Alcohol as a recovery drink? Think again.

So many times we have heard that having a beer after an intense workout is a great way to ‘carb up’ and therefore recover well from the workout. However, research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning showed that men who drank alcohol after intense training (6 sets of 80 percent of 1RM squats) experienced a decreased uptake of testosterone to the muscle tissue. Researchers think that the alcohol creates a poor hormonal environment for muscle building and fat loss. Therefore, drinking after an intense workout will compromise muscle and strength development in the long run and blunt fat loss. There is still much research to be done to explain why alcohol impacts us hormonally, but some findings show that even small amounts of alcohol increases aromatization in which testosterone is turned into estrogen. Therefore habitually drinking small doses of alcohol may affect strength and power generation ability. Sooo, what do we do with this information? Well, it depends on your goals. If your goals are to be a professional body builder/bikini competitor or a Games athlete, it’s definitely time to cut out the alcohol. However, for the rest of us, this information is important for a couple of reasons: don’t throw all of your hard work to waste by drinking immediately after a workout; also, don’t drink every day – let those testosterone levels reach healthy/normal ranges without being negatively impacted by aromatization. And just in case you think this discussion about testosterone is only for the guys, think again – ladies need healthy levels of testosterone for fat loss and muscle building just as much as the guys do!


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