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Can I Drink Beer and Workout Training Database Advanced Training Tips Can I Drink Beer and Workout

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Can I Drink Beer and Workout

Everyone who works out has an opinion on beer. And of course if you are on steroids there are obvious implications. But if you are training steroid free, can you drink??

The answer is simple - yes and no!!

Here's a couple of interesting articles explaining the "benefits" of moderate beer consumption, and the "problems" with it.....

Beer: Tastes Great, Less Filling - and Good For You?

Bring up the subject of beer in any group of fitness-minded people, and you'll likely get a wide range of opinions, from naysayers who think a cold brew is the work of the devil to enthusiasts who consider it a gift from the gods. Even among the positive responses, however, you're not likely to hear beer defended as a nutritionally rich and healthy beverage.

Yet studies have shown that beer ranks surprisingly high on the nutrition scale, far above other popular beverages such as soda. Of course, the consequences of consuming too much beer are well known, so with a nod to common sense and responsible behavior, let's take a look at the history of this cold, frothy favorite and the reasons why researchers still think beer does a body good.

Beverage of the Gods

The fact that beer is both attacked and praised with religious fervor shouldn't be surprising -- it has quite a religious background. Historians on the subject (and there are many) have traced beer back 6,000 years to the Sumerians, who considered it a divine gift and offered it to their gods.

By the second millennium B.C., the Sumerians were history, so to speak, but the Babylonians had absorbed their culture, and their taste for beer. Records show that they had about 20 different types of brew on tap. And even though there's no mention of anything like a Super Bowl party in Babylon, beer was still a hot commodity and strictly rationed. The typical blue loincloth worker received a happy hour maximum of two liters a day. Civil servants fared better at three liters, while the bureaucrats and high priests unwound after a hard day at the office with five liters.

Fast forward to modern times and we find that those high priests were on to a good thing. Dr. Paul T. Williams of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published a runners health study that raised quite a few eyebrows, and probably a few glasses of beer, too. The study says that combining a vegetarian or low-fat diet with strenuous exercise and moderate alcohol intake (like beer) appears to raise levels of beneficial cholesterol (HDL). The research suggests that distance running and alcohol intake contribute independently, and cooperatively, to the production of HDL in runners.

Now, you wouldn't want to jump to the conclusion that blasting down a six-pack before running a marathon is a good thing. The term moderate means a glass of wine or beer with lunch and dinner, or one to two glasses of beer a day. (If you still feel like running a marathon after that, you're a prime candidate for the next runners health study.)

Another study done by the American Cancer Society claims beer may reduce the risk of death due to cancer. It was the largest ever study on drinking, and almost half a million middle-aged and elderly Americans participated.

Researchers found that people who had a daily drink of wine, beer and even hard liquor had a 20 percent lower overall death rate than non-drinkers. Lead researcher Michael J. Thun, M.D., of the American Cancer Society, said death from cardiovascular disease (heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases) was 30 percent to 40 percent lower in participants who had one drink per day.

If that's not enough, researchers have found that the hops used to make beer do more than just add taste. At the 1998 Society of Toxicology's annual meeting, researchers identified compounds in hops that slowed the growth of cancer cells in test tubes while boosting cancer-fighting enzymes.

It's Good For Your Body?

All of those benefits may sound well and good, but what about beer's nasty reputation for packing on the pounds? It turns out that the term "beer belly" is somewhat misleading. Beer is fat-free, and when compared to other "healthy" drinks, it actually has fewer calories. Typically, a 12-ounce can of beer contains 151 calories - not bad when compared to the 150 calories you typically find in just 8 ounces of fruit juice or soda. Nonetheless, if you're obsessed with calorie counts, here's what a quick survey of 108 mass-produced beers reveals.

LA Anheuser Busch Premium Pilsner comes in way below average with a calorie count of 92 per bottle. That's quite unusual when compared to the 103 calories you'll get in a bottle of Miller Lite. On the opposite end of the scale, a bottle of McEwans Scotch Ale weighs in at a hefty 294 calories. You'd have to eat 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to match that!

Not surprisingly, you'll get fewer calories and more of beer's benefits by drinking a higher quality product. The better beers have more protein, fewer calories, fewer carbs, and more B vitamins. So how can you recognize a high quality beer? Among the mass-produced beers like Anheuser Busch and Coors, price is a good reflection of the cost of their ingredients, so it's as good a place to start as any.

But let's face it, all the trappings of mass production force these manufacturers to look for ways to cut costs. And sadly, additives and preservatives are common to the mass production recipe. Beer doesn't need to be compromised with extra anti-oxidants, foam enhancers, coloring, flavorings and enzymes. Yet the major breweries toss them in and many will substitute cheaper ingredients, such as corn and rice, instead of barley and wheat. So it's doubtful that any Sumerian priest would offer one of our "megabrew" products to their gods.

To really take a step up in quality, try a beer from a microbrewery. You'll get fewer additives and more of the good things in beer, plus a noticeably superior flavor. Many microbreweries strive for awards as a method of advertising. Consequently, the industry as a whole aspires to a higher quality standard.

Enjoying a cold brewski doesn't have to be a religious experience. When consumed in moderation - and when combined with a healthy diet and lots of exercise - beer's benefits are many. So after a long day at work and a vigorous workout at the gym, relax with a healthy dinner and a frosty mug.

Beer at a Glance

In study after study, researchers have linked the consumption of beer or alcohol to numerous health benefits. Here's a quick breakdown of what a cold brew may do for you:

  • Moderate alcohol intake raises the level of HDL, the good cholesterol.

  • It acts as a natural blood thinner, decreasing the risk of coronary thrombosis.

  • Alcohol has been identified as an anti-inflammatory agent; inflamed blood vessels are blamed for plaque build-up that leads to strokes and heart disease.

  • Moderate drinkers have been reported to have fewer cases of rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Alcohol boosts estrogen, and estrogen has been said to reduce heart disease.

  • Researchers think antioxidant compounds in alcoholic drinks offer protection from cell damage in cases of chronic disease.

  • Alcohol has been cited for its ability to combat viruses and bacteria, including H. pylori, a bacterial cause of stomach ulcers; common cold viruses; the hepatitis A virus; and microbes that cause food poisoning, such as salmonella, E. coli and viruses in tainted oysters.

  • The hops used in beer have been said to slow the growth of cancer cells in test tubes and boost a cancer-fighting enzyme.

  • Nine flavonoids identified in beer have slowed the growth of human breast and ovarian cancer cells by 50 percent without side effects on healthy cells.

  • Moderate beer drinking could reduce the risk of developing kidney stones by up to 40 percent with each beer consumed daily, according to Finnish study.

(Copyright FitnessLink, Reprinted with permission.)

 Here's Tom Venutos Answer to the question...

"What do you think about drinking beer on the weekends? How much does it slow your gains down?"

Beer and other alcoholic beverages can be enjoyed on occasion, but only in moderation. My definition of moderation would be one or two drinks (three at the very most) per day and only occasionally (like on the weekends). Some studies have shown protective health benefits from drinking small amounts of alcohol, particularly red wine. However, drinking excessively will definitely interfere with your muscular gains, decrease your energy and contribute to fat storage.

The primary problem with all alcohol, regardless of what form it's in - wine, beer, or liquor - is that the calories add up so quickly. At seven calories per gram, alcohol is the second most calorically dense nutrient behind fat, which contains nine calories per gram. When you're trying to lose body fat, all those extra calories certainly don't help with your fitness endeavors. Alcohol suppresses the body's ability to burn fat. When your liver is metabolizing alcohol, fat burning in the body stops altogether!

Alcohol dehydrates you, it interferes with the absorption of many nutrients and excessive consumption has been linked to health problems such as liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy, abnormal heart rhythms, cancer, decreased resistance to infections, gout and hypoglycemia.

The key in developing a successful nutrition plan for yourself is to find a happy medium that you can live with. You'll have to make some sacrifices to develop a great body, but on the other hand, you shouldn't deprive yourself completely either. Let's face it, eating and drinking are two of life's greatest pleasures. If you try to be too strict by completely abstaining from alcohol, that might not be realistic; it depends on what your goals are and on how serious you are about achieving them. Most people just want to be fit and lean, not necessarily huge and "ripped" like a bodybuilder. If that's the case, then a drink or two won't slow your progress much. However, if you are serious about getting maximum results in the minimum amount of time, or if you are a competitive bodybuilder or athlete, then I would advise you not to drink at all.

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