After a hard workout, you may look forward to treating yourself to a night out on the town or a bottle of beer after a workout. We often see beer as a post-workout drink, especially for men.
High-intensity exercise produces temporary muscular strain and discomfort, such as jogging, jumping, tackling, and changing direction. Alcohol, including beer, slows down the recovery time of your muscle from an intense workout.
You don’t want to hinder your recovery process when there are other beverages out there that will help speed up muscle repair. Alcohol has been linked to reducing muscle protein synthesis (MPS), making it more challenging to gain muscle.
Study finds that consuming alcohol after a workout or any alcohol can affect men’s health and put your exercise at risk. We break down how beer affects your body after exercise.
Beer is full of carbs
Consuming alcohol after a workout is one of the worst things you can drink because it contains carbs and sugar that will slow down your metabolism, compared to protein shakes.
If you have just completed an hour or more of endurance training, sports drinks are ideal for replacing the lost carb and targeting hydration.
Drinking beer after your workout increases the risk of dehydration
Beer is made up of water, but it will dehydrate you because of its alcohol. If you’re trying to rehydrate after exercise, then beer isn’t going to help you. A beer bottle often contains 150 calories which are about the same as drinking two bowls of sugary cereal or one bowl of spaghetti with meatballs. You don’t want to eat that much junk right after a workout because then you’re undoing all the hard work you did.
Beer can also act as a diuretic; some studies have shown people who consume alcoholic drinks more than three times a week are more likely to suffer from kidney problems.
You’ll feel bloated because alcohol blocks water absorption in your body
Drinking beer can also cause you to feel bloated, which is the last thing you need the day after workouts. If you’re trying to avoid that post-gym beer, try some healthy post-workout snacks and sports drinks instead.
Related: 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Beer
So don’t be fooled into thinking that one beer will help your muscle recovery or can be as beneficial as your post-workout drinks. It’s best to drink water or a sports beverage.
Other potential side effects of consuming beer after a workout can be upset stomach and headache.
Drinking beer will lead to weight gain
There is a common misconception that beer has a lot of calories that can affect your body weight. Beer has about the same calories as other beverages, such as light beer, iced tea, or regular soda.
Beer contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. If you’re looking to gain muscle or build muscle, you may want to avoid beer because this could cause inflammation.
Also, always remember that the calories from beer may end up on your waistline.
Beer can put stress on your body
Alcohol depresses the activity of your brain’s cortical region, which regulates movement, language, and decision-making. Your nervous system is already putting out a lot of energy and stress on your body just working at the gym.
When you drink beer after a workout, you’re inadvertently aiding your body’s effort to regain stability at the cellular level. That’s not good news when your body is still somewhat out of sync from your workout.
What should we drink after sports and exercise?
It’s best to consume water or a sports beverage that contains carbohydrates and electrolytes (sodium and potassium specifically) because these nutrients are lost through sweat.
If you’re craving something sweet, then there are healthier post-workout snacks out there. For example, try some chocolate milk, coconut water, yogurt smoothies. Coconut water doesn’t have a lot of protein, but it is an excellent source of carbohydrates and electrolytes. Yogurt smoothies contain protein because yogurt has live bacteria, which your body uses to synthesize vitamins and amino acids.
Chocolate milk contains electrolytes to replace what you may have lost through sweat or drinking brews.
The key takeaway here is that you should avoid drinking any alcoholic beverage for at least an hour post-workout if possible.
What is the best food after a workout?
Your best bet would be food with a combination of carbohydrates and protein because those nutrients are the most beneficial for replenishing your muscles.
For example, you could have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or eggs with whole-wheat toast because this food contains complex carbohydrates and protein.
Is it bad to drink alcohol and exercise?
Drinking alcohol and working out at the same time is not a good idea. Drinking after you work out will cause your muscles to lose strength and may even stop making them altogether.
You aren’t going to get any benefits from drinking and exercising at the same time. Even if you do drink before working out, alcohol can dehydrate your body.