As I lie here in bed with one hell of a hangover after a great night out with some friends it seems appropriate to write an article about alcohol and fitness (bet you never thought you’d see those two words in the same sentence) and sadly no there hasn’t been a recent discovery that going on an alcohol binge will help increase lean body mass in a matter of weeks!
Everyone likes to go out and socialise with friends, drink and eat food that you know you shouldn’t, its human nature to do so and once in a while this is fine. Some people do find it hard to go on a night out without waking up the next morning thinking they have failed every goal they set themselves, but it really shouldn’t be looked at like that. It should be seen as a mere speed bump on your road to ultimate fitness. Below I’ll summarise a few tips that you can put into practise before, during and after a night out to make sure your progress isn’t hindered too much when you go out.
· eat your meals as normal right up to around 1-2 hours before drinking begins.
· If you can, stay away from beer (the beer belly isn’t a myth!) Instead stick to a spirit with a mixer. A shot of vodka with lemonade for example would be a good choice. Don’t even think about drinking those bright coloured, sugar loaded alchopops!
· Know your limit. Drink to have a good time, not to show everyone your breakfast.
· Dance! Get out on that dance floor, it’s a great way to meet new people and burn those 7ckal per gram that alcohol packs.
· Most people like to hit the kebab house after a night out which is a fantastic as it soaks up all the alcohol leaving you hangover free the following morning right? Wrong! It also puts another 500+kcal into your body which isn’t going to get used and will therefore probably be broken down and stored as fat - massive progress killer! So this should be avoided at all costs. I like to have a small, slow digesting protein shake containing 20-30g of casein protein as soon as I get in which will keep me going until breakfast and prevent muscle breakdown without necessarily adding more poor quality calories.
· The following day I try and stick to my normal routine as best I can (diet wise). I would also take a power nap during the day to help catch up with lost sleep and depending on how I feel physically will depend on when I get back in the gym, but as long as I’ve had a workout by Sunday evening or on Monday I’ll be happy.
· Everyone knows alcohol can dehydrate you, so it goes without saying drink 1-2 litres more than you normally would the following day to help this.
Put these tips into practise next time you go out and you’ll have the confidence of knowing you haven’t left a massive dent in your gym progress. Anyway, time for me to crawl out of bed and head to the kitchen!