I have been training with a personal trainer now for about a year; we work four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) and do bodybuilding splits. So, we do dynamic lower core, heavy upper, heavy core, and then high-rep dynamic upper again. I have definitely seen some gains in a year; I was about 315 or so and and now am about 255 lbs. and have gone from 29.9 % body fat to about 17% or so now and have gained about 13 pounds of lean muscle. I just can't seem to get to that new plateau and my trainer tells me it's all about diet now to push past the next hurdle. Basically he told me up my clean proteins during the day and do lots of veggies and fruits. Of course we do carbs around the workout and in the morning in general.

I have since started doing that but the problem is that I like my drink. Not saying that I'm pounding a six pack every night but I do enjoy 1-2 glasses of wine pretty regularly or go out for a beer after work with my friends or whatever. I like to have a good time but I'm being told this is probably the reason why I can't shave off the last few percentage points off my body. My trainer has said that alcohol cranks up estrogen, blocks protein synthesis, and also can stop fat burning for up to three days because of acetate metabolism or something. Is this true? Has anyone had an experience where alcohol has hindered their gains? If I have to quit I will but I have to admit it will be a sad day!

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    I was wondering the same thing, all top athletes swear off alcohol completely. So I'm wondering what's so bad about alcohol that you shouldn't even drink a drop...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jun 13, 2011 at 20:37
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    @IvoFlipse all top athletes swear off alcohol completely You're sure 'bout this however? athletestore.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/… says In spite of the potential for negative effects on performance and health, there is ample evidence that alcohol features prominently in the lifestyles of many athletes at all levels of competition.
    – gaazkam
    Mar 7, 2016 at 13:02
  • @IvoFlipse Also it may be worthy to see this list: complex.com/sports/2012/10/… I'd also mention Antonio Pinto en.wikipedia.org/wiki/António_Pinto_(athlete) , a high ranking long distance runner, who claimed to had been drinking red wine before race medicaldaily.com/… I'm not participating in the "to drink or not to drink" debate, I'm just saying that it is not obvious that top ranking athletes are all complete abstainers.
    – gaazkam
    Mar 7, 2016 at 13:19

4 Answers 4


Take a look at this article on Alcohol and Nutrition Facts. It's pretty long, so I'll try to summarize the high points.

  • Unlike proteins, carbs, and fats it cannot be stored by the body, so it takes precedence over all other metabolic functions.
  • The enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase helps in metabolizing alcohol, but what it can't metabolize is absorbed by the blood stream. Women have that enzyme in smaller quantities, so men metabolize 30% and women metabolize 10% in the stomach.
  • The liver tries to detoxify the blood and processes alcohol at a rate of about .25 to .33oz per hour.
  • Within 5 minutes of imbibing you have enough alcohol in your blood to measure, with small amounts being excreted through the lungs and urine (which is how breathalyzer tests work)
  • The blood alcohol level will peak about 35-45 minutes after you imbibe
  • All alcohol related drinks contain an appreciable amount of calories, and these are calories with no other benefits (like protein or vitamins and minerals).
  • It affects the body's ability to maintain proper blood sugar levels, negatively affecting the pancreatic function--this is made worse when you exercise.

All this is from the first four pages. There are more effects. Now, does that mean you have to go cold turkey and not have another drink as long as you live? Maybe not. However, it might be a good idea to limit it to once a week.


I recently started a similar training regime... and I am very fond of alcohol.

My trainer recommends that I can have a glass (or two) of wine on days when I haven't worked out (so that I am not impeding the recovery process) and I don't have a workout scheduled for the following day (it tends to affect my performance, particularly on the more dynamic workouts).

So far this has worked well for me - I have a drink with dinner on Wednesdays and I have a more social drink at the weekend. This has worked well for me so far.

If you do drop alcohol I'd be keen to hear if this helps you achieve your goals.

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    I am considering it; i imbibed last night and my session was horrible this morning. I had zero energy and went back like 10 pounds on rack pull and incline bench... not good! Jun 14, 2011 at 14:41

Alcohol used and estrogen have been linked in several studies, but most of those have focused on postmenopausal women.

Still there is good reason to believe it would have a similar effect on a man. Here's a good summary of why that would be bad for your work outs.


I don't know if alcohol is the main reason. I heard that one or two glasses of red wine a day is healthy for a man. But just like Berin said alcohol is just empty calories. I do think changing your diet will help you over come the weight plateau.

My suggestions are: Try to eat slow carbs and up your veg and fruit intake. Try to eat regularly and take with you emergency snacks like unsalted nuts and fruit if you feel hungry. It is a good thing to keep your metabolism going. By starting the morning with oatmeal (which I know a lot of you will find disgusting) really helped me to not feel hungry until lunch because of the slow carbs. I eat it with almond milk cinnamon and banana. For lunch I have a BIG salad with beans, cheese or chicken. And for dinner anything with loads of veg. I still eat carbs like rice and potatoes but in smaller portions and try to substitute them for healtier options like sweet potato, quinoa, and brown rice. The biggest part of your plate should consist of veg then protein then carbs.

Here a link to the food hourglass model. Anything on the top you should replace with something on the bottom. It is in Dutch but I hope you understand by the drawings.
I hope this will help you lose those extra pounds while feeling energetic and strong!

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