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The Final Word on Drinking Beer After a Hard Workout

Beer has carbs, electrolytes, and plant-based nutrients. Does that make it a viable recovery beverage?
Dude chugging beer.

We've heard that chugging chocolate milk after a hard workout is a great way to help your body recover, but beer?

According to NPR, Lean Machine Brands, Inc. announced that it intends to release a new low-calorie, protein packed "muscle beer" marketed to fit guys. It begs the question: Could a real, alcoholic brew serve as a viable workout recovery drink? The answer may surprise you.  

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Putting your body through the strains of exercise depletes a lot of important vitamins, hydrating electrolytes, and carbs. That's why athletes chug Gatorade or coconut water and eat fruit after an intense workout—they're all full of good sugar and nutrients that replenish your body. Beer's got some of that good stuff, too: sugary carbs, a hint of electrolytes, and a few helpful plant-based nutrients that come from the hops, yeast, and barley. But the main drawback—and it's a doozy—is that alcohol pretty much screws up everything.

Not only does alcohol leave you dehydrated, but a recent study suggests that it can also hinder your muscle recovery after exercise. So in order for you to get any of the good stuff out of beer, you'd have to take out the one big ingredient that makes it enjoyable in the first place. (Of course, this is why Lean Machine has been brewed to contain about 0.5% alcohol, which makes it about as strong as a rotten banana.)

The verdict? We wouldn't recommend getting sloshed after every mile you've run, but having a beer after a vigorous workout might not be as bad for you as you'd think. A little moderation and a ton of water could be the perfect reward for yourself after a particularly grueling session. And if you're the kind of guy who loves to have his cake and eat it too, then we've got a few tasty craft beers that won't wreck your body.

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