The Big Stupid Ride and post-ride beer timing

Read the BSR workout of the week ( Workout of the Week: The Big Stupid Ride - Fast Talk Laboratories ) and one of the suggested articles was about alcohol and recovery etc. ( Will Giving Up Alcohol Make You a Better Athlete? - Fast Talk Laboratories ) which got me thinking…how do post-ride beers tie into this?

I’ve been wearing my garmin at night and it is painfully obvious when I have even a couple beers late in the day - HRV tanks, sleep quality is wrecked, body battery might get up to 60 overnight - but doing a BSR without a couple beers afterwards is almost unthinkable.

So what’s the best way to time these beers? Is there a window after finishing the ride where it’s best to avoid alcohol, or is it better to get it out of the way ASAP? Let’s assume that short-term (i.e. next day) recovery is irrelevant - the following day’s ride (if any) won’t be any higher than recovery intensity - but long-term gains are still important. Would it be best to have the beers immediately post-ride so as to give more time to clear the alcohol and impact sleep less, or better to wait an hour or two, eat some good carbs+protein, take a shower, put stuff away, and generally delay interfering with whatever’s going on hormonally in that post-ride window?

I wasn’t sure which forum this fit in best…if any admins think it’s appropriate elsewhere (workouts? nutrition?) please do move it.

The title caught my eye, and I’ll my plan for mid-June this year. A sunrise to sunset ride with the goal to get to 300km. Being close to the winter solstice, day light hours will be restricted to 10.5 hours.

I have never gone beyond 232km but have done 4x 4-day tours, where day 1 ranged from 228-232km. That was followed by 160km, 180km and then a race over 106km.

I know that there’s a big difference between 230km and 300km, but this time there will not be any riding after the big day. I’ve toyed with a circular route, a clover-leaf shape route, and a crazy 57-lap route around a local lake.

I have some fellow crazies to join me, and I also need to see how it fits in with my base training for the Q3 and Q4 events.

It certainly matches the BIG and STUPiD part of BSR.

The general rule is that 1 drink (beer: 0,2 liters) has no effect.
More drinks interfere with sleep → reduced recovery
Of course, it depends on your alcohol tolerance how bad it is.
Alcohol free beer is great, because is actually quite a good recovery drink.

Nils van der Poel proved that even Olypic athelets can drink beer in the weekend and still win gold.

I used to regularly drink a beer after run workouts, sometimes just after that first glass of recovery water or 1-2 hours later. I cannot deny that a post-workout beer feels awesome!

But Chris Case convinced me that any alcohol after a workout is a bad idea because of the suppression of muscle protein synthesis, which the study shows has an impact even after just one serving. Google “muscle protein synthesis and alcohol” and you’ll find some articles and a lot of Forum threads on muscle building/weight lifting websites that are really concerned with this impact.

I’m in my mid-40s and weigh about 139 lbs so I generally want to keep/add muscle, so any MPS suppression early in the season is going to catch up with me late in the season.

So now I do not drink after key workouts. I feel I work too hard to earn the gains so I don’t want to lose them. After a Z1/Z2 workout, I might have one drink (generally a beer, which seems to be gentler on me than sulfite-heavy wine or dark liquors), but I will try to separate it from the workout by 2-4 hours and preferably after a meal that contains some protein to help MPS.

To your question, “What’s the best way to time these beers?” I would say, “Late in the season when it doesn’t matter very much.”

Dave Trendler, untalented endurance drinker athlete

This study is the main one I think people refer to when saying alcohol kills gainz: Alcohol Ingestion Impairs Maximal Post-Exercise Rates of Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following a Single Bout of Concurrent Training - PMC

In it they saw a 24% decrease of muscle protein synthesis after exercise for a protein+alcohol group compared to just protein, but they used 1.5g/kg for the alcohol dose - equivalent to eight standard drinks for a 75kg subject. I’m not talking about getting blitzed after a big stupid ride, maybe 0.75g/kg at the high end.

Is there any research that looks at a more moderate dose? Is MPS even the best marker to look at for making gains in endurance cycling? Obviously any amount of ethanol is going to be worse than none but I suspect it’s linear (which would be 12% hit to MPS) as a worst case, or potentially milder for lighter doses.

Of course impacts to sleep are potentially huge - I’ve seen major sleep cycle disruptions from only 0.4g/kg at 2-3 hours prior to bed - which I imagine is where the real damage will be done.