The office team just won the big soccer game and everyone is headed to the bar to celebrate. But take care before downing a six-pack of brewskies. Recent research suggests consuming large amounts of alcohol after a strenuous workout can significantly reduce recovery  .
Think Before Drink — Why it Matters
But besides needing a few aspirin and some greasy hangover food after the buzz has worn off, what damage can drinking do to muscles? A recent study found that excess alcohol consumption after resistance training can significantly decrease strength recovery . Participants consumed one gram of alcohol per kilogram of body weight following exercise, or roughly 6 standard drinks for a 175 pound male. Apparently binge drinking could result in more than a nasty headache and some embarrassing photos on Facebook and actually decrease performance in future workouts.
But don’t cancel tomorrow’s pub visit just yet. Another study from the same researchers found no significant performance drop when participants drank only half that amount after exercise . It seems moderate drinking post-workout— up to two drinks for men and one for women— will not significantly harm performance compared to staying dry. Good news to sip by!
The Big Gulp — The Answer/Debate
While more research is still needed to measure the effects of alcohol before and during a workout, for those who wish to partake in a post-workout cold one, the focus should be on keeping quantity in check. Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, among other benefits. Some alcohols— including unfiltered beer— also contain vitamins and proteins that might aid the body on its road to muscle recovery.
So for an after-gym bar crawl, just make sure to keep those orders by the glass (or maybe, ahem, pint) instead of the pitcher.
Matthew McConaughey keeps those muscles intact by keeping his brewsky consumption moderate.