Muscles and Martinis: The Truth about Bodybuilders and Alcohol

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: December 16, 2023
Do Bodybuilders Drink Alcohol

In bodybuilding, every food and drink choice is carefully thought out to help muscles grow and heal.

This means there’s not much room for things that could mess up these processes.

One of these things is alcohol. It has lots of effects on the body, which makes people wonder about it.

Can bodybuilders have a drink once in a while without ruining their fitness goals? Does alcohol stop muscles from growing or slow down recovery?

This article will explore the complex relationship between bodybuilding and drinking alcohol. It will attempt to answer these questions.

We’ll use science facts and stories from real life to help you understand this topic completely.

If you’re a serious bodybuilder, a future athlete, or just someone who likes fitness and wants to know more, keep reading. You’ll find out the truth about bodybuilders and alcohol.

The Bodybuilder’s Lifestyle: An Overview

Bodybuilding isn’t just about lifting weights at the gym. It’s a way of life that needs a lot of dedication, self-control, and accuracy. Everything a bodybuilder does, from how they sleep to what they eat, helps them grow and keep their muscles.

Bodybuilders eat a special diet that helps them with their goals. They usually eat a lot of protein, along with a balanced amount of carbs and fats.

Protein helps muscles grow and heal. Carbs give energy for tough workouts, and fats help control hormones, including the ones that help muscles grow.

In addition to eating the right foods, bodybuilders also need to drink plenty of water. They should get all the vitamins and minerals their bodies need to stay healthy. This means things like calcium for strong bones, iron to carry oxygen, and B vitamins for energy.

Working out is just as important in bodybuilding. Bodybuilders usually do resistance training to make their muscles grow. They do cardio for a healthy heart and good stamina. They also do flexibility exercises to keep their movements smooth and easy.

Every workout has a specific goal, like working on a certain muscle group, getting stronger, or making muscles look more defined.

After working out, bodybuilders need to let their bodies rest and heal. This means getting enough sleep, resting, and continuing to eat the right foods.

Everything a bodybuilder does is for one reason – to build, shape, and keep their muscles.

That’s why they need to think carefully about anything that could get in the way of these processes, like drinking alcohol.

Alcohol: The Basics and Effects on the Body

Alcohol, which is also known as ethanol, is a substance that changes how we think and feel. It’s found in drinks like beer, wine, and hard liquor. It’s made when yeast changes sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

When you drink alcohol, it quickly gets into your blood and affects different parts of your body. One of the first places it hits is your brain.

Alcohol slows down your brain, which can change your mood, behavior, and how well you think. This can make you make bad decisions, mess up your balance, and slow down how fast you react to things.

Alcohol also affects your body and how well it works. It can make you dehydrated because it stops your body from absorbing water.

Being dehydrated can make working out feel harder than it really is.

Drinking alcohol can also stop your body from taking in important nutrients that help your muscles grow and heal. It can also mess up your sleep, which is really important for your muscles to repair and grow.

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When it comes to fitness and bodybuilding, alcohol can stop your body from making new proteins to fix and build muscles. This can slow down muscle growth, strength gains, and recovery.

Alcohol can also make your body store more fat. It has a lot of empty calories and slows down how fast your body burns fat because your body focuses on getting rid of the alcohol first.

Finally, alcohol can mess up your hormones. It can lower your testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that helps build muscle. It can raise your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that can break down muscle.

Having a little alcohol might not completely ruin your fitness goals. However, it’s clear that alcohol can have many bad effects on how well your body works and recovers. So, if you’re a bodybuilder, you might want to think about drinking less alcohol.

Alcohol and Bodybuilding: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

When it comes to bodybuilding, alcohol can have a complex relationship with the athlete’s progress. This section will dissect the potential effects of alcohol on muscle growth and bodybuilding efforts. It will present research findings and expert opinions on the subject.

The Good

Most discussions around alcohol and bodybuilding focus on the negative impacts. However, moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to some health benefits.

For instance, some studies suggest that moderate drinking might have heart benefits. It could potentially reduce the risk of heart disease. However, these benefits should be weighed against the potential negative impacts. This is especially important for bodybuilders.

The Bad

As discussed earlier, alcohol can have several detrimental effects on bodybuilding efforts. One of the primary concerns is its impact on muscle protein synthesis.

Research indicates that alcohol can reduce the rate of this process, impeding muscle growth and repair. Its ability to disrupt sleep, a crucial time for muscle recovery, can significantly hinder a bodybuilder’s progress.

Alcohol can also impair workout performance. It can lead to dehydration, reducing physical performance. It can also make workouts feel more challenging. In addition, alcohol can affect balance and coordination, increasing the risk of injuries during exercise.

The Ugly

Alcohol can impact muscle growth and workout performance. It can also affect a bodybuilder’s journey in the long term. Regular heavy drinking can lead to serious health issues. These include liver disease and cardiovascular problems, which can sideline any athlete.

The caloric content of alcohol can contribute to unwanted weight gain. Alcohol contains almost as many calories per gram as fat, and these are usually empty calories devoid of nutritional value.

For bodybuilders, who often follow strict diets to maintain their physique, this can throw a wrench in their nutrition plan.

Real-Life Scenarios: Do Bodybuilders Drink Alcohol?

Now that we’ve talked about how alcohol can affect bodybuilding, let’s see what this means for real people. Do bodybuilders drink alcohol? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think.

Every bodybuilder is different and does things their own way, including how they feel about alcohol. Some bodybuilders choose not to drink alcohol at all, especially when they’re training. They don’t want to risk hurting their muscles or slowing down their recovery time.

For example, the famous bodybuilder Jay Cutler has said that he doesn’t drink alcohol so he can perform his best. In an interview, he said he didn’t want anything to get in the way of his bodybuilding, and for him, alcohol was one of those things.

But some bodybuilders do have a drink once in a while and still keep up with their fitness routine. They say that it’s okay as long as they don’t go overboard and that having a glass of wine or beer every now and then won’t really hurt their progress.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, a big name in bodybuilding, is known to enjoy a beer sometimes. He believes in having balance in life and says that it’s okay to treat yourself once in a while.

Some bodybuilders don’t drink alcohol when training hard. However, they do have a drink when taking a break or during the off-season. They think this way they can stay disciplined without giving up their social life or things they enjoy.

Whether a bodybuilder decides to drink alcohol is a personal choice. It depends on their goals, how they live their life, and what they believe about how alcohol affects them.

Even though science says to be careful, in real life, bodybuilders have different opinions about drinking alcohol.


The connection between bodybuilding and alcohol can be complicated. It’s affected by things like what science says, personal goals, and lifestyle choices.

Alcohol can have many bad effects on bodybuilding. It can slow down how your muscles grow and recover and make your workouts harder. But how this plays out in real life can be different for each person.

If you want to be a bodybuilder, it’s important to know about these possible effects and think carefully about drinking alcohol. If you do decide to drink, don’t go overboard.

Having a treat once in a while might not really hold you back, but drinking a lot regularly could get in the way of your bodybuilding goals.

In the end, deciding to drink or not drink alcohol when you’re a bodybuilder is a personal choice. You need to find a balance that lets you enjoy your life but also keep working toward your fitness goals.

Understanding your body, paying attention to its needs, and making smart decisions are important in bodybuilding and staying fit.


What is the typical lifestyle of a bodybuilder?

A bodybuilder’s lifestyle typically revolves around disciplined training. They also follow a high-protein diet, get enough rest and recovery, and focus on overall health. This includes resistance training, cardio, and flexibility exercises. They are complemented by a balanced intake of carbohydrates and fats.

How does alcohol affect the human body?

Alcohol, when consumed, rapidly absorbs into the bloodstream and affects various bodily systems. It acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, slowing brain function. It also alters mood, behavior, and cognitive abilities. Alcohol can also lead to dehydration. It can impair nutrient absorption, disrupt sleep patterns, and impact muscle protein synthesis.

What are the effects of alcohol on bodybuilding?

Alcohol can have several negative impacts on bodybuilding efforts. It can reduce muscle protein synthesis. It can impair workout performance due to dehydration. It can disrupt sleep crucial for muscle recovery. It can also interfere with nutrient absorption and lead to an increase in fat storage.

Do real bodybuilders consume alcohol?

The choice to drink alcohol varies among bodybuilders. Some completely abstain, especially during training periods. This is due to potential adverse effects on muscle growth and recovery. Others may enjoy occasional drinks, believing that moderation won’t significantly hinder their progress. Some find a middle ground, abstaining during rigorous training periods. They indulge during off-seasons and rest days.

What advice can be given to bodybuilders regarding alcohol consumption?

Aspiring bodybuilders should understand the potential effects of alcohol on their training. They should make informed decisions about consumption. If choosing to drink, moderation is key.

Regular heavy drinking could be detrimental to bodybuilding goals. It’s essential to balance enjoying life and working toward fitness goals. This balance varies from person to person.

Dave Moffat

Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.