One of the biggest misconceptions in the fitness world is that most gym-goers avoid drinking alcohol after a workout.
Because of their eagerness to stay fit, you would think that they quickly turn down any offer to drink. But based on a research conducted by the University of Miami, those who exercise drink alcohol more often than those who are not.
In fact, other types of alcoholic drinks are now incorporated in some forms of exercises. Beer yoga and wine yoga are now a thing in the fitness trend while beer serves as a reward for obstacle course finishers.
While there are instances that booze and exercise can be a good pair, there are various reasons why should avoid drinking alcohol after a workout. Here is why you should not go from sweat session with your tank tops or tunic tops to drink session real quick.
Booze’s Body Impact
We can thank our liver for absorbing and metabolising toxins from this beverage. But it is a different story when it enters other organs such as the stomach.
According to the expert exercise physiologist Jim White, drinking alcohol after a workout will force the body to perform other duties rather than focusing on repairing the muscles.
“When you drink, your body expends energy on detoxifying itself rather than on more beneficial processes such as muscle repair, healing, and growth.” (transcript from greatist.com)
Meanwhile, clinical psychologist John Mayer stressed that it has a more alarming impact than delaying the muscle rebuild. According to him, alcohol also targets the blood, brain, and sleep pattern.
“Alcohol thins the blood, kills brain cells, may have negative cardiovascular implications, and interferes with sleep—let’s not forget that sleep is critical in recovery.”
However, some people cannot resist the desire to booze it up even after intense training. In this case, the interval between your sweat session and drink session would be crucial.
The Waiting Game
Experts claim that going straight for a drink after a workout can turn your hard work into waste. So it is best to play the waiting game before sitting around the table with your buddies.
As the body shifts to the recovery phase, you should take a minimum of one hour rest. This is to help the body refuel and replenish the nutrients and electrolytes.
“The most critical period for recovery is within a one-hour period after exercise. So you should avoid drinking within this window and focus on replenishing electrolytes, rehydrating, and fueling correctly,” said Mayer.
While one hour is the minimum, he said that six hours of recovery time is the ideal.
“If you can, it’s best to wait at least six hours. If you know you’re going to go out and drink on Saturday evening, try to get your workout done by noon.”
Does this mean you need to abandon alcohol completely? It depends on your goals, whether you want to win a competition or stay in shape. No matter how much time you wait before drinking alcohol after a workout, the serving size is the biggest thing to worry about.