Is there any time a beer tastes better than after a long bike ride? Despite the strong bond between bikes and beer, we still need to ask the question; What impact does drinking beer after a ride have on our performance?

In today’s journal club we’ll examine a new article about beer and exercise. Let’s jump in.

Wynne, J. L. and P. B. Wilson (2021). “Got Beer? A Systematic Review of Beer and Exercise.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab: 1-13.

We’ll start things off by taking a look at the primary questions this review paper set out to answer.

Review Questions

Performance

How does beer impact performance?

Adaptation

How does beer impact our adaptation to training?

Recovery

How does drinking beer after a ride impact recovery?

Being a review, this article set out to examine the findings of 15 previous studies that evaluated the relationship between beer and exercise.

In this graphic, we see the varying quality of each study included in the review.

In a practical sense, this spectrum of research quality means there is still much to learn about how alcohol may impact cycling performance.

While we won’t get into the details of each study in this review, we will take a closer look at the final one in the list above; Wijnen et al. (2016).

Here are a few highlights from the study:

Ride a Bike

11 physically active males rode for 45m at a moderate intensity until they were mildly dehydrated (lost 1% of their body mass).

Drink Beer

After riding, one of five beverages was consumed to restore 100% of sweat loss. Beverages were either non-alcoholic beer, low-alcohol beer (2%), full-strength beer (5%), sports drink, or water

Assess Fluid Balance

After 1 hour, riders who drank the 5% beer peed significantly more than those who drank the sports drink. After 5 hours those who drank the sports drink retained about twice as much fluid than those who drank 5% beer (they were better hydrated).

So what conclusions were drawn from the Wijnen et al. (2016) study?

In short. Whatever type of beer you choose to drink after a ride, it probably makes the most sense to also rehydrate with water and/or sports drink, in addition to eating other salty foods.

So how do the findings of this single study fit into the larger context of our review article?

That’s where we’re headed next.

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