Christmas and the New Year are filled with invites for nights out and parties that even the most dedicated gym-goer can’t avoid. Tis the season after all, and we would always encourage a solid balance of work and play. It’s important that you take care of your mental health as much as your physical health. As well as taking care of your stress levels, taking rest days and making the most of those Christmas party invites can keep you motivated in the long run at the gym.
The issue for those seeking serious health gains, is the effect that the night before will have on the morning after. It’s not recommended to party the night before a match or intense workout, the fact is that alcohol has a detrimental effect on your body and sports performance.
Because you’re not Scrooge and want to make merry at this, the most wonderful time of year, how can you combat the effects of alcohol?
✓ Hydration and nutrition! Drinking water and fueling up with good nutrition can reduce the effects of a hangover. If there are snacks or canapés up for grabs at your Christmas party, make the most of it, but for nights out when you doubt food will be on the cards, make sure you have a well-balanced meal beforehand.
✓ Get your casein protein. This breaks down over several hours and so is an ally when heading into long periods of fasting. Another bit of advice is to make sure you consume your casein at the end of the night before you go to bed so that you’ve upped your protein levels and energy for the next morning.
How to stay hydrated
Alcohol results in dehydration, and causes the kidneys to produce more urine. Your simple solution is to think how you can stay hydrated. Along with the copious amounts you should drink at the end of the night and the following morning, here are some suggestions for staying hydrated while drinking alcohol on a night out:
✓ Pace yourself. This could mean taking it easy and skipping the shots when they come around. It could also be a conscious effort to ward off the next day’s dehydration by drinking water between every alcoholic beverage.
✓ Order on the rocks. Whiskey drinkers, when the bartender asks if you would like it on the rocks, say yes. This will dilute your liquor, offering hydration – also, you might ask for a water back.
✓ Order a ginger ale side. Ginger helps to soothe the stomach ailments associated with excessive drinking, as will the carbonation.
✓ Avoid bubbles. Carbonated drinks speed up the process of alcohol absorption. Instead, pick a fruit juice – fresh juice, if possible.
✓ Go for the top shelf. Okay, money will come in here, so maybe think in terms of paying now or paying the morning after. With drinks like tequila, the better bottles are purer. This is because of congeners, the chemicals added that will affect the things like the taste and color of the drink. Top shelf purer drinks have fewer of these additives.
For cocktail drinkers, the above could guide your choice as you’re perusing the menu – go for a cocktail that contains the least fizz and additives with fruit juice while combining fewer types of grains.
Beer drinkers will likely be looking at a greater caloric intake. Not necessarily bad when seeking mass gains, but bad when it all goes to the belly. Avoid fizz and bear in mind a cardio workout when planning the week ahead if you’re not looking to lose your flat stomach.
Take Home Message
The following morning, drink several pints of water, spacing them out throughout the day. Drink a sports drink that contains electrolytes, which you’ll have lost the night before. Stock up on protein to help regenerate and keep your strength. Your ethos should be to not let your hangover detract from gains made throughout the week. Consume fats and carbs to line the stomach. The best options are whole grains and polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in certain fish – including salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.
Take this advice on board and try to at least limit the affects of alcohol this festive season!