong statement and not the case for most people. However if you are taking bodybuilding or your training very seriously then it can lead to times where you cannot be involved in social situations and can become outcast due to your lifestyle. For example when dieting, if you are on a strict diet and your friends want to go out for a meal, you can’t eat with them. Most social situations involve food, whether that’s a dinner party or hanging out with friends and getting a take away. You are far less likely to get involved if you know you can’t eat with them.
However the worst part about bodybuilding or healthy lifestyle and socialising is the alcohol that is usually involved with social gatherings. Whether it is a party, night out with friends, or even just a social drink at the pub, there is usually alcohol involved. It’s something that people intrinsically associate with socialising and having a good time. If you are out with your friends at a club and you are sober but they’re drinking, for most people it’s an uncomfortable situation to be in. However for someone dedicated to training and bodybuilding this is something that has to be lived with. I will tell you why. Alcohol is one of the most detrimental things you can ingest when it comes to training and dieting. It will have a massive negative effect that takes days to recover from and get back on track.
Firstly alcohol is NOT calorie free. Thinking you can get away with drinking vodka and diet coke because it has no calories is rubbish. Granted it’s not as bad as a pint of Guinness but there are far more calories than you would imagine. Let’s take vodka for example. There are 56 calories per shot. If you were to drink 10 double vodka and diet cokes on a night out that would be 1000 calories. If you weren’t so careful as to make sure you drank it with diet coke and instead had coke or red bull you would be closer to 2000 calories. A pint of lager however has a massive 233 calories. If you manage to drink 6 or 7 of these you are well up near 1500 calories already. Now if you are dieting and being really careful to hit your required calories throughout the week then why go and spill well over your calorie maintenance level with totally empty calories from alcohol. They serve absolutely no purpose and cannot be counted as your “cheat meal”.
The second problem is the effect alcohol has on your inhibitions. After a night of drinking you are far less likely to turn down a burger or kebab as your natural inhibitions telling you that you shouldn’t have gone totally out the window.
Another major problem with alcohol is what occurs the next day. If you suffer from hangovers you will know that you most certainly will not be training the day after you have been drinking. It’s most likely you will lie in bed far longer than normal, not burn any calories and be far more tempted to eat “hangover food”. Generally hangover food does not include a sweet potato and plain chicken.
Now for the important part. Alcohol reduces testosterone and increases oestrogen!! This will increase the rate of protein breakdown and reduce protein synthesis. This can lead to catabolism and muscle loss. You will find it much harder if not impossible to gain muscle if you drink regularly. Coupled with the unavoidable fat gain from lots of drinking you will end up with less muscle and more fat!
So if you do feel like you need to let your hair down and enjoy some time with your friends don’t be afraid to do so as even bodybuilders need to spend time with their friends and unwind. However you must be aware of the consequences of doing this. Make sure that it is not a regular thing and do your best to make up for these social occasions with diet and training throughout the rest of the week.