Two researchers at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia have just published a paper which suggests that an “after workout beer” might be just what the doctor ordered.
Patrick B. Wilson, an associate professor in exercise science at Old Dominion, and Jaison Wynne, a PhD student in the Department of Human Movement Sciences at the university, conducted a systematic review of beer’s effects on exercise performance, recovery, and adaptation.
They scoured relevant sports studies in three databases (PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science and came up with four specific findings…
And here’s what they found…
Athletes are More likely to Drink Beer than Non-Athletes
After perusing numerous studies in the databases. Wilson and Wynn found “that athletes from the collegiate level to the elite level are more likely to drink beer than non-athletes.”
This might strike some as counterintuitive, since athletes are so focused on health and staying in peak condition. But that’s not the case according to this peer review.
Moderate Drinking the Night Before a Competition Won’t Impair Performance
The university reviewers cited one study where athletes consumed up to six beers the night before a test of muscle strength and endurance, and found that drinking two beers or less did not impact their performance.
Conversely drinking four or more beers the night before a competition had a negative impact and proved to be detrimental.
Beer Isn’t a Great Source of Hydration after Exercise
Wilson and Wynn detailed two studies where the researchers asked athletes to work up a sweat, then drink beer. That exercise led to an average 2% reduction in body mass from water loss.
Then the researchers gave those same subjects water, nonalcoholic beer, or a sports drink to replace all the fluids they lost.
And the athletes who had consumed beer after serious exercise STILL retained fewer fluids, urinated more, and had degraded fluid balance for a couple hours after exercise….differences that eventually disappeared after a few more hours.
Regular Beer Consumption Doesn’t Hinder Athletes over Weeks of Exercise
The paper’s authors cited one study where athletes were subjected to ten weeks of high-intensity interval training along with drinking either vodka, water, or beer after their workouts. And that study found no difference in physical outcomes between any of the groups – they all got fitter to the same degree.
In another study reviewed by Wilson and Wynn, athletes participated in an intense aerobic exercise program while drinking six 750-mL bottles per week of either 0.9% (basically a non-alcoholic beer) or a 5% beer.
According to The Press, “both groups’ cardiorespiratory fitness increased by the same amount, although the low-alcohol beer group enjoyed other metabolic benefits that the high-alcohol group did not, such as lower blood pressure and lower blood lipid levels.”
The bottom line is that Wilson and Wynne found that moderate beer consumption after exercise was generally harmless.
“Chronic changes in body composition, as well as muscle performance, adaptation, and recovery, seem largely unaffected by moderate beer consumption,” they wrote.