I have done a great deal of first hand research in this area and am even currently sat at my desk in London on a gloomy Sunday morning having done an excessive amount of first hand research last night for my flatmates birthday.
Most of us love a good drink – but what are the after effects of alcohol?
Fact 1: Testosterone is good for muscle growth. It directly tells your muscle cells to grow (true for both males and females)
Fact 2: Alcohol is toxic for the Leydig cells in your nads, which are testosterone-producing, which unbelievably is not a good thing.
Short term, 3-5 drinks will lower testosterone levels by 18-40% but fortunately your testosterone production usually bounces back to normal levels within a day of light drinking. A longer spree of 6+ drinks can immediately wipe your testosterone levels by 45%+. The following day you’ll still be 23% down on your precious man juice. That is comparable to going from the testosterone levels of a 30 year old man to a 60 year old man in just a few hours.
Long term alcohol abuse may even cause atrophy of the testes (shrinkage) but more research is needed to say for sure. If that was the case then unsurprisingly this would also directly reduce your capacity to produce testosterone and pump out the good stuff.
Fact 3: Doing exhaustive cardio before binge drinking will further prolong the depressing effects of alcohol on testosterone. So smashing that hardcore Lift & Row class at Core Collective right before getting on the sauce is probably not a good idea. The same isn’t true for heavy lifting though so if you want to get ahead and burn some calories before sinking your bodyweight in beer a weighted workout is your best option.
Fact 4: Ladies don’t have testicles (shock horror). So is the same true for them? No.
Alcohol is also good for estrogen levels. And in contrast to common belief, oestrogen is actually beneficial for muscle growth, especially in women. A few drinks has little effect but heavier sessions of 4-7 drinks can increase oestrogen by up to 66% (1, 2, 3)
Now, before reaching for the closest bottle of wine and a (paper) straw please note that though these increases in sex hormone levels may be good for your gains they are related to liver toxicity that causes a disruption in a normal hormonal metabolism. So they’re not good effects in a healthy or long term scenario.
You’re also going to be drinking otherwise useful calories which is heavily against the fat loss 101.
So there you have it. What are the after effects of alcohol? Terrible for men, pretty good for women!
Next up: can a hair of the dog stop you from dying?
Have an amazing day!
P.s. If you enjoyed this article check out the last article (#5) in the 1000 interesting thing series – what is the best exercise for fat loss?