How Does Beer Affect Your Workout?

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Cold beer might sound tempting after a hard workout, but think twice before opening that bottle. Drinking alcohol can decrease muscle growth and recovery and basically reverse the effects you might have got from your workout. Alcohol may also have negative effects on your hormone levels and muscle strength.

Energy Metabolism

Exercising increases the energy usage of your muscle cells. Your muscles get energy from a molecule called adenosine trisphosphate, also known as ATP. ATP is produced during cellular respiration by harvesting the energy from carbohydrates and fats. Montclair State University states alcohol can disturb your muscles ability to produce ATP by affecting the water balance in your muscle tissue. Without proper levels of ATP, your muscles' ability to contract can be affected. Thus, drinking beer can affect your workout by making your muscle run out of ATP.


Working out will cause micro injuries to your muscle tissue and when these injuries are repaired, muscle growth and increase in strength happens. Muscle growth happens during rest and sleep and involves human growth hormone, HGH. Montclair State University reports that drinking alcohol can decrease the levels of HGH secretion as much as 70 percent. Alcohol also stimulates liver to produce a substance that is toxic to testosterone. Testosterone is another hormone essential for muscle growth and recovery.

Muscle Growth

Consuming beer can cancel out the physiological gains you might have got from your workout, according to Montclair State University. Building muscle tissue, in response to working out, requires your cells to be able to synthesize proteins. Drinking beer for extended periods can decrease the levels of protein synthesis in your muscle cells. This can lead to diminished muscle growth and repair. Short-term alcohol use can have similar effects on your muscle growth.

Strength and Recovery

A study published in "Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport" in 2010 found that consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol increased losses in dynamic and static muscle strength when compared to drinking orange juice. It concluded that you should avoid consuming alcohol-containing beverages if you want to minimize your losses in muscle strength and speed up your recovery.