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What to Drink After Your Race – Celebratory Beverages

28 Mar 2013

all in a rowMany race organizers host a post-race party to commemorate your accomplishment. Oftentimes, once you’ve finished a challenging obstacle course race, you may even be awarded a free drink.

But if you want to make healthy beverage choices and enjoy the celebration, what are the best alcoholic drink options?

Let’s look at some of the typical options and alternatives. Unless otherwise noted, the nutrition profile for beverages comes from CalorieKing and Self Nutrition Data.


Beer may be your number one and only option.

Several beer brands sponsor obstacle races: Dos Equis – Tough Mudder, Miller Lite – Warrior Dash, Harpoon – Rugged Maniac. You may be able to redeem a free ticket for a beer at one of these and other obstacle races.

But if you’re hoping to make a healthy celebratory beverage choice, is beer your best option?

Beer: Nutrition Profile

Caloric Content: 99 – 150 calories

A can or bottle of light beer may have as little as 60 calories, while a serving of a full-bodied ale may have as much as 170.

Alcohol: 11-14 grams

Carbohydrates: 3-12 grams

Just as with caloric content, light beers typically have fewer carbs than most ales and lagers.

If you want to celebrate, but keep up with a healthy diet plan, a light beer may be a better option. If you’re only option is a caloric and carb dense variety, you can drink half or stop at just one.

But if you are having lunch or dinner after your race, you have other options for celebratory drinks. Some of these may be healthier.



In terms of caloric and carb content , one 5-oz glass of wine may be superior to a bottle of beer .

Have a Nice Weekend

Wine: Nutrition Profile

Caloric Content: 120-130 calories

A 5-oz glass of white and/or red wine has roughly 120-130 calories. One 4-oz glass of champagne has about 75-80 calories.

Alcohol: 10-15 grams

Per unit, wine can carry about twice as much alcohol than beer. So keep this in mind if you plan on driving home!

Carbohydrates: 2-6 grams

Champagne typically has few carbs when compared to white and red wines.



On an equal volume basis hard liquor contains more alcohol than beer and wine. But on a per serving basis (usually 1-2 ounces), these alcoholic drinks have fewer calories. So this may be a better option if you are monitoring caloric intake for weight loss goals.

Liquor: Nutrition Profile

Caloric Content: 65-70 calories

A 1-oz glass of rum, whiskey, gin, or vodka has about 65-70 calories.

Alcohol: 9-10 grams

One ounce of hard liquor usually has about 9-10 grams of alcohol.

While the alcoholic content of beer typically ranges between 4-7% and wine between 10-15% of total calories, as much as 40-45% of total calories can come from alcohol in hard liquor.

Carbohydrates: 0-1 grams

Again, another reason why a serving of hard liquor mixed with water, club soda, and/or tonic may be a better option if you are simultaneously pursuing weight loss goals.



Considering the variety of ingredients in mixed drinks, cocktails may be the worst offender of health and weight loss goals.

Tenue de soirée…

Cocktails: Nutrition Profile

Caloric Content: 250-500 calories

Mixed drinks cover a wide range of beverages, from martinis to mudslides and other specialty drinks.

Because of this, the caloric content can vary greatly: one apple martini can have a little over 200 calories, while a mudslide may have as many as 1,000 calories (in some cases, more!).

Alcohol: 25-50 grams

The higher alcoholic content in mixed drinks is typically due to the fact that there are often 2-4 ounces of hard liquor varieties.

Carbohydrates: 12-150+ grams

Again, the wide range is due to the variety of mixed drinks available. And keep in mind that most of these carbs are sugars.

In general, the fewer the ingredients and the clearer the mixed drink, the lower the caloric, carb, and sugar content.


What to Drink After Your Race: Rules of Thumb

1. Re-Hydrate with Real Water

If you have a ticket, cash in on the free beer, but drink some water BEFORE shotgunning.

If you just finished a race and plan to celebrate for a little while, try to drink 4-8 ounces of water for every alcoholic beverage. This will help keep you hydrated, even though you may need to occasionally race for the porta-potties.

2. In-Season: Celebrate with 1. Off-Season: Maybe Take 2.


If you are in the midst of a series of races over the course of a few months, you can consider yourself an athlete and take the burden of practicing healthy habits as athletes should do.

Celebrate with a single drink and keep rehydrating with water if you want to stick around for the the party.

But if this is a single, isolated obstacle event for you, maybe you can enjoy a second drink. Before you practice your beer curls, though, be sure to keep in mind alcoholic drinking recommendations.

But if you are working on weight loss or other fitness goals in addition to obstacle racing, it’s probably best to stop at one.

3. If Beer Is Your Only Option…

Choose light alternatives if you are working on weight loss goals. Otherwise have a bottle of your favorite variety.

No light option around? Drink half of what’s available.

4. Designate a Driver

It’s just good common sense if you plan on throwing back several.

Enjoy your obstacle race, celebrate your ahievement, drink up, and be safe!


Image credits: Vodka, wine, cocktails, stop

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