It’s nice to crack open a cold beer after an intense gym session—but that brew may undo all the hard, muscle-building work you just did.
In a new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 10 male and nine female lifters did six sets of 10 heavy squats. Afterward, some drank water and the rest drank enough vodka diluted with water to equal downing four to eight drinks (depending on weight) in 10 minutes.
Muscle biopsies showed that alcohol did interfere with the chemical pathways that stimulate muscle growth and recovery, but—get this—only in the men.
Scientists suspect this may have something to do with the testosterone in our bodies, which not only spikes with intense exercise but also uses the same muscle pathways affected by alcohol.
So, cool it with the hootch after the gym, and maximize muscle mass.