From Charles Poliquin Live
You may have heard that drinking beer after training can help you recover. This is a distortion of what a recent study found: That a low alcohol beer with added sodium offers a potential compromise between a dehydrating beverage with high social acceptance and one which avoids the exacerbated fluid losses observed when consuming full strength beer.
Basically, researchers found that when trainees drank beer with added sodium but lower alcohol content they weren’t as dehydrated as if they drank normal beer. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or will actually promote recovery.
Drinking alcohol after training or competition is a horrible idea. Excessive alcohol will erase all possible performance gains and delay recovery. The effect is especially bad for anyone trying to lose fat, put on muscle, or recover quickly for another competition.
For example, one study found that in elite rugby players who were given alcohol with dinner had higher cortisol and estrogen and decreased power output during a workout the next morning.
Not only will a “hangover” decrease peak performance and recovery, but it will compromise learning and skill development during practice as well. The rugby players had worse reaction time, cognition, and decision making in response to alcohol.
Just three standard drinks of alcohol decreased maximal strength ability by 45 percent in men 12 hours after ingesting alcohol.
A smaller dose of 1.5 standard drinks didn’t affect maximal strength ability. Still, small doses can decrease neural drive to the muscles, which could compromise repeated strength performance.
Researchers think that the biggest danger of drinking alcohol post-exercise is for a poor hormonal environment for muscle building and fat loss because alcohol increases the aromatization of testosterone into estrogen.
Vingren, J., et al. Post-Resistance Exercise Ethanol Ingestion and Acute Testosterone Bioavailability. Medicine and science in Sports and exercise. 2013. Published Ahead of Print.
Hansen, M., Thulstrup, A., et al. Does Last Week’s Alcohol Intake Affect Semen Quality or Reproductive Hormones: A Cross-Sectional Study Among Healthy Young Danish Men. Reproductive Toxicology. 2012. 34, 457-462.
Murphy, A., Snapa, A., et al. Alcohol and Rugby League Recovery. The Effect of Post-Match Alcohol Ingestion on Recovery from Competitive Rugby League Matches. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.