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Beer after exercise?

I get this question sometimes and more people have thought about it because there are some scientific studies that address the issue. So is it good or bad to have a beer after exercise?

After exercise, we need carbohydrates and protein. If we have lost some fluids, we need to hydrate and get some salts.

Beer contains liquid and carbohydrates. Beer contains about 3 grams of carbohydrates/100 grams (half a litre contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates). Beers with a lower alcohol content are slightly higher in carbohydrate content. We can compare it with other drinks:

  • milk which has 4-5 grams of carbohydrates/100 grams,

  • juice has 9 grams of carbohydrates/100 grams

  • soft drinks has 10 grams/100 grams.

(Of course, we can also choose to eat the carbohydrates after training instead of drinking them)

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So the beer helps us to get some carbohydrates and fluids after the training. But beer contains alcohol and the alcohol itself is high in calories, so beer is as high in calories as juice and soft drinks. Milk is more energy-dense than beer because it also contains fat and protein.

But if you want to get both carbohydrates and protein, milk-based drinks are good. It's easy to make your own recovery drink by mixing milk, banana and any other fruit or berries you like.

So does it matter for recovery what I consume immediately after training? If it's more than 24 hours until your next workout, there's less of a rush because you'll have time to replenish carbohydrates and protein from food when you eat. If it's less time until your next workout, it's a good idea to fill up on carbohydrates and protein fairly soon so you can start rebuilding your muscle and glycogen stores right away.

And then there's the social side. Getting together for a drink or coffee after training is a great way to get to know each other. And that should not be underestimated! Then it's up to each person what they choose to drink, a beer, a coffee, water, a soft drink/juice, or something else!

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