Can You Drink Alcohol and Still Build Muscle? Here's What You Need to Know

Building muscle requires a combination of a proper diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest. When it comes to diet, it is essential to consume enough protein and calories to support muscle growth. However, many people wonder whether drinking alcohol can impact their muscle-building efforts. In this blog post, we will explore whether it is possible to drink and still build muscle, the best drinks to have, the drinks to avoid, and the number of drinks you can have.

Can you drink alcohol and still build muscle?

The short answer is yes; you can drink and still build muscle. However, alcohol consumption can hinder your muscle-building efforts in several ways. First, alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it can cause dehydration. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, decreased muscle strength, and reduced endurance. Secondly, alcohol can interfere with your sleep, which is essential for muscle recovery and growth. Thirdly, alcohol can increase cortisol levels, a hormone that breaks down muscle tissue and promotes fat storage.

Glasses of whiskey, one of the best options to have if drinking when trying to build muscle

The Best Drinks to Have

If you're going to drink alcohol while building muscle, it's essential to choose the right drinks. Here are some of the alcoholic drinks that will have the least impact on your muscle building goals:

  1. Red wine: Red wine contains resveratrol, a compound that can improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and lower blood sugar levels. It also contains antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage.
  2. Light beer: Light beer contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular beer, making it a better option if you're watching your calorie intake.
  3. Vodka soda: Vodka soda is a low-calorie option that contains only two ingredients: vodka and soda water. It's a refreshing drink that won't pack on the calories.
  4. Tequila: Tequila is a low-calorie option that can be mixed with lime juice and soda water to make a refreshing drink. It's also a good source of antioxidants.
  5. Whiskey: Whiskey is a good option because it has a lower calorie content than many other alcoholic drinks, and it doesn't contain any carbohydrates. However, it's important to drink it straight or with water, as mixing it with soda or other sugary mixers can add unwanted calories.
  6. Gin and Tonic: Gin and tonic is a refreshing, low-calorie drink that can be a good option for building muscle. Gin contains fewer calories than other spirits, and tonic water contains quinine, which can help reduce inflammation.
  7. Red Wine Spritzer: A red wine spritzer is a great way to enjoy the benefits of red wine without overindulging in calories. Simply mix red wine with soda water for a low-calorie drink that can help reduce inflammation and provide antioxidants.

Glasses of various cocktails, the worst option to have when trying to build muscle

The Drinks to Avoid

Sadly, if you prefer cocktails, we have some bad news for you! Here are some of the drinks to avoid if you're trying to build muscle:

  1. Margaritas (and other sugary cocktails): As mentioned earlier, margaritas and other sugary cocktails are high in calories, syrups, mixers and sugar, making them a poor choice for building muscle. These drinks can quickly add unwanted calories to your diet and can also cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
  2. Beer: Beer is high in calories and carbohydrates, which can make it difficult to achieve your muscle-building goals.
  3. Sweet cocktails: Sweet cocktails, such as daiquiris and piña coladas, are loaded with sugar and calories, making them a poor choice if you're trying to watch your weight.

Specific examples of calories in cocktails

  1. Mai Tai: Mai Tai is a tropical drink that typically contains rum, orange liqueur, pineapple juice, and grenadine. It is high in calories and sugar, with some versions containing as much as 600 calories per serving. This can quickly add up and sabotage your muscle-building efforts.
  2. Long Island Iced Tea: Long Island Iced Tea is a popular cocktail that typically contains vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, sour mix, and cola. It is a high-calorie drink that can contain over 700 calories per serving. This drink is not only high in calories but also high in sugar, which can negatively impact your muscle-building goals.

How many drinks can i have if i still want to build muscle?

If you're going to drink alcohol while building muscle, it's essential to limit your intake. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than one drink per day and that men consume no more than two drinks per day. It's also important to space out your drinks and to drink water between each alcoholic beverage.

Glass of red wine, another good drink option for building muscle, due to it's resveratrol content

To summarise, you can drink and still build muscle, it's essential to choose the right drinks and to limit your intake. Red wine, light beer, vodka soda, and tequila are some of the best drinks to have, while margaritas, beer, and sweet cocktails are best avoided. Remember to drink water between each alcoholic beverage and to limit your intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. With the right approach, you can enjoy a drink while still achieving your muscle-building goals.

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