Summertime drinking carries the same warnings as the colder seasons, but combined with the sun and heat it can leave you feeling the effects in a much worse way. Is there anything you can do to prepare and avoid a summer hangover?
Alcohol affects your body’s stores of glycogen, which is stored in your liver – and you know how important they are from weightlifting. Before stepping out, take your pick from chicken, quinoa, avocado, almond butter, eggs. As you know from the rewards you’ve reaped at the gym, protein is always an answer. Foods that are high in protein take longer to digest, meaning that your blood alcohol level will not go up as quickly.
Eating before you drink will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your body, but doesn’t stop you getting drunk. You absorb alcohol through your stomach lining and small intestine, so if you get a good meal, it will better prepare you for the beer garden.
Short of going to a party to worry about having too good a time, what can you do if you have training the next day but also want to join in?
If you want to make the most of socialising and enjoying the good weather outdoors, remind yourself that’s what you came for. Treat the beer garden, the barbeque or garden party as the event, making a drink here or there (if at all) a minor part in the event. There’s vitamin D to be had as well as the good times.
Drinking water and fuelling up with good nutrition can reduce the effects of a hangover. If there’s food to be had, have it. The sun and heat will cause you to be dehydrated without alcohol. With alcohol it will speed things right up, and not in a good way. Make hydration and your usual nutrition your primary, with booze in between – this way you won’t be playing catch up in the form of a hangover or headaches as you walk home in search of food.
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.
What could be better than ice when it’s so hot? 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.
Avoid bubbles. Carbonated drinks speed up the process of alcohol absorption. Instead, pick a fruit juice – fresh juice, if possible.
What’s The Damage?
Is it really all that bad? Well, that depends on how you look at it. It’s important to strike a good balance.
Alcohol does indeed have a detrimental effect on your sports performance. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, which means that drinking excessive amounts will result in dehydration.
Hydration is essential to your health and fitness as it allows the flow of blood through your body that circulates oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. Hydration also helps you to control your body temperature, so if you think you’re usually working up a sweat in the gym, that’s nothing compared to how you’ll overheat after a night of drinking alcohol.
Booze will also affect how your body makes energy as you liver can’t produce the same amount of glucose when it is metabolising alcohol. What affect will this have? You would be running on empty, drawing on fat supplies instead of blood sugar, making your workout a lazy, slow effort with your body unable to cope as well with the surplus of lactic acid, putting your liver to work more than the muscles you really want to be targeting in the gym.
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.
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.