Want To Become A Healthy Work Week Foodie? Sign up and get free, weekly recipes!GET IT NOW


“Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.” Or so Arnie would have you believe.  Have you ever felt deprived that yes you have your healthy and fit life style but you are banned from certain joys of life your friends frivolously enjoy?

Well I can personally relate to that because when I decided to fix my body and health long time ago I did not even have a look at a beer nor wine for one whole long year. Until my body really came back from the unhealthy and broken body land. However once I regained control over my bad habits, got back my body and health I started to miss some of the previous joys like an occasional cold draft beer with friends. Especially on hot summer day and especially in Prague where Pilsner Urquell is the king by day and night. So the question was whether I should really completely avoid beer if I wanted to live healthy and keep the hard-gained six-pack. The nutritional know-it-alls at Examine.com have the answer.

To answer this question, let’s first consider the markers researchers can measure. When we exercise, our muscles get damaged and depleted of oxygen, sending a multitude of signals throughout the body. Over the next day or two, our muscles react by repairing the damage, becoming stronger and bigger. One way this response can be measured is by looking at the rate of muscle protein synthesis. The other notable marker is the anabolic hormone: testosterone. As for the third marker, performance, it’s the least liked by scientists, who find it hard to pour into a beaker—which is to say, it’s hard to measure accurately.

The Science Behind Your Post-Workout Beer

The most relevant human study observed that heavy drinking post-exercise (about 7 beers for a 150-pound person) suppressed muscle protein synthesis. This suppressive effect, which occurred even when the alcohol was consumed after 25 grams of protein. Showing even protein’s anabolic effect can’t overcome heavy drinking.

The current evidence indicates that heavy drinking impairs workout recovery and muscle growth; but what about a single beer after exercise? While quality studies on the topic are lacking, what limited evidence is available suggests that a couple of drinks won’t undo your hard work at the gym.

Alcohol and Testosterone

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone; the more you have, the easier (and faster) it is to build muscle mass.

So, does beer affect testosterone levels? Yes, both positively and negatively. An increase in circulating testosterone, of about 17%, has been seen in both young men who drank a little (about 2 beers for a 150-pound person). However, such a small boost—more variation is seen from day to day or even within the same day—is unlikely to help boost your muscle growth.

On the other hand, heavy drinking (the aforementioned 7 beers for a 150-pound person) has been found to suppress testosterone. Furthermore, even moderate amounts of alcohol (3 or 4 beers) have been shown to mildly suppress testosterone when ingested daily for at least three weeks. And that could be enough to undo some of your hard work in the weight room.

A Bitter Hop(e)

One recent study found that isohumulones, the main compounds responsible for the bitter taste we attribute to hops, might support weight loss. This study only investigated the fat-burning potential of isolated isohumulones, however, not of beer as a whole, so don’t start downing pints in the hope of shedding pounds—especially since the calories in alcohol can quickly add up! Yet, after this study, one cannot help speculating that IPAs, with their high hop content, might have a slight advantage over other beers.

The Big Picture

Right now the evidence suggests that if beer has an effect, good or bad, this effect is very small—subtle enough that if a perfect pint of your favorite beer is your favourite way to unwind after a hard workout, then you can drink guilt-free. Unless you start soaking your clothes in it or have a habit of binge drinking, one beer isn’t likely to hurt, or help, your workout.

Examine.com is an independent and unbiased source on nutrition and supplements

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up, it's free!


Sign up for free Weekly Recipes to get you started on your path to preparing, cooking and eating healthier meals during your busy work week!

Tastes Great!
Min. Sugar
Healthy Fats
Nutrient Dense
Complex Protein
%d bloggers like this: