M. Okimoto & G. Kaye / Getty
Dear M & F,
I'm seriously interested in getting bigger, but I like to go out with my friends every week and drink a few drinks. Will that hurt my winnings? How can I mitigate the damage?
– Jasper T., Lubbock, TX
There is no way around the fact that alcohol slows muscle growth. However, there are ways to minimize the impact of your social life.
First supplement with N-acetylcysteine (NAC). One of the stressors that alcohol exerts on your liver is the breakdown of antioxidants. The metabolism of alcohol consumes glutathione, an amino acid that functions as one of the strongest free-radical fighters in the body. Daily intake of 500 to 600 milligrams of NAC can help replenish antioxidants and eliminate toxic metabolites that result from the breakdown of alcohol in the liver.
Another supplement to try is leucine. Alcohol blocks muscle growth at the genetic level by inhibiting the action of leucine, the most anabolic of branched-chain amino acids. Taking a dose the day after drinking may help to remove this inhibition.
Finally, try to schedule your drink. Penn State studies show that alcohol lowers protein synthesis by 15% to 20% after 24 hours, but not earlier.
It may sound crazy, but a few drinks on Friday night after training are better than on Saturday night (when your body recovers).
The diet of the drinking man
Eat on days when you let yourself be pampered
3 whole omega-3 eggs and 3 egg whites, scrambled eggs
1 cup of FiberOne cereal
1 cup of 2% Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of almonds
Meal replacement shake
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
¼ cup of chopped walnuts
2-3 cups of water
3-4 ice cubes
6 ounces grilled rock steak, fat cut off
1 cup of black beans
3 tablespoons salsa – 1 diced tomato, 2 chopped spring onions, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Shake after the workout
60-70 g of dextrose / maltodextrin mixture
5 g creatine
30 g whey protein
15 g of BCAA
8 ounces fried chicken breast
1 baked sweet potato with 1 tablespoon butter
⅓ cup of brown rice (dry measure)
8 -10 asparagus spears
Before going to bed
20 to 32 ounces of water
500-600 mg NAC
5-8 g leucine
Carbohydrates – 309 g
Fat – 101 g
Protein – 240 g
Calories – 2,951