Food Friday –  Beer while riding?!

Food Friday – Beer while riding?!

The world of cyclists used to be very different. No scheduled meals nor nutrition strategies, but just getting on that bike and ride! In this weeks' Food Friday we take you back in time. Did they really used to drink beer while riding? Read and find out.

The temptation of drinking a cold beer or some nice wine after a tough ride is huge, but there are disadvantages related to drinking alcohol. That's why our riders limit their consumption of alcohol. Alcohol has damaging effects on your body, especially for the recovery it needs after a race or training ride.

However, until the '60s it was quite normal to consume alcohol during a ride. They drank a variety of drinks, from beer and wine to tea and hot chocolate. The purpose was to hydrate (although we know by now that alcohol isn't particularly helping the hydration process) as well as to make a ride more pleasant. Riders back in the days spend a lot more time on their bikes. Our riders need, on average, 3 to 5 hours for a stage, whereas this used to be about 18 hours.

"Until the 60's, it was normal to consume alcohol"

Nowadays, riders limit their consumption of alcohol

Nowadays, we have a lot of research proving that alcohol has negative effects on sports performance. There are different findings on the exact effects of alcohol on your body, but there are a few common findings which are directly related to cyclists like our riders and yourself:

  1. Your body needs to be able to store carbohydrates from the food you consume, for some extra stock of energy during a ride. Your liver takes on this tasks, but it also needs to break down alcohol. If you consume more than two glasses of alcohol, your livers' capability of storing carbohydrates can already start to decrease, meaning your performance might drop due to a lower blood sugar level.
  2. The consumption of alcohol increases your need for hydration. In an earlier Food Friday, we already wrote about the importance of staying hydrated. Increases the risk of dehydration is in contradiction with the importance of a proper fluid management strategy before, during and after a ride.
  3. After a workout, there is lactic acid in your muscles. Your body will break this down by itself, but this process is hindered if you consume alcohol. If lactic acid isn't broken down, there is an increased risk of muscle strain and/or a drop in physical condition.
  4. Alcohol hinders the production of testosterone and anabolic hormones, body substances which are needed for muscle building and -recovery.

Drinking a beer or glass of wine every once in a while will not have a negative effect on your cycling performance. Enjoy it on a limited basis, as goes with everything in life. Except for your time on your bike, of course, which should be enjoyed as often and as long as possible! A tip from our team: are you longing for a cold beer after you have pushed yourself to your limits on a ride? Try Heineken 0.0! The taste of real beer, without the negative effects associated with alcohol.

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