Can Beer Improve Your Athletic Performance?

Young fit man doing bench press with a beer barrel.

Do you look forward to a cold beer after doing sports? For some people, beer after physical exercise is like the “amen” at the end of a prayer. It is full of valuable electrolytes, so it is great after working out, right? The question we want to look at today is whether beer is really a viable alternative to traditional sports drinks?

Close up of two glasses of beer.

Alcohol is a performance killer

Generally speaking, alcoholic beverages are a bad idea before, during and after your training. Especially if you are interested in improving your performance. If you drink alcohol after a strenuous workout, you are not doing your body any favors. In fact, quite the opposite:

  • Alcohol is very dehydrating. The increased urge to urinate also means that valuable salts are lost. This increases the risk of dehydration and makes you more prone to cramping.
  • It interferes with the replenishment of your glycogen stores (carbohydrate stores). Replenishing your energy stores is an important part of recovering after intense physical exercise.
  • It has a negative impact on your sleep rhythm and sleep quality. High-quality sleep is essential for athletes looking to improve their performance. The most important recovery processes of your body take place while you sleep.
  • It weakens your immune system. It causes more of the stress hormone cortisol to be released and inhibits the release of growth hormones.

Thus, one thing is clear: If you are interested in improving your performance, then opening an alcoholic beverage after your workout is the wrong choice. But what truth is there to the widespread belief that non-alcoholic beer is an effective sports drink?

Man running in a tunnel.

3 reasons why non-alcoholic beer is a great sports drink:

1. Non-alcoholic beer is isotonic

The majority of non-alcoholic beers are isotonic. Isotonic beverages have the same osmotic pressure as human blood. This means that the body doesn’t have to balance out their concentrations. The substances are absorbed immediately and enter the bloodstream directly. This allows any water and/or minerals lost during strenuous exercise to be replenished quickly.

2. Yes, it’s true. It is a great source of electrolytes

When you sweat during exercise, your body loses crucial electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium, which regulate your body’s water balance and the electrical activity of muscle and nerve cells. Besides valuable electrolytes, most non-alcoholic beers contain vitamin B2, B6, pantothenic acid (B5) and niacin. They are also known to contain polyphenols (phytochemicals).

3. It improves the health of athletes

Researchers at the Department of Preventive and Rehabilitative Sports Medicine of the Technical University of Munich tested the effects of beer on athletes. One group drank 1 to 1.5 liters of non-alcoholic wheat beer per day. The other group received the same amount of a placebo beverage. What they found was that non-alcoholic wheat beer had a positive effect on the immune system and inflammation.

Athletic man doing push-ups.

Bottom line: Those who prefer to drink a beer after their workout rather than a traditional sports drink can do so without fear, provided that the beer does not contain any alcohol. Non-alcoholic beer is not only an excellent thirst quencher, it is isotonic and contains high levels of electrolytes and essential vitamins. Therefore, it is a great sports drink for providing your body with the nutrients it needs after a hard workout.

Even professional athletes like triathlete Andreas Dreitz take advantage of the positive benefits of non-alcoholic beer: “When I am training or competing, it is all about conquering my weaker self and giving it my best. As a refreshing reward afterwards, I like to treat myself to a cold ERDINGER non-alcoholic beer. Seeing as most of the beverages and gels you consume while exercising are sweet, it is a tasty low-calorie and isotonic alternative.”

On that note, cheers 🙂


Herwig Natmessnig As a former professional athlete (whitewater slalom), Herwig lives for fitness. Whether in competition or just for fun, he can never turn down a challenge. View all posts by Herwig Natmessnig