In the annals of bro science, there is a commandment that puts millions of guys every day into a predicament: Thou shalt not drink booze after a workout, lest your gains be ruined.
You’re torn: You want to work out and get shredded, but guzzling beer and ripping tequila shots sounds appealing as well. Swarms of fitness influencers proclaim that if you want an elite physique, you have to cut alcohol out of your diet. This may be partially true, but if you’re worried that alcohol and athletics can’t coexist, think again.
LeBron James is an outspoken wine enthusiast, and Usain Bolt—the fastest human being ever on Earth—is a beer guy. If these two superhumans can drink and still dominate their respective sports, boozing occasionally won’t wreck your body.
But before you slam a margarita right after leg day, we need to share some crucial intel about the relationship between drinking alcohol and building muscle. Hint: It’s complicated.
Craving Booze After a Workout? You’re Not Alone
Common sense would suggest that exercising would prompt people to eat clean and stay away from stuff that slows down their progress. But as it turns out, the opposite is true: People who are physically active tend to drink more than people who aren’t (according to this study from the University of Miami).
All those do-gooders at the gym who claim they’re off the sauce? Yeah, some of them are lying.
There are numerous explanations as to why fitness folks like to drink. Alcohol (temporarily) relieves stress, activates the same reward mechanisms in the brain, and can help teammates bond.
But there’s a price to pay.
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Muscles?