Although the idea of having a pint after workout may seem unthinkable to the "real athletes" and "the fitness purists," there are people who follow such practices. And although they are not necessarily convinced about beneficial influence of these actions, they actually believe it may not be particularly harmful and this way they popularise this urban legend. Well, the question of the dangers of drinking alcohol after training has been presented in a number of various theories, some of which literally send a shiver down your spine, others are surprisingly unconcerned. Neither of them contain even a grain of truth. Yet barbecue season is in full swing, and water doesn't go particularly well with sausages...
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Both prestigious fitness clubs and "garage gyms" have ceased to be merely "shape forges"; now they also serve as "hotbeds for idiotic theories and stupid ideas." For example, during the talks ongoing between a bench for pressing and barbell curl equipment you can hear that "alcohol denaturates muscle proteins." What it really means - no one usually asks in order not to be considered noodle, but the term makes an impression. With the eyes of imagination you immediately see a delicate structure of hard earned muscle painfully weakened by merciless ethanol molecule, which, like a small yet fierce bulldozers tramples and crushes the effects of years of hard training of your chest and biceps. Well, maybe "years" is too strong a word, more like weeks but after all there is a saying that goes: "one bear is like a month of training in vain".
Let the fun begin...
In addition to gym goers who are afraid of aclocatabolism there are also people who believe that all theories about the negative impact of ethanol on your body are one big nonsense created by orthorexic conspiracy. These people openly claim that an evening cocktail or two beers and even all-night party have no impact on your musculature development. Oh, this is just a short break from a "fit lifestyle", they say, that does not matter much. Besides "life is too short to be sober 24 hours a day," and therefore you should just have fun, not bother with superstitions about the dangers of alcohol. And if someone does not agree, you can always tell them about "John" (a random nickname of a gym "guru" that everone knows), who daily devours seven pints (the first right after leaving the gym: to cure the sores), and on weekends he additionally enjoys a couple of shots. At the same time no one is better than "John" in the bench press. Few people also have the chest and shoulders size of a plane wingspan, not to mention the biceps. And what? Impossible? Of ocurse it's possible! In life, the most important is the balance and it must always be in harmony with your own nature. And everybody knows that is the nature of such people...
Who is right?
These points of view on the issue of alcohol influence on your fitness are obviously extremly exaggerated. Nevertheless, such approaches shows how different opinions are there on exactly the same question. Well, somewhere in between of these matters there is a regular gymgoer who trains recreationally and who doesn't care about contrived theories about protein denaturation or how much John can benchpress. He or she just wants to know if drinking a beer on a Friday's barbecue means the sweat they poured out at the gym will be in vain. And that is the question! The question asked by thousands who want to quench their thirs with a beer on a sunny June weekend. Can they be given a blessing? Or even better: can we formulate a satisfactory answer? At this point, unfortunately, there is the only answer that can be given, and you will not like it: "the situation is not that simple."
Bad news first
the bad news is that alcohol, although it does not denaturate muscle protein, has no beneficial influence on anabolic processes, either. Those who don't believe it should ask the unsober gentlemen seen staggering next to the nearby market to flex their biceps. If this argument is not enough, you can always search for more information in literature. Interesting data provides a study in which a group of eight healthy volunteers performed a strength training with resistance followed by an interval training. Immediately after completion of the study and four hours later all participants in the study received:
- either a drink comprising whey protein alone (25 g per serving),
- or alcohol (1.5 g per kg body weight) combined with protein,
- or alcohol in combination with carbohydrates (maltodextrin: 25 g).
The study was designed in such a way so that each of the participants on various attempts received each of these options. Curious for the results?