November 06, 2007

Beer for Post-Workout Hydration?

How did Cranky Fitness miss this story over the weekend?

Good thing Martha at That's Fit caught it, because Crabby hates to let news like this go by unnoticed. After all, it's her favorite kind of study: when something she likes turns out to be good for you in a completely unexpected way! And this time, it's really unexpected:

Beer consumed after an intense workout can actually help you rehydrate.

Which is of course the exact opposite of everything you've ever read. Researchers think the sugars, salts and carbonation in the beer assist with fluid absorption.

The beer study comes from Granada University in Spain, where a Sadistic Med School Professor apparently made 25 volunteers run on a treadmill in 104 degree heat until they were about to die but not quite. (Killing study participants is frowned upon, even in med schools where the professors could make great use of the cadavers for educational purposes).

Anyway, the researchers took some measurements from the nearly-dead participants, including their hydration levels, "concentrationability," and motor skills. (Is concentrationability even a word? Well, sure it is--at least after a few beers). Then they gave half of 'em a pint of Spanish lager, while the rest got water. Next, everyone got to drink as much water as they wanted.

And guess what? Those who got beer had a "slightly better rehydration effect."

The Daily Mail article also mentions that "sensible drinking of one or two units (of beer) a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, dementia, diabetes and Parkinson's disease." And that beer ingredients are a "rich source of vitamins and minerals."

Wait, um who's reminding us of this again? Oh. "A spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale."

But that's okay--Crabby's pretty sure she's read Real Studies that said the same good things about beer before. She's just too lazy busy doing important things to go look them up. Anyway, it seems totally reasonable to believe good things about beer, in moderation, because beer is so darn likable. (Especially if it's Real Beer with actual Beer Flavor and not the mass-marketed watery excuse for beer that we often settle for in this country).

And yet... Crabby probably won't be cracking open a Spanish Lager or even a Fat Tire Amber Ale after her next work out.

Why not?

Well, for one...

Oh wait, lets make a list. Too many boring paragraphs, it definitely time for a list!

  1. Crabby usually works out sometime between 7:00-9:00 a.m.--and beer on her breath at that hour might alarm her neighbors.

  2. Beer doesn't taste as refreshing to her as water, perhaps because she's been told for years and years that beer will dehydrate her and she believed it and now her thirst has been trained to not even bother to go there when she's thirsty 'cause she's not getting any.

  3. Crabby hates being overheated and doesn't work out to the point of exhaustion, so her rehydration needs are pretty modest. Even those gatorade-y things are a total waste of calories as far as she's concerned.

  4. Crabby has decided after years of taking studies at face value that often the ones that come up with suprising new information completely out of the blue often turn out to be wrong. So she'll wait awhile before taking this one too seriously.

But what about you folks? Plan to chug a brewski after your next workout? Or what sort of beverages do you tend to drink, whether dehydrated or just sippin' for pleasure?

(Note: Crabby is aware that in trying to make some additions she has broken her blogroll. She will try to fix it as soon as she has a chance!)


  1. Sounds like it wouldn't just replace your fluid levels--you'd replace most of your workout burn with empty beer calories. Hmm. I'll stick with water or fresh-squeezed lemonade with Splenda.

  2. This does not surprise the Bag Lady one little bit...ranchers drink beer after every cattle drive, fencing project, and at every dance. We have always been aware of the re-hydration benefits of this beverage. (In fact, the Bag Lady has known some ranchers to drink it for breakfast - especially after a hard night of re-hydration the night before...)

  3. Excellent news. Beer is good and good for you. Sadly, I haven't been able to tolerate much alcohol since the Great Liver Rebellion of '91, so I'll stick to water for the most part. Umm, you may wish to look deeply into what Gatorade has to offer, especially the orange stuff. It's not so healthy.

  4. I hate beer, so no chance of me changing my post-workout habits! Besides, if I've done a really hard workout, like a long run, I don't drink plain water anyway. My tipple of choice is Amino Vital, which has bajillions of amino acids and electrolytes, followed up by a yogurt drink for additional protein, plus carbs and calcium.

    Can BEER provide protein, calcium and all my body's electrolytes? Ha! I think not!

    Plus, beer just tastes nasty to me. No offense to beer-lovers, but I just don't get it.

  5. Though it's good for what ales ya, ;) I've never learned to like beer. I try it every now and then and reject it for another year or so. So it's water for me, for re-hydration.

  6. No beer for this girl -- after 22 years of sobriety, let's just say it would be a bad thing!

    Studies that find NEW AMAZING THINGS really are to be taken with a grain of (french grey sea) salt, like you said.

  7. Best. Study. Ever.

    As if I needed an excuse to drink beer after I run.

  8. I admit I look forward just a little bit more to the races that serve beer at the end. If it's in a bottle or can, I'll take it home and drink it in a hot bath. Forget all about those sore muscles!

  9. Darn my alcohol intolerance!

    I liked the chocolate milk study better, personally, but I'm just a kid at heart.

  10. Well but I wonder if Chardonnay wouldn't work just as well...If I can ever get down to the gym again I'll check it out.

  11. definitely no beer for me, although I remember that was offered along the course of marathons that I have run. (can you imagine drinking beer while running? Ugh!)

    I prefer water.
    and diet pepsi, unfortunately!


  12. Melissa - I will volunteer for the wine study! *raises hand*

    Question for the peanut gallery - I am not feeling very well..not terrible, but not great. Should I work out tonight as planned, or go home and pass out?

  13. Bag Lady, you've got a point - this study finally explain why all the men in my life require so much beer for any and all yardwork, mechanical work and home renovations in order for it to get done.

  14. Exactly the Bag Lady's point, Sarah! Men need a great deal of hydration to get anything done!

  15. Truly handy for those Chicago nights when it's so cold that you have to sprint from bar to bar.

  16. That is definitely a new use for beer. But my poison of choice is diet soda - and I've even given that up! So it will be water for me. Of course, who exercises to the point of needing hydration anyway? I avoid it has much as possible.

  17. Water all the way for re-hydrating, Coke for anything else, on occasion will drink margaritas or vodka, Bailey's or Godet.

    Can't stand beer, never have been able to drink it.

  18. Hm, my question is whether hard cider counts as beer...I don't really care for beer but am known to drink hard cider. But then, since regular cider seems to have no re-hydration effect for me, I doubt hard cider would...I usually drink water after (and during) a workout. I used to drink gatorade and powerade under I realized how much sugar and chemicals they had.

    Missicat - it really depends what you mean by "not feeling well." If you feel like you're getting a cold, or have a stomach ache, I'd skip the workout (I sure as hell wish I could, as I feel the Mother of All Colds approaching, but that's the problem with being an instructor...). But if you're just kind of feeling blah, unmotivated, or have muscle aches (not pain), then a workout could be good for you.

  19. I agree wholeheartedly with your four points Crabby. But it doesn't really matter as I don't drink anyway...

    (missicat, ditto to Lethhological Reader. virus sick=stay home. meh= go workout!)

  20. Loving all the comments, and sorry for (a) breaking the blogroll and (b) finding myself a bit swamped with house stuff.

    Our house just had it's own little colonoscopy and was diagnosed with broken sewer pipes. Hooray, what a fun way to spend 5K! Getting ready to sell an 80 year old house is a pain. The list of things we need to get fixed up keeps gettin' longer. (I think there's a health & fitness analogy there but I'll spare y'all.)

    Anyway, interesting that so few of you are beer drinkers! I'm not a big fan of cans or bottles, even the fancy stuff, but when I'm out somewhere they have great beers on on tap, I've found they're quite tasty! (Then I do my exercise afterwards--to the Ladies room, over and over. I don't care what the study says, beer is definitely a diuretic!)

    Also, Cranky Fitness still accepting poetry/haiku submissions (see previous post) if anyone wants to email more of them!

  21. I like beer but I really couldn't stomach it right after a workout. Plus, like you, I work out in the morning so it might seem a bit strange :P
    Glad you enjoyed the post!

  22. I will not be trying this for one reason:

    I do not exercise.

    Once again, I am a cat.

    Occasionally, I will go sock hunting or chase Sadie around the house for sniffing my behind, but I only exert myself for short periods of time.

    My purpose is to be worshipped.

    Think Princess Di or Grace. Karen mentioned Imelda Marcos, but I don't own any black bras.


    -- P

  23. Crabby, I think you should blog more about your adventures in house hunting/selling! Or at least send them in a plain unmarked email to your kind reader. I'm sorry your pipes need cleaning, but honestly, once we get over the 80 year mark we should probably expect that sort o' thing.

    mcenxm - a brand of over-the-counter medication guaranteed to ... um, well... clean your pipes, so to speak.

  24. How did I miss this little gem? So glad you shared it! While I don't drink after every run, I do love the following refreshments/rewards after the big runs or races: beer, cookie, diet coke. This just seals it! Ohhhh, I love being right about something.

  25. woo-hoo! YAY!!

    Of course, this is something paintball players have known all along.

    I knew there had to be a reason after a long day in the sun, playing softball, paintball or just hanging out on the beach, a beer tastes so good... our bodies know what's good for us. Sometimes we just don't listen!

  26. [Beer has bubbles. I don't drink things with bubbles.]

    "Our house just had it's own little colonoscopy and was diagnosed with broken sewer pipes. Hooray, what a fun way to spend 5K! Getting ready to sell an 80 year old house is a pain. "

    Mine is only 75, and I replaced the main drain (a mere 1K) a year after I bought it and all the original galvanized intake pipe three years ago (that was 5K). Does that mean I get a free pass? Ask my furnace after its medical tomorrow.
    I'm not sure I agree with Mary that you should blog more about house adventures--on the one hand I want to feel that I'm not in this pit of horror alone; on the other hand, I don't want you to scare me.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  27. Well Mary Anne, you and Mary and I can just compare house buying/selling notes down in the comments section whenever you feel brave enough. Hope your furnace does all right at its check up!

    And Dawn, paintball and beer sounds like a dangerous, if amusing combination depending on what order you go in.

    Penelope, you in a black bra would be definitely worth posting a picture of if you can find one small enough!

  28. i guess if you're going to drink beer, after a workout is the best time to do it - it's when you need to refuel your glycogen or whatever. still, won't be "trying this at home". your commentary made me laugh out loud. hilarious!

  29. Unfortunately, alcohol also slows down your metabolism and increases your body's tendency to store calories as fat. In addition, it lowers testosterone levels, which is counterproductive if you're a guy (or girl) trying to put on muscle.


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)