Drinking alcohol after the weight lifting workout routine or another type of exercise is bad for muscles and health?
Drinking alcoholic beverages (beer, Whisky, etc.) after exercise may not be harmful for health, muscle mass or fat burning as long as you do not abuse its consumption, especially talking about sweet flavored alcoholic beverages (The different types of liquors that exist such as Brandy, Whisky, Brandy, Tequila, Vodka, among others) and beer.
Well, actually beer can also be considered as a type of sweet flavored alcoholic beverage although its taste is usually very bitter, mainly because they have carbohydrates.
What happens is that the more bitter beers bring less simple carbohydrates than beers that have sweet flavors (eg Redds beer, cola and pola, among others).
We could say then that the excess of alcohol could interfere with the body's overall muscle recovery after exercise, and that the excess of carbohydrates (especially those of the simple type: the sweet flavored ones) could slow down the fat burning after exercise and maybe also for the rest of the day.
Post-workout alcoholic beverages and muscles recovery
Speaking of muscle recovery, one study evaluated the consumption of alcohol (ethanol: fit for human consumption) in women who performed different repetitions of exercises to workout on the muscles of the legs, giving them to ingest 1.09 grams of ethanol per kg of lean mass (fat-free mass: muscle mass), after the end of the training session.
This study was carried out for a total period of three days: blood samples were taken before training as well as 24 and 48 hours after the training session, in order to measure the effect of the alcohol consumed on the cytokines Responsible for tissue disinflammation (in this case, more precisely, skeletal muscle tissue).
The results showed that this consumption of alcohol did not affect the processes of disinflammation of the muscles and therefore the post exercise recovery was not altered negatively.
But remember that we are talking about only 1.09 grams of ethanol per kg Of lean mass consumed by women (something very important to take into account if we compare it with the same study carried out in men).
So if for example we take as a reference a liter of whiskey, this liter can contain between 15 and 25 grams of alcohol approximately, amount that varies according to the brand and type of Whiskey.
So we could say that if your Lean body mass (muscle mass) is greater than 30 kg.
Maybe there is no problem in that this amount of alcohol ingested through these 1000 mL of Whiskey does not negatively alter the processes of muscle recovery, much less if you are a woman since in this case it was observed that women suffered less in muscle recovery compared to men, who underwent a similar study years earlier (in the end of this article I will leave the reference of both studies).
Now, I think it would be utter stupid to drink 1 quart of Whiskey just after training.
That is, I would understand if you drink about 100 mL to 200 mL of Whisky because maybe you wanted to impress someone or because some people simply say that small doses of some liquors like Whisky or other alcoholic beverages like Wine, can have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
Why women usually suffer less from alcohol consumption after training compared to men
There are different hypotheses, being the most "sounding" the one that speculates that it is due to high levels of muscle mass, if for example we compare a man with a woman of the same physical abilities according to their sporting modality.
For example if we compare a male runner of 100 meters with a female runner also of 100 meters in athletics.
In this case then the man who consumes 1.09 grams of alcohol (ethanol) per kg of lean mass after his training session, will be more affected in terms of posttraining recovery compared to the woman also sprinter or runner of the 100 meters.
It could be said that the man of 100 meters flat runs at a somewhat greater speed Not only because his heart is larger and therefore can pump blood to the most distal muscles of his body, but also because he has a greater number of Fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are the ones that suffer the most from external factors that may alter them.
In this case speaking both the training and the skills themselves, as well as alcohol consumption that is equal to or greater than 1.09 grams per kg of this type of muscle fibers, and also counting the slow muscle fibers, which in the case in the sprinters are really very few.
Do you understand now why women can tolerate better post-exercise alcohol consumption? Well, at least this is what is speculated taking into account the results of the studies mentioned and referenced at the end of this article.
The factor of dehydration when drinking alcoholic beverages after exercise
However, although this amount of alcohol ingested may not directly affect the anti-inflammatory processes and thus the processes of muscle recovery, especially speaking of women.
Then the factor of dehydration appears causing your body suffer both to try to counteract this toxic that you are adding in large amounts of alcohol, as to try to maintain homeostasis (metabolic balance) to prevent you die.
All this high water loss generates several factors, among them the high viscosity of the blood plasma and therefore the slowing in the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the different cells of your organism, reason why there will be less oxygen to continue burning fat and less Nutrients to stimulate muscle recovery after training period.
Keep in mind also that usually when consuming alcohol, people tend to consume less food, so the period of fasting that is generated after training and during the consumption of this or another type of alcoholic beverage after exercise will be prolonged, and therefore the period of malnutrition is also prolonged.
So, if you take into account the above and if you really want to drink an alcoholic drink after training, try drink few beers (a beer can contain 4 to 6 grams of alcohol, although it varies on brand).
Since these contain good amounts of water, complex carbohydrates (which can help you muscle recovery after a strength and / or resistance training routine) and also vitamins especially those of the B complex.
Of course I do not want to imply that a beer is the best to consume in the post-training period, but I understand that sometimes it makes you feel like ypu want to drink a cold one, especially after a high-intensity exercise routine, and more so when This beer or beers are drink along with training partners.
High intensity training Vs. Low or moderate intensity training
We could say that high intensity workouts (to stimulate strength, hypertrophy and / or muscular endurance) are the ones that make yor body suffer the most in terms of muscle recovery when you exceed the consumption of alcoholic beverages (not only in the post-session period of Training) ... and training on low or moderate intensity make your body not to suffer as much at this level ...
... simply because the muscles are not overloaded. But as there is a lower Caloric expenditure, then drinking alcohol after performing moderate intensity exercises, could cause either a person to accumulate excess body fat or that the fat burned during the training session is easily recovered because of this or these alcoholic drinks ... Keeping in mind we are talking about an abuse in the consumption of them.
So try to be in moderation, or do not go drinking a liter of liquor in few seconds or a barrel of beer madly without ceasing after finishing your physical work session.
First study: Eur J Appl Physiol (2017). Effect of alcohol after muscle-damaging resistance exercise on muscle performance and inflammatory capacity in women.
Second: study: Danielle E. Levitt et. To (2016). The effect of post-resistance exercise alcohol ingestion on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated cytokines.