I noticed it several times that when I drink beer (even one bottle) after some heavy workout, the next day my muscles are more stiff than other times, and not the same way... Is it because that lactate and NADH levels are raised both due to the anaerobic training and alcohol metabolism?

  • $\begingroup$ So acute effects rather than chronic? $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, acute effects. $\endgroup$
    – zeller
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ Noticed twice the same effect with two glasses of wine drunk the day before the workout $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ What does "and not the same way" mean? $\endgroup$
    – kmm
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 21:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can't describe it properly but maybe less sharp and less localized, also there is no intense pain when the muscles are moved after some period of rest. I'm talking about my thighs anyway (and cycling). $\endgroup$
    – zeller
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


There are a few studies around related to this. One particular study(1) suggests that:

  • Neural drive is decreased following eccentric exercise leading to a reduction in muscle force. Alcohol may further reduce the already depressed neural drive.

  • Alcohol also has been shown to affect the innate immune system by altering the activity of a number of inflammatory proteins. A lot of these play "important roles in the damage and repair processes occurring after eccentric exercise". Alterations in these proteins may affect muscle recovery post-exercise.(2).

The second point is maybe what's relevant to the question at hand? They say more research is required though.

Edit (expanded discussion per comment below). The study itself was carried out using 8 (+/-1) standard drinks immediately following a workout. The article(1) itself doesn't hypothesise the point made earlier regarding inflammatory proteins, it rather points to earlier research(2), to suggest this may be the case.

Whether a dose-dependant relationship exists, or the magnitude of it with regards to the alteration in inflammatory proteins is not discussed (except in the context of chronic versus acute alcohol use). Just that the possible effect on inflammatory proteins exists which may affect muscle recovery post-exercise.

  1. Barnes, et al. Acute alcohol consumption aggravates the decline in muscle performance following strenuous eccentric exercise. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2010. 1:189-93.

Edit 2. Szabo. Consequences of alcohol consumption on host defence. Alcohol Alcohol. 1999. 1999:830–841.

  • $\begingroup$ The reference is not relevant - the title says "acute" but the question refers to "even just one beer" $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah David, acute as in immediate effects as opposed to chronic or long term effects. $\endgroup$
    – Zoidberg
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I meant to write this in the above comment. Acute in this context - medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2133 $\endgroup$
    – Zoidberg
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 4:55

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