After a hard workout, it makes sense that you would want to kick back and crack open a cold one. And according to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, you wouldn’t be entirely in the wrong to indulge yourself.
The study’s findings showed that light beer could be a completely valid post-workout choice.
What makes light beer a good recovery drink?
It’s not uncommon for people in social sports to enjoy a bevvy with their team after the game. According to research, a low alcohol beer (think less than four per cent) can actually act as an effective rehydrator due to its water, sodium and potassium content. Some beer brands have even capitalised on the post-workout brew by formulating electrolyte-infused beer to boost these rehydrating properties further.
The study claims you could also try adding sodium to a non-alcoholic beer, but we won’t address that travesty.
When you exercise, you also chip away at the body’s stored carbs, also known as glycogen. As beer is usually brewed from water, grains, hops and yeast, it acts as a good source of carbs to replenish these energy stores.
While light beer can be a successful source of hydration and carbs, it also contains antioxidants called polyphenols that help the body combat free radicals to prevent inflammation and muscle damage.
Be careful; alcohol can still hinder your performance
The study shows light beer does have some benefits as a post-workout recovery drink, but just like your non-alcoholic brew, you should take it with a grain of salt.
Jaison Wynne, PhD student at Old Dominion University and co-author of the review, revealed that once you go past an alcohol level of four per cent or drink more than two 12 ounce low ABV beers, the benefits start to decline.
This is because, as we all know, excessive alcohol consumption is also linked with mild dehydration. Having a few too many after a workout can cause you to lose even more of your precious water supply and can impact protein synthesis, slowing your recovery and leaving your muscles aching and damaged.
Remember that hydration is the key to recovery, and chugging back a six-pack won’t do anything you help yours. If your mighty gym-sesh does call for a bevvy, then, by all means, indulge; just make sure you stick to beer with a low ABV and don’t drink excessively.
Even better, enjoy your beer with a healthy meal and a side of water to reap the best effects.