One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to testosterone is does alcohol decrease or hurt your testosterone levels. With all of the weight training, cardio workouts, and dieting that we do, there are times when we want to kick back and relax. Much of the time this may include the desire for a few alcoholic beverages. Hey, who doesn’t want to have a couple drinks every now and then?
For some, drinking alcohol is a social thing while for others it may be a weekend thing. Some may just drink alcohol on special occasions such as an event or while on vacation. And of course there are a few that drink several times a week. Obviously the latter could really impact your muscle gains and fat loss even if there were no direct effect of your testosterone levels with drinking alcohol.
T Levels and Alcohol: What Happens
Consuming alcohol excessively is linked to several heath problems, such as liver disease, but it also has a dramatic impact on sperm count and testosterone levels. Heavy drinking prevents your body from producing free testosterone. This can also have a negative effect on your natural GH (growth hormone) levels. Both hormones are needed to build muscle and shed body fat. If you hinder those hormones, you can pretty much forget having a lean muscular physique.
Along with demolishing testosterone levels excessive drinking can also have an impact on estrogen, and it’s not going to be the impact you want. Estrogen levels can actually increase with heavy drinking. This will kill your body’s ability to produce testosterone even more and can lead to a substantial increase in body fat. Excessive drinking can also cause cell damage and oxidative damage.
Rules for Drinking Alcohol
If you’re competing in bodybuilding or any type of competitive event where your physique and/or performance has to be top notch, it’s best to stay away from alcohol all together, at least during you training period. However, most of us are not competitive athletes. And as much as we enjoy the benefits of keeping our bodies in shape and being healthy, we also want to be able to unwind, and that may include an occasional alcoholic beverage. Whereas any intake of alcohol may decrease testosterone levels temporarily, here are some possible guidelines you may want to consider if you choose to drink alcohol:
> Do not under any circumstances drink alcohol excessively
> Do not drink alcohol daily (one glass of red wine may be acceptable)
> Make sure you drink plenty of water when you drink alcohol (a good rule is one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume)
> Do not drink alcohol close to your training times (this may impact training intensity)
> Do not drink alcohol the day before your workout (this may impact your energy and performance)
> Do not drink alcohol after your workout (this may impact recovery from your workout)
> Do not drink alcohol right before bed as this may impact quality sleep (passing out is not quality sleep)
> Do not drink mixed drinks with high sugar content
Again, these are just a few rules per se for drinking alcohol when you’re trying to still maintain optimal testosterone and growth hormone levels. Some people may have a glass of red wine daily for the heart health benefits. But if this impacts your training and recovery, it’s probably not worth it.
Is Alcohol Worth It?
Is it worth the risk of reducing testosterone levels and growth hormone levels worth drinking alcohol? That’s only a question you can answer. It all depends on what phase of training you’re in or if you’re preparing for some sort of physique competition or performance. It also depends on your current state of health. If you’re overweight and looking to steadily cut body fat then alcohol is not your friend. If you have a tendency to drink excessively then you should probably stay away from alcohol. However, if you’re happy with your physique, you’re in good health, and you’re not a heavy drinker, then having a few social drinks now and then probably won’t be so detrimental.