Alcohol And Getting Ripped: Is Drinking Bad For Your Physique?

Alcohol and getting ripped

Let me guess, you want to get ripped?

But at the same time you don’t want to give up on your social life?

For most people, alcohol is part of having a social life, and if you’re like most people then I’m sure you want to be able to have a few drinks every now and then, especially during events such as parties, dates, birthdays, vacations and so on.

Well, the good news is you can!

Alcohol won’t interfere with muscle growth, neither will it stop fat loss, as long as you’re structuring your day correctly while also drinking smartly and in moderation.

In this article you’ll learn exactly how to fit alcohol into your fitness plan without causing negative effects on your results.

Let’s go!

The Key to Maintaining a Ripped Physique is to Enjoy Your Lifestyle


If you want to successfully stay lean for good, then you must enjoy the lifestyle supporting your physique. If you’re not, you won’t stay ripped long-term.

You see, the more you obsess and stress about your workouts and diet, the more likely you are to screw up. But once you blend your fitness plan into your lifestyle, the journey gets much more rewarding and enjoyable.

So, don’t be afraid to go out and have a few drinks a couple times per week. Letting go and having fun every now and then will only bring you more happiness and further motivation to continue doing your workouts and diet during the weeks and months.

I believe wholeheartedly in the 80/20 rule, especially when it comes to fitness. Where 80 % of life should be made up of solid habits supporting your fitness goal and the remaining 20 % can simply be letting go of these habits and just enjoying yourself as much as possible.

What’s important to realize is that it doesn’t have to be a trade off. You don’t have to choose between going out and having abs, or eating the occasional junk food and getting in shape.

In fact, what’s the point of getting in incredible shape if you can’t enjoy having the physique anyways? That’s just crazy in my opinion!

So again, if you want to get and stay ripped long-term, your fitness plan should be part of your lifestyle, it should not take over it. And this includes being able to drink alcohol if you so choose to.

How Does Alcohol Affect Fat Loss And Muscle Growth?

What you’re about to learn next applies to moderate alcohol consumption. If you’re getting completely wasted every weekend, then it just says itself, your results will suffer.

But, if you stay within certain boundaries, which we’ll look at in a moment, then you can enjoy alcohol without any problems.

So, what follows below are a list of scientific facts which demonstrates that moderate alcohol consumption is entirely possible both for building and maintaining a downright sexy physique:

Fact 1 – You’ll Only Gain Fat if You’re in a Calorie Surplus

There’s no way around this fact. 50+ years of research supports that fat gain or loss, in the end comes down to calories in vs calories out.

If you take in more calories than you burn, then you’ll start gaining fat. If you take in less calories than you burn then you’ll start losing fat.

And here’s the deal:

Alcohol contain 7 calories per gram. This means that as long as you fit your alcohol calories into your total daily maintenance calories, then you won’t gain fat from drinking alcohol, it’s that simple.

Here’s a demonstration of this:

alcohol fat gain

*Inspired by this post created by Radu Antoniu

This picture demonstrates a person who maintains body weight (not gaining fat) at 2600 calories per day. And as you can see, as long as this person eats less carbs and fats, then these “saved” calories can go towards alcohol consumption, without fat gain!

Again, alcohol won’t cause fat gain as long as you’re not in a calorie surplus.

Fact 2 – Moderate Drinking Does Not Impair Muscle Growth

While drinking excessively will affect muscle growth and strength development negatively, moderate drinking seems to be fine. In fact, research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption does not impair overload-induced muscle hypertrophy and protein synthesis.

Fact 3 – A Moderate Intake of Alcohol Can Have Health Benefits

Moderate alcohol consumption is supported by many studies to be associated with all kinds of health benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity, lowered triglyceride concentrations and improved glycemic control. Not just in healthy people, but also in type 2 diabetics.

Not only that, studies also consistently show moderate drinkers to live longer than non-drinkers because of a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.

Furthermore, it’s been shown that alcohol can contribute to a healthier and disease-free life by protecting against rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, the common cold, different types of cancer, depression and many other welfare diseases.

Surprisingly, there seem to be more benefits of being a moderate drinker than a zero drinker.

However, this only applies when drinking in moderation. If you were to go further than the moderate consumption rate, these benefits can quickly turn in to negative effects on your health and physique instead.

The point where alcohol consumption goes from healthy to unhealthy seems to be when you go from just being tipsy to being drunk. And anyone who’s been tipsy knows how hard it usually is to just stop drinking when it feels like the night is just about to begin.

We’ll look closer on what moderate consumption means in a moment.

Fact 4 – Getting Drunk Will Be Negative To Your Physique

Getting drunk is not only negative to your health, it’s also negative to your appearance. It’s been shown that once you pass into the drunk realm, your muscle protein synthesis shuts down, meaning you’ll build less muscle during this time.

In fact, one study found that ~120 grams of alcohol, which is roughly 10 beers, reduces testosterone with as much as 23% for up to 16 hours post consumption.

Not only that, getting drunk either means you’ll consume far above your maintenance calories for the day, which means you’ll gain fat.

Or you’ll have to “steal” large amounts of calories from carbs and fats, which means you’re providing your body with very poor energy for all of it’s system to work optimally. Which further reduces your muscle protein synthesis.

In short, getting excessively drunk is negative. Period.

Fact 5 – Drinking Excessively Provides No Value

Roughly 4-5 units of alcohol and you’ll have all the benefits of alcohol without compromising your physique or health. At this point you’ll feel euphoria, relaxation, a sense of well-being, joyousness and you’ll enjoy conversations.

Furthermore, a moderate intake of alcohol is an effective de-stressor, and it’s also been shown to reduce feelings of depression and self-consciousness.

Overall, drinking in moderation will actually give you more benefits than what it takes from you. It’s only when you drink excessively that alcohol turns into something negative.

So with that said, what’s excessive?

Well, let’s look at that:

How to Include Alcohol to Enjoy Life While Getting Ripped

drinking alcohol fat loss

If you want to enjoy alcohol without compromising your physique and health, you must learn to drink moderately.

And in order to learn this, you must first understand why you want to drink in the first place.

Why do You Want to Drink Alcohol?

Most people go out and drink alcohol to dance, party or socialize. They’re going to hit the bars and clubs with friends, talk and connect with people and just have a fun evening.

Now, used in this way alcohol isn’t bad. The problem arises when people either use alcohol to mask their insecurities, or escape from reality. Both of which used to be problems for me…

First of all, I was a very shy kid growing up. During high school I had to rely on alcohol to even dare socialize with people. When I was drinking I could blame all my behaviors on alcohol, so it felt less scary, if god forbid, I would screw something up.

And second, I used alcohol to flee from all the boiled up bad feelings I had inside me. If you’ve read my story you know that I battled with depression during my teenage years.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t hide behind alcohol. If you want to drink, do it in moderation just to loosen up a bit, not because you depend on it.

If you feel that you’re using alcohol in the wrong way, my best tip would be to study yourself and find ways to improve in the areas that you might need. Eventually you’ll realize that you don’t need to use alcohol in a negative way.

Having the self-confidence that alcohol provides while actually being sober is the true goal, and I just want to say that it feels amazing!

The thing that helped me overcome low confidence and shyness the most, is definitely the The Six Minute to Success Program by Bob Proctor. I can’t recommend this program enough!

Okay, so now that we’ve covered the physiological and psychological facts surrounding alcohol and building a lean and muscular physique, let’s finally look at:

The Step by Step Drinking Guide For Staying Ripped

What follows now are the steps you need to take if you want to be able to enjoy alcohol while staying ripped in the process. If you follow these steps I promise that you’ll be able to enjoy nights out, while seeing amazing results in the meantime.

1. Save up on a calorie buffer to make room for the alcohol

There are two things you can do here, and they work best in combination:

  1. On the day that you are supposed to be drinking, reduce your intake of fat and carbs a bit, and try to get the bulk of energy from protein. This is done by having mostly vegetables and lean protein sources earlier in the day.
  2. Utilize intermittent fasting. By skipping breakfast and possibly lunch, you’ll create a large buffer of calories to spend both eating and drinking in the evening. Remember, it all comes down to calories in vs calories out, and intermittent fasting will certainly help you buffer most of your calories so that you can enjoy yourself as much as possible.

2. Avoid alcohol sources that are rich in carbohydrates

average calorie content of various alcoholic drinks

*Inspired by this post created by Radu Antoniu

Avoid drinks that include fruit juices and sugary sodas, also try to avoid beer. These kind of drinks contains a lot of carbs on top of the alcohol, meaning the calorie content increases rapidly.

For example, one heavier type of beer typically contains ~200 calories. And if, let’s say, you’re maintaining your body weight on 2600 calories per day, then already at two and a half drinks you’ll land at 20% of your total calorie intake for the day, which I recommend as the limit of “junk food” consumption, including alcohol.

So, instead try to mostly drink dry wines (which are very low in carbs), whiskey, vodka, tequila, scotch, gin and cognac, all these include basically zero carbs.

If you don’t want to drink these straight, drink them with diet soda, as that’ll add zero calories, and research has shown repeatedly that Aspartame isn’t negative to our health.

Finally, don’t try to be super neurotic about this, drinks should be enjoyed after all. Just be aware that there are better and worse choices out there.

3. Drink in moderation

Avoid getting to the point where you become excessively drunk. When that happens, it’s typically easier to lose judgment of your actions, not only will you have an easier time saying “fuck it” and just eat it all, it’s also normal that when we’re getting drunk our hunger signals get all messed up, causing us to overeat on junk food that we don’t actually need.

In fact, beliefs such as; “alcohol makes you fat” are often just made up, people typically indulge in all the junk they see when drinking because of a loss of judgment, not because of the alcohol directly.

Usually people start to tip over into the drunk realm somewhere after 3-5 “normal” drinks depending on body size. But, it’s hard to give any concrete recommendations on the amount you should consume, but 3-5 drinks are usually the top end.

4. Avoid eating late at night

Again, the problem with drinkers is what happens after all the alcohol. Burger King or McDonald’s are the usual go to, at least here in Sweden. And of course, if you’ve been slamming down 5 drinks and then push down 700 calories on top of this, you’re going to gain weight.

For this reason, I recommend that you avoid after drink snacking. Even if you’re having calories left in your budget, it’s extremely easy to get tempted to eat more when you’re feeling drunk.

A much better option at this point would be to have some filling snack, such as a fruit or a protein bar ready to be eaten. This usually reduces your cravings and will get you your judgement back.

If you follow these guidelines that I just outlined, you can have a few nights out every now and then without having to worry about gaining fat.

In fact, if you do it right, you might even be able to lose fat during these days as well. It’s something that I’ve done and been successful with many times through my own fat loss phases.

Just remember though, drink responsibly or alcohol will quickly become negative for your health and physique!

What About Drinking During The Day?

Sometimes, such as during the summer, or when going on a skiing trip, you’d like to have a few drinks in the middle of the day. So, how do you go about that?

Well, in this case, you’d simply follow the same steps, but instead have your drinks during the day.

Now, if you plan on doing both day and night drinking all on the same day, then it’s going to be difficult to keep calories low. But it’s definitely possible to fit this into your calories and macros.

However, I recommend that you don’t drink for entire days too often, as this could risk negative effects on your physique and health.


Alcohol is a part of having an enjoyable and social lifestyle for most people. Completely turning your head away from alcohol just to get in shape won’t be sustainable for most people, and you shouldn’t have to.

In fact, drinking alcohol in moderation won’t be negative to your physique or health, so there’s no need to be afraid of drinking alcohol in moderation.

It’s important to ask yourself honestly why you want to drink. Do you drink to party, socialize and have fun? Or do you drink to flee from reality or hide from your true emotions. The former is obviously a healthier way to drink, while the later is not.

Finally, in order to drink moderately, without screwing up your physique and health, here’s what to do:

  1. Save up on a calorie buffer to make room for the alcohol.
  2. Avoid alcohol sources that are rich in carbohydrates
  3. Drink in moderation
  4. Avoid eating late at night

If you follow these guidelines you’re well on your way to be able to enjoy drinking while keeping an aesthetic physique in the meantime.

What’s Next?

So you’ve learned that it’s totally okay to drink alcohol in moderation while still being able to get a ripped physique. But, in order include alcohol in moderation, you must first know how to set up and track your diet correctly.

And there’s a LOT that goes into setting up a diet if your goal is to get lean and ripped, especially if you want to include alcohol as well. You have calories, macronutrients and food composition. You also have meal frequency and timing strategies that can make everything easier.

I understand if this might feel a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve just gotten started. So, here’s what I recommend that you do to make setting up your diet a LOT easier:

Get your hands on a high quality course! This is what I did in the beginning of my fitness journey and it’s the number one reason I was able to undergo my physique transformation sooner rather than later.

Having access to a step by step course and just following it to the T is the only real “shortcut” to building a ripped physique. You basically take what someone else learned over a time course of five to ten years and bring it down to a one, two or three year process depending on your goal and starting point.

Do yourself a favor and don’t wait ten years to build the physique of your dreams, get your hands on a guide and you’ll get there a LOT quicker. I use and recommend the Think Eat Lift courses created by Radu Antoniu.

I recommend his courses mostly because I think they teach the most easy and enjoyable strategies for building an outstanding physique.

If you want to read more about why I recommend Radu’s courses you can do so by clicking here!

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas Lampi and I work as a fitness writer, nutritional consultant and personal trainer. My favourite exercise is the bench press and my favourite food is pizza!

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