Ride Your Life training tips
"Great ride! Let's have a beer ". How often have you heard this, or have you ever said it yourself after a workout?
For many of us, a post-workout beer is a ritual.
But, how does drinking a beer after training affect your body?
Source of carbohydrates
The basis of the possible benefits of beer after training is mainly the contribution of carbohydrates. Glycogen is, in fact, the primary source of energy used during cycling. In a medium / long duration outing, it is easy to deplete its stocks in our body completely.
A typical 33cl beer contains, on average, 10 to 15g of carbohydrates. Since its consumption after exercise can promote the regeneration of energy reserves, beer can sometimes be an acceptable post-workout supplement option.
Reintegration of electrolytes
The same goes for electrolytes, minerals that contain an electrical charge that carries out essential bodily functions related to the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, body pH maintenance, and body fluids regulation.
During physical activity, sweating causes the loss of electrolytes, which are contained in most replenishing sports drinks. This is also true for some beers that include other blends, especially sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which produce similar effects and can therefore be valid for their integration.
Supply of antioxidants
Antioxidants are chemicals or physical agents that slow down and prevent the oxidation of other substances, counteracting the formation of free radicals, molecules responsible for numerous chronic inflammations and degenerative diseases.
Beer contains a good amount of antioxidants, especially polyphenols. Several studies have associated moderate beer consumption with increased cardiovascular health and a reduction in cancer risk.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF BEER AFTER TRAINING
Reduction of protein synthesis
At the end of a workout, our body stimulates the protein synthesis process, which is essential for creating new proteins and strengthening and repairing the muscles damaged by the stress induced by exercise.
Alcohol intake can slow down protein synthesis by up to 37%.
Numerous studies suggest that post-workout alcohol intake can slow down this process and significantly worsen the ability to recover.
However, these are studies based on the assumption of a large intake of doses of alcohol. Other studies concluded that if the input is moderate (0.5g x kg of weight), there are no particular effects on muscle performance in intense exercises.
Hydration is a fundamental aspect to be taken care of, even only concerning general health, and even more so in the practice of sporting activities.
What should a cyclist drink? Alcohol is certainly not among the best options. Alcohol consumption is usually associated with dehydration due to its diuretic properties.
Here, too, the doses should be taken into account. Low consumption does not seem to have significant consequences.
The adverse effects of alcohol intake after a workout seem to outweigh the possible positive outcomes.
This does not mean that you must always give up post-release beer, but you have to use your head.
It is essential to understand that if you drink a beer after training, it is for indulgence and personal pleasure and not to implement a recovery strategy.
As can be easily understood, the main factor to consider is quantity. In any case, the doses should be reduced because, in the case of significant excesses (large amounts or high alcohol content), the adverse effects could be considerable and would risk compromising the commitment made.
Drinking a beer now and then after a not particularly demanding workout or a friendly group outing will not ruin your preparation and can promote aggregation and sociability, fundamental aspects of finding the motivation to train consistently.
"Post-Exercise Rehydration: Effect of Consumption of Beer with Varying Alcohol Content on Fluid Balance after Mild Dehydration" - Annemarthe H. C. Wijnen, JoraSteennis, MilèneCatoire, Floris C. Wardenaar and Marco Mensink, (2016)
“Phenols and Melanoidins as Natural Antioxidants in Beer. Structure, Reactivity and Antioxidant Activity "- Alvaro Martinez-Gomez, Isabel Caballero and Carlos A. Blanco, (2020)
"Wine, Beer, Alcohol and Polyphenols on Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer" - Sara Arranz, Gemma Chiva-Blanch, Palmira Valderas-Martínez, Alex Medina-Remón, Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós and Ramón Estruch, (2012)
"Alcohol Ingestion Impairs Maximal Post-Exercise Rates of Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following a Single Bout of Concurrent Training" - Evelyn B. Parr, Donny M. Camera, José L. Areta, Louise M. Burke, Stuart M. Phillips, John A. Hawley, and Vernon G. Coffey, (2014)
"A low dose of alcohol does not impact skeletal muscle performance after exercise-induced muscle damage" - Matthew J Barnes, Toby Mündel and Stephen R Stannard, (2010)
"The Diuretic Action of Weak and Strong Alcoholic Beverages in Elderly Men: A Randomized Diet-Controlled Crossover Trial" - Kristel C. M. M. Polhuis, Annemarthe H. C. Wijnen, AafjeSierksma, Wim Calame and Michael Tieland, (2017)
Daniele Bazzana - BC Training
Athletic and Biomechanical Trainer