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Alcohol Not So Great After Workout


Most people tend to have a drink of alcohol after they have exercised, probably as a reward for completing it, or because they have used up all their willpower to resist a drink of it. Some feel that it helps them to sleep, or relaxes their muscles, numb the pain or increase blood flow to aid in their recovery after their exercises. Regardless of the reasons for drinking, the truth is that it is actually detrimental to drink any form of alcohol after any type of exercise.

The Diuretic Effect
The consumption of even low doses of alcohol prior to any exercise actually impairs recovery and adaptation to exercise due to the ergolytic effects of alcohol on endurance performance. As it is diuretic, that means one would be likely to urinate more, and that leads to dehydration. Every gram of alcohol ingested increases urine flow by about two teaspoons, which means a 12-ounce can of beer containing 14 grams of alcohol will yield about an extra half-cup of pee. Alcohol too, decreases glucose which is needed to power up muscles. If an athlete runs out of it, they are likely not able to complete their race.

With regards to fixing injuries, blood flow to injured areas is actually increased as alcohol is a good vasodilator. This causes the injury to bleed or swell even more, causing much more pain. While it is argued that alcohol can decrease pain, in actuality it only mask pains because of the effects on nerve endings. Beer, in particular, affects muscle fibers by inhibiting an enzyme that helps fuel the muscle and when that happens, the fibers don’t adapt like they should, and that results in a longer recovery period.

Protein Inhibitor
In addition to that, alcohol also interferes with the body system as well. It causes the muscles’ post-workout rebuilding process be slower as it reduces protein synthesis. Also, growth hormones which are released during restful sleep is actually affected, as sleep patterns are actually disrupted.

Alcohol consumption may also affect food intake as people may end up opting for convenient food choices rather than what should be beneficial to themselves.


Bottom Line
Thus, instead of having a post-workout beer, opt for water or a sports drink instead. This is to regain the weight loss due to sweat, and to get back to pre-exercise weight. For post-race meals, 20g of protein and 50g of carbs can optimise protein synthesis and glycogen synthesis for the recovery for the muscles.

If you HAVE to have beer, Australian research suggests that a low-alcohol beer (3.5% or below) combined with a pinch of salt can aid in rehydration. Better yet, opt for alcohol-free beer.

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