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Drinking vs. Drugging

Having done my share of partying in my youth and having known many other regular trainers who indulged as well, I can offer a bit of experienced commentary on the matter.

If you’ve spent any appreciable amount of time on Internet message boards frequented by bodybuilders, you’ve seen numerous threads discussing the detriments or merits of alcohol, marijuana and other recreational drugs as they apply to those aspiring to build exceptional physiques. While some threads are stand-alone discussions on a particular intoxicant, many others debate which one is worse. Having done my share of partying in my youth and having known many other regular trainers who indulged as well, I can offer a bit of experienced commentary on the matter. 

Alcohol is the drug of choice for most of us, as it’s legal for anybody 21 years of age and up. It’s widely available, and it’s the most socially acceptable way of altering your mind. It also dehydrates you, offers useless calories, blunts the appetite, diminishes testosterone levels and raises estrogen—not to mention that it often results in a miserable hangover that makes any type of exercise or even eating the last thing on your mind. I drank heavily from the age of about 12 to 18, and quit halfway through my freshman year of college, once I figured out how badly it was stalling my muscle-building progress. Now I drink in moderation a few times a year. 

Many bodybuilders tout marijuana as a better alternative for those of us who hoist iron. They say it’s a wonderful way to relax, it’s calorie-free (unless you eat a pot brownie), and it stimulates the appetite, which is of particular value to hardgainers who have a difficult time eating enough food to grow. Weed also raises estrogen, however, and does a hell of a number on your short-term memory and ability to focus. Nutritious food like chicken breasts and rice are typically the last thing you crave when you’re stoned. Take it from a man who’s inhaled: You’re hunting around for cookies, ice cream, chips and other nutritionally void items. For a person who has a hard time staying lean or who’s trying to get a nice clear six-pack, regular toking will almost certainly thwart those goals. 

Some on the Web also insist that they train better high. All I can say to that is, they must be high. I once knew a state-level bodybuilder who competed unsuccessfully at the national level a couple of times. He almost always trained stoned. “Jake” was fond of using pretty light weights and focused primarily on getting a pump. I’m convinced that’s why he was a 5’8” middleweight when I met him more than a decade ago, and he’s hardly gained an ounce of muscle since, despite being loaded up on all the best steroids and growth hormone. 

As for drugs like Ecstasy, cocaine and meth—they all have nasty effects on brain chemistry, and the last two are ferociously addictive. The world is full of cocaine and meth addicts who thought they could limit their use to the occasional Saturday night and wound up throwing their lives away out of a need to stay high 24/7. 

Where am I going with all this? I’m in no position to judge people for the choices they make, but I’ve been around long enough to state with authority that the best bodybuilding results are possible only for those who stay clean and sober or are able to actually limit their indulgence to moderate amounts on rare occasions. Even those benefiting from exceptional genetics and the advantages of steroids will fall down a slippery slope if they make drug use a regular part of their lives. You’re all familiar with the story of IFBB pro Craig Titus, but there are a thousand other guys with great potential you never heard of who could have been stars if they hadn’t let drinking and/or recreational drugs rule their lives. 

So do what you want, but understand that some paths will definitely lead you far afield of your physique goals.

—Ron Harris

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk

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