There’s a familiar experience when watching any fitness-centric commercials on television. And its not a beer after workout.
There are the rippling muscles from a hard workout. The beads of sweat, and usually, some kind of electrolyte-infused recovery drink involved.
Never at any point are the finely tuned specimens in these advertisements ending up on their couch or at the local watering hole, throwing back a post-workout beer.
Possibly because on its surface, a craft beer or two after workout is a bit counterintuitive. If not altogether inconsistent with what the health and fitness industries represent.
But, with all the bodily reactions occurring during exercise, how can one be confident that throwing back some frosty brew-skis down the gullet wouldn’t have a positive effect?
What does science have to say?
Now, none of this is to encourage going home after every workout and laying waste to a six-pack of Stella, (heck, even a Guinness on St Pattys Day). After all, someone could have the genes of Hercules himself and come out on the losing end of such a nutrition plan.
However, after exercising, the human body becomes depleted of fluid and electrolytes, due to excess sweat as the body tries to cool down.
Moreover, small stores of carbohydrates and proteins are further sapped as the muscles work. These all need to be replenished for the body to recover efficiently.
Of course, there are those familiar sports drinks, with the aforementioned intense, slow motion commercials. And they very much have their place, as the sodium, carbs, and even sugar can be vital after demanding exercise.
But can beer emulate that effect, beyond all the other incredible benefits it has (such as an enhanced ability to relax from your workout)?
Goodbye Gatorade. Hello Beer-Ade.
First and foremost, be forewarned: funneling a few beers and heading out for a marathon isn’t the wisest choice. And the beer mile has bested many a great athlete.
However, many beers in America have a low alcohol percentage at 4.6% ABV, meaning they’re 90% water. So, already, there is something of a hydrating factor in play, after a tough training session.
Also, beer possesses that same little bit of protein and carbs one will find in any bottle of Gatorade.
Plus, beer (in moderation) is known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol. Beyond that, the soluble fiber found in beer in specific amounts potentially contributes to a preferable lipid profile.
But please if giving it the old college try, limit your intake to just one after a workout, then follow it with a bunch of water, for the best possible results. Beyond that, and one subjects themselves to the dehydrative and muscle-erasing properties of alcohol.
Or a Maybe a Little Red Wine After Workout?
If beer is not quite your choice, maybe a glass of red wine can also add some polyphenols to your recovery drink of choice.
More specifically, red wines possess high amounts of resveratrol. And they can potentially produce similar benefits for the heart and muscular strength as physical exercise?
Really, it’s hard to say whether red wine is better than beer—perhaps it simply comes down to personal tastebuds.
In short, beer in moderation isn’t going to enhance a high intensity interval training session in any significant way. But it won’t hurt results and could offer a nice reward for your hard work.
Bonding and Motivation For Performance
Ask any rugby player, teams are built on slugging back pints after practices. Again, though, moderation is key to alcohol consumption. And if a beer after workout, devolves into drinking to the point that everyone is stumbling out of the bar at 2 am, it’s not going to have a positive physical result.
Regardless, bonding is one way to ensure people commit 100% to their physical activities.