This could be good news for those fitness and beer enthusiasts. Canadian company Vampt announced that it plans to release an after-workout beer called Lean Machine, marketed as a “Recovery Ale.” The gluten-free beer contains 7 vitamins, 7 grams of protein and 77 calories per serving — plus 3.2 percent alcohol by volume (and at a drastically reduced 0.5 percent ABV in Canada due to alcohol regulations). It’s supposedly enriched with nutrients, antioxidants and electrolytes to help the body recover after a workout.
Vampt founder Ian Toews wanted to create a beverage that aligns with the active lifestyles of young beer lovers, while promoting responsible drinking.
“We just thought that maybe we could do something that would support a drinker, make it still socially fun, and help them accomplish what needs to be accomplished after an aggressive workout,” he says.
Whenever you workout, you use up a lot of your body’s vitamins, hydrating electrolytes, and carbs. That’s why athletes turn to a sports drink like Gatorade or coconut water after a workout – they’re all full of good sugar and nutrients that replenish your body and provide you with more energy. Beer also has some of that good stuff too: sugary carbs, electrolytes, and natural ingredients like yeast, hops, and barley that you don’t get in sports drinks. Nevertheless, the main drawback is that the alcohol basically screws up everything. Alcohol consumption can have devastating effects on your overall health and muscle building efforts. For example, alcohol can cause serious dehydration, decrease protein synthesis and testosterone levels while negatively impacting sleep cycles, among many more health risks.
However, it should be noted that “beer” and “alcohol” are not synonyms, and that’s where Lean Machine comes in. Beer can be stripped of most of its alcohol while you can still get the natural ingredients from the beer itself.
According to a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine and Exercise Metabolism, beer can overcome its dehydrating effects by increasing electrolyte content.
Scientists found that if you lower the alcohol and add extra salt, it could hydrate athletes faster than if they just drank a regular beer.
In 2011, researchers at a German university examined distance runners who drank two to three pints of non-alcoholic beer per day. The results of the study found that those runners experienced less inflammation and fewer incidences of upper-respiratory infections than a group who drank the same volume of alcoholic beer.
The researchers believed that the plant-based polyphenols found in beer support the immune system but that the alcohol in regular beer might cancel out those benefits.
There was also a study out of Spain that found that post-workout beer helps athletes rehydrate faster than plain water. Subjects were given either two pints of beer or water after a vigorous workout, then allowed to drink as much water as they wanted. When they had their hydration levels examined, the beer group came out slightly ahead of the water-only group.
The results showed that although water may be our most abundant hydration source, it’s not necessarily the most effective one. Sodium, potassium, and other substances commonly found in sports drinks (and, to a lesser extent, beer) open pathways that force extra water across the intestinal wall before it has a chance to empty into the bladder.
The study suggests that the sugars and salts in the beer helped transport more of the water that followed. Without that extra water, it’s most likely that the dehydrating properties of alcohol would have won out.
In theory, Lean Machine could actually be a decent recovery option. For beer to be a good sports drink, you’ll have to lose most of the alcohol. Since it’s a beer stripped of most of its alcohol and fortified with the stuff you’d find in a sports drink, it certainly has its benefits.
Muscle Prodigy’s Take: Lean Machine has relatively small amounts of alcohol for being an actual beer, especially in Canada where it’s basically non-alcoholic. Therefore, the alcohol content shouldn’t have much negative effect on your post-workout gains. You also will get extra natural ingredients not found elsewhere so that’s definitely a positive going with the beer. Still, the thought of alcohol (no matter how small) in my body after my workout isn’t something I should even worry about. I’ll just stick with this proven post-workout meal: Whey protein mixed in water with two tablespoons of honey. Whey protein is obviously the protein of choice after your workout. Honey is the perfect post-workout carb since it’s highest on the glycemic index and will give you that necessary insulin spike much faster. You want simple sugars, especially honey, because your body can quickly convert it into glucose, a necessary ingredient for post-workout growth and recovery. Lean Machine has only 7 grams of protein. You should aim for about 30 grams of protein right after your workout; it’s easier and more efficient to get that from whey protein powder. Beer for after a workout? Na, not for me. I’ll stay with the traditional whey protein and honey. It’s worked for me so why change it? I’ll have a few beers on the weekend when I’m out with my friends. That’s enough for me.
The following graphic below is shown on Lean Machine’s website. So the question remains: Should you add beer to your post-workout plans or is this just really a marketing gimmick? It remains to be seen.