It’s the study we’ve all been waiting for. Can we drink beer every day for lunch and dinner whilst maximising gains?

Well, as it turns out, there’s been a study…

Molina-Hidalgo et al (2020) conducted a 10-week study to assess the impact of daily alcohol consumption on 83 healthy individuals (non-athletes) participating in HIIT training. Henceforth, the study was called ‘The BEER-HIIT Study’. Lol.

The 83 participants were split into five groups. Each group consisted of 8 men and 8 women:

1) Beer (5.4%) + HIIT.
2) Vodka + HIIT (for those who don’t like beer).
3) Alcohol free Beer + HIIT.
4) Sparkling water + HIIT
5) Control – No booze or HIIT.

For context, the HIIT programme was 2x/week and was performed in the late afternoon and evening.

Monday-Friday: males consumed 330mL of beer for lunch and another 330mL at dinner. Females consumed just the one bottle beer at dinner.

Weekend: They still consumed alcohol, but no more than their daily quota.

Those drinking vodka had the same dose of ethanol as the beer group, so everything is equal.

To determine the effectiveness of the HIIT sessions, they measured V02 max, time to exhaustion, max heart rate and strength.

Long story short, after drinking some brewskies on the daily and doing some HIIT sessions, all groups improved with no significant differences between them. Therefore, this suggests that (!) HIIT makes you fitter and (2) moderate boozing doesn’t negatively impact training adaptation and subsequent improvements in fitness.

Considering pubs will be open soon and beer gardens will no longer be vacant, this shows promising news for many. I would however like to offer some considerations:

1) The dose of alcohol consumed was moderate. Not shit-faced dosages.
2) The participants trained twice per week. What about athletes training twice per day?
3) Strength testing in this study measured grip strength…not exactly going for deadlift PR’s here.
4) The sample size was pretty small. What about the ‘lightweights’ who can’t handle their drink (i.e. me?).
5) What about metrics outside of adaptation? Inflammation, sleep quality, calorie quality etc

That being said, this study does suggest that a drink or two per day won’t ruin your progress. So, keep things moderate and keep your gains.

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