Here beginneth the sermon. “When you drink alcohol, you’re effectively poisoning yourself,” says Jim Pate, physiologist at the Centre for Health and Human Performance – which explains why you’re in purgatory. Booze also disturbs sleep. And, in the cruellest of ironies, after all that drinking, you’re dehydrated. Safety should be in the forefront of your mind.
“If you’re half-cut, wait until you’re sober before you do anything that could endanger you,” says Pate. So, an early-morning session is out. Once your head is sore but clear, however, get it into your skull that this is not the day to give it a rest. As well as easing your pain, the rush of endorphins that you get from training will rebalance your brain chemicals to combat alcohol’s depressive effect, making it a better salve than any bacon sandwich (you can have that afterward).
Pate recommends something with “a little aerobic intensity, to remind your body that it
still has to work”. Steady-state cardio is your order of the day. “Drink enough water: your urine should be clear,” says Matt Gardner, a performance nutritionist and the host of the Big Feed Up podcast. This will lubricate your joints and delay the onset of fatigue.
As for your pre-gym fuel, alcohol irritates your stomach lining, so resist the temptation to pile on the grease and stick to your normal breakfast. But factor in some, ahem, “gastric emptying time”. In other words, bear in mind that a protein- and fibre-rich meal such as eggs on toast takes two to three hours to absorb. If you’ve got an hour or less before your workout, just eat a banana.
The good news is that Boulder University has linked even light aerobic training to the reversal of alcohol-induced brain damage. Flagellating yourself isn’t healthy. But escaping your darkened living room is guaranteed to make you feel better: physically, mentally and spiritually.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like