Make no mistake; it goes without saying that the best alcohol strategy would be abstinence for those who are trying to make exercise and getting in shape a part of their life. If booze is a problem, then it makes perfect sense for those people to probably lay off alcohol altogether, but for others, a few sips can be an important part of their fitness journey.
Alcohol doesn’t have to be bad (in moderation). It can really relax people on their scheduled non-gym days when anxiety runs rampant, or it can be an incentive to finish a workout with a drink being a reward. Booze definitely has some bonding qualities going out with people from the gym, but as long as the over under on drinks is kept below 3-4.
What people should know is that when on an exercise program, what you drink is just as important as how you drink. You should always strive to cap the drinks to 2-3 and always remember to secure adequate transportation home, but here are the types of drinks that are less likely to interfere with a weight loss or exercise plan:
What Makes a Solid Alcoholic Drink for Exercise Enthusiasts
There are two main categories that should be taken into account when drinking while not trying to interfere with your exercise plan – calories and alcohol content. You don’t want to take in a ton of calories because, obviously – but you also don’t want to get too hammered, which will increase your chances of having a midnight pizza as well as being too hungover to exercise in the morning.
Healthiest Alcohol Types
Just like pizza can still be healthy depending on the crust, ingredients, and how it’s cooked – some alcohol choices are better than others. Here are the types to focus on:
- Red Wine – Cabernet, merlot, pinot noir, and other types of red wines contain antioxidants that protect cells and polyphenols, which have been shown to be beneficial to heart health. Natural wines are the best of the best as they contain fewer additives.
- Champagne – Toast to a completed workout with a glass of champagne that is better for the brain than the actual body, but that’s a good thing. Phenolic compounds found in champagne boost brain health and reduce the risk of dementia.
- Clear liquors – Booze like vodka, tequila, and gin are lower in calories and sugar, which are metabolized by the body more efficiently. The agave tequila plant increases calcium absorption and improves bone health in research done on mice.
Types of Alcohol to Avoid
Beer has shown to have some advantages if you have one after an intense workout because it does have some muscle recovery benefits. Ultimately though, beer does contain a lot of empty calories, so one or two just one or two days a week is the consumption ceiling.
Some good news is that modern manufacturing methods have made beer healthier than ever before. Beers continually become lower and lower in carbs, berry brews contain some antioxidant properties, and almost every brand has a gluten-free line out now.
Ultimately besides beer, it’s also important to avoid alcohol with sugar in them. This eliminates a lot of sweet drinks and juice mixers, which, to taste, would seem like they’d be healthy.
Healthy Alcohol Summary
Once again, the best strategy regarding alcohol and exercise is that avoiding booze is the #1 approach. That being said, having a drink every now and then doesn’t put a dent in your fitness goals and, in fact, can help push them along.
Alcohol relieves anxiety, can help you bond with gym mates, and in some cases have muscle recovery and antioxidant benefits. It’s not important enough to stress moderation, though. The reason people can have a drink or two after a workout is because they have a drink or two – and don’t overdo it.