Wisconsin loves beer. Cheese too of course, but definitely beer. Most of us like our Happy Hours, and I’ve been around long enough to know CFR likes to party once in awhile.

But, is it a bad idea to have drinks after a workout? (I specifically mean CrossFitting, and then drinking. It should go without saying that drinking before/during a CrossFit workout is stupid and dangerous.)

SPOILER ALERT: The answer is going to be it depends.

Let me first run through what I understand to be the main effects of alcohol as they relate to overall fitness:

In summary, drinking after working out can hinder fat loss and muscle gain goals. The extent of these effects can vary based on a ton of things (amount of alcohol, how long after exercise, gender, body composition, which study you look at, etc.). So, I don’t think someone can prescribe a direct formula for you to determine if it’s okay or not. One size doesn’t fit all here.

What I do feel comfortable saying is this — drinking after working out is fine if you’re on track for your goals. If your goal is to be the fittest woman/man on earth then shots of Fireball will probably throw you off course.

If your goal is to lose weight and you’re consistently dropping a pound or two each week with beer in your diet, you’re probably A-OK. If your goal is to PR your front squat but you’ve hit a plateau, maybe experiment with less alcohol for a month and see what happens.

If Happy Hour with friends is worth a few muscle fibers and some sleep, go to Happy Hour. Exercise is supposed to make you happier, so don’t let it get in the way of that. At the same time, I probably wouldn’t start substituting water for beer in your post-workout protein shakes — even if it makes you happy. There’s got to be a line somewhere.

If you set goals, track their progress, and adjust as needed, this type of question will be easy for you to answer (also if booze was healthy — that would make this particular decision a lot easier).

*Disclaimer: None of the above took into consideration the disease of alcoholism. An alcoholic would have a different set of rules that I’m not qualified to write about. This article was not written with them in mind. Also, if you’re under 21, you should obey they law. This isn’t an article for you either.
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