Living in Boulder, it’s hard to resist the temptation of a local craft brewery after a long hard bike ride, leg day, or Mount Sanitas day hike to chase the ache away. After a hard workout, your body is depleted of carbohydrate stores and needs replenishing before it can build muscle. After refueling with your favorite post-workout protein meal, beer will replenish your glycogen stores and permits protein uptake by cells. One unit of alcohol also dilates blood vessels, which improves circulation and encourages blood flow to peripheral muscles, delivering oxygen and nutrients. We’ve all heard that a glass of red wine per night leads to these benefits, but this is the case with a unit of any alcohol as well.(3) Of course, consuming more than a glass reduces these benefits and sugary cocktails are full of calories. Because beer is made from plant sources, it is jam-packed with antioxidants. Hop plants not only give your beer its flavor, but also add polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients that are linked to decreased risk for degenerative diseases (4) and give a boost to your immune system. (5) Hard workouts can sap your immune system, leading to the cold-like symptoms of overtraining, so giving your immune system a way to recover is key for preventing an obstacle to your workout. Polyphenols are also anti-inflammatory, so instead of popping an ibuprofen you can chase a workout with a Boulder craft beer. (6) Are you thirsty yet? Now you may be asking yourself what is the best way to have your post-workout brew. Drink your beer with a pretzel or other small salty snack to reap the benefits and replenish electrolytes, ensuring your body retains fluids. (7,8) A beer with 3.2% alcohol or lower will also ensure your treat doesn’t dehydrate you (though you should be drinking water after working out anyway). Look for beers that aren’t syrupy, as they will have too much sugar. And what is the absolute best way? The double-recovery punch of relaxing in NormaTec boots at the Fixt Movement with one of our selection of beers in hand is sure to accelerate your recovery. So go on and treat yourself.
Written by Jodie Davis, Integrative Physiology Intern
3 University Health Network. (2008, February 13). One Drink Of Red Wine Or Alcohol Is Relaxing
To Circulation, But Two Drinks Are Stressful. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2016 from
5 Cuevas, Alejandro et al. “Modulation of Immune Function by Polyphenols: Possible Contribution of
Epigenetic Factors.” Nutrients 5.7 (2013): 2314–2332.PMC. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.