Does new research finally answer the age-old question? To mix booze and exercise or not to mix booze and exercise. Turns out, it depends.
It is no secret that exercise effects hormone levels. While many of these changes are beneficial, such as a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, some of these hormonal changes can prolong recovery. A new study shows that changes in hormone levels brought about by prolonged endurance activities can deplete the endocrine system for longer than originally thought. This new research shows that it may take up to 72 hours for cortisol and testosterone levels to return to normal after strenuous endurance exercise. Looking to speed up your recovery? This study published in Physiology & Behavior suggests that social interaction, such as attending happy hour with friends, may help balance hormones faster and speed up recovery. However, when it comes to recovery, how much you drink and the type of exercise you do matters.
Watch How Much You Drink
While the social interaction that comes with happy may speed recovery from endurance exercise, drinking too much will hinder recovery. Limit yourself to 1-2 drinks and be sure to drink plenty of H2O between cocktails.
The Type of Exercise Matters
Happy hour may help you recover from a long endurance session but may not be a good idea post strength training. A 2014 study showed that alcohol consumption can hinder protein synthesis limiting any gains. If you still want to hit happy hour post strength training, be sure to eat quality protein before drinking to support new protein synthesis. To minimize negative effects, limit yourself to 1-2 drinks.
What You Drink is Important
If you decide to hit happy hour post workout, limit sugary drinks. Excess sugar will quickly negate any progress made in the gym. Stick to light beer or spirits mixed with seltzer, both are hydrating and can help replace fluids lost during exercise. Looking to take your post workout cocktail up a notch? Try this healthy Coconut Water Cocktail from Pressed Juicery.
When it comes to post workout happy hour, plan your workout accordingly. It is better to hit happy hour after an endurance session then a weight training session. Limit the number of drinks, drink plenty of water, and enjoy hydrating, low sugar cocktails.
Tempted by all the delicious fried food offered at happy hour? Don’t undo all your hard work at the gym. Try one of these healthier, Paleo versions of your favorite bar food instead. If you got a little carried away at happy hour and are feeling it the next morning (it happens to the best of us) try an All Natural Hangover Cure. You will be feeling better in no time.