The Great Debate
The world of weightlifting has always been surrounded by controversy. Endless theories exist on the most effective lifting methods, dieting restrictions, and supplementation usages. Among these arguments lie one great debate, the unanswered question… the role of alcohol in the weightlifting world. While SwoleScience does not have the key to this unanswerable puzzle, we do take a stab at the issue and put our opinion out there for you readers, along with how to manage the adverse effects of alcohol.
The role of alcohol has been approached from all ends of the weightlifting spectrum throughout the years. I’ve been told that one night of drinking ruins 2 weeks of gym progress. I’ve heard highly regarded trainers and nutritionists claim that building muscle while drinking alcohol is physically impossible. And I’ve also heard from the pro-alcohol end of the spectrum touting the harmlessness of a night of partying. Hell, Arnold famously crushed beers post-workout for some simple, enjoyable carbs. He didn’t seem to have too much difficulty putting on some size.
So what’s the best answer?
In all honesty, there may not be one. When it comes down to it, the weightlifting and drinking lifestyle decision needs to be an individual one, based upon individual goals and preferences. If you’re 3 weeks out from a show and your dream is to one day grace the Olympia stage, then consistent boozing really isn’t for you. If you’re a serious lifter and an equally serious partier, then there’s probably nothing wrong with taking some tequila shots with your boys on a solid night out. That’s partially why you lift so hard, right? To be the biggest dude at the bar. If you’re still not sure what your goals are, step back and gauge the situation and your own body. Some people are blessed with the genetics to drink heavily and not see significant adverse effects, and others aren’t as fortunate.
Best ways to handle the adverse effects of alcohol
First and foremost is hydration. Alcohol is an extremely strong diuretic which is going to drain your body of fluids and thus cause massive dehydration and the ensuing hangover. You’ve probably heard it many times- ‘drink water before you go to bed’. Yet, once your already intoxicated, full, and/or sleepy, chugging obscene amounts of water at one time is the last thing on your mind. In order to alleviate the ‘end of the night water chug’, what is the method? well, Gunter Schlierkamp said it best in his exclusive interview with SwoleScience when he gave his personal advise- “Now here’s a good tip, especially if you’re weighting or bodybuilding and you have to go workout the next day. If you go out and someone wants to get you drunk, every second or third drink, have a half-liter of water, and you will be fine. All it does is dehydrate you, and it messes up your whole balance of your body, so If you keep drinking water you will flow everything out and keep your body balanced with liquids, and this is why you have a hangover, people just don’t drink water (laughs).” Besides, muscles are comprised of 70% water, and we cannot be losing that.
Second, pace yourself. Research has shown that massive amounts of alcohol very quickly overload the brain and cause what is known as a ‘black out’, which is very hard to recover from once the brain has ‘reset’. A slower pace will not only allow better management of your alcohol level but increase the probability of you remembering where you left your car and who you were texting at 4am.
Third, take some vitamins either before/during/after. Alcohol blocks the assimilation of the very important versatile B vitamins, along with flushing out many of the body’s important vitamins and minerals which can leave you feeling weak, dizzy, hazy and completely awful.
These remedies sound simple but there is no ‘miracle’ cure to prevent or cure the effects of a hard night out but through these simple task you can mitigate the damage to your body. Always listen to your body and come up with the solution that is the most effective for you and your weightlifting goals. Alcohol is a very prevalent social lubricant in society and if you choose to drink, managing it responsibly for your health and fitness goals is key.
Stay Swole my friends
-Jacked Daniels and Papa Swole
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