Going out for a drink or two is an adult right of passage. The typical 9-5 grind can be extremely stressful—leading anyone to be persuaded to attend a Happy Hour come Friday afternoon.

Another way to de-stress? Hitting the gym. But it turns out sipping too soon after breaking a sweat can have some negative consequences.

Alcohol Affects The Body Rather Dramatically

Even before you factor in a hardcore workout, drinking alcohol affects a ton of bodily systems and functions.

We aren’t just talking about your liver.

Consuming alcohol sends it running through your bloodstream, which bypasses literally every organ you have. This takes away from the vital functions these organs have to undergo. The result? Your body isn’t working nearly as efficiently.

“Alcohol thins the blood, kills brain cells, may have negative cardiovascular implications, and interferes with sleep — let’s not forget that sleep is critical in recovery,” stated John Mayer, Ph.D., and substance abuse expert.

Bodily Repair Is Vital After Exercise

After a grueling workout, your body needs to heal and repair itself. Adding alcohol to this mix immediately after breaking a sweat can prevent your body from doing its job.

So, when is it safe to hit the bar after leaving the gym? There’s no real magic number, but experts say an hour at the very least.

“The most critical period for recovery is within a one-hour period after exercise, so you should definitely avoid drinking within this window and focus on replenishing electrolytes, rehydrating, and fueling correctly,” stated Mayer.

A Longer Time Between Deadlifting And Drinks Is Ideal

Waiting one hour is really the bare minimum, and experts actually advise you wait around six hours before slinging some cocktails back.

“Research shows that alcohol can impact the rate of protein synthesis—which is basically the process by which your muscles grow and repair—so really, the longer you can go without it, the better,” stated Marie Spano, RD.

Even more crucial? Hydration. Be sure to down plenty of water before even thinking about savoring a margarita. Your body will thank you.