Working out after a bank holiday binge

So how was your bank holiday weekend? No doubt you were dreading going into work this morning and you just wanted to rewind to yesterday when you were curled up on the sofa all wrapped up in your duvet. And I’m going to guess that a few of your probably woke up yesterday with a bit of a headache too, right? Don’t worry, you aren’t going to be sent off to the gallows for enjoying a bank holiday but it is important that you consider how and when you are going to get back into your usual fitness regime. 

Some people will tell you that your best option is to get straight back up on the horse. Keep your gym routine the same, put in some headphones and just sweat out whatever it is that is making you feel so terrible. In fact it isn’t uncommon to hear that a good workout is the perfect hangover cure. But whatever happened to safety?

Firstly, if you are suffering from your exploits the night before then you won’t be giving 100{e247ef2f99dfc0bc75e074b1ac933c200478cf8913d2da2bbe9d5daddf1eb195} in the gym the next day, even if you think that you are. You are starting off at a great disadvantage – not only are you likely to be dehydrated but the chances are you are fighting against a brutal headache, tiredness and maybe even nausea. With all that put together you can’t possibly expect to perform at your highest level.

So then you could just try the opposite. Call that hangover day a write off and forget about training for that one day. After all, whether you are trying to build muscle or lose weight we know that it isn’t subject to your performance on one day and you know that you will be back to your best tomorrow. Not exactly. You see, no matter what you were drinking the night before, you will have been piling on the calories. Alcohol isn’t a nutrient so your body won’t be storing it as energy in your muscles, it will be getting stored as fat. 

I guess it all depends on what we are calling a binge. If you rarely drink then having four or five beers on a bank holiday might seem excessive. But for somebody else that might just be a normal Saturday night! The point is that it is all relative to the individual. What we do know is that alcohol will be having a number of effects on your body regardless. 

Alcohol has this annoying tendency to linger. So you have to think about the next 24, or even 48 hours every time that you binge drink. Even after rest, alcohol will still be playing a part in your body. For example, you might notice a heightened need to urinate, which means that you are losing electrolytes at a faster rate than normal. And these need to be replaced to maintain normal function. Plus there is always the chance that you could wake up and still be intoxicated, meaning that both your judgment and coordination are going to be poor.

The chances are that every now and again you are going to have a bit of a binge, whether it is because you are a student, because you are part of a sports team or just because you have been invited on a night out with some old friends. The important thing to remember is that each event is separate. There isn’t a hard and fast rule that says if you have had a bit too much to drink then you shouldn’t be in the gym.

You shouldn’t underestimate how smart our bodies actually are and if you feel fine the next day it is probably because your body has managed to cope with the amount you have drunk. Does that mean you should commit to a massive weight training session or an hour of HIIT? Probably not. Just try to keep the binge drinking sessions to a minimum if you are serious about seeing results. Other than that the best advice I can give you is to just trust your own body!


Ollie Lawrence
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