How to Fight Your Hangover at the Gym

Man hungover in field

Everyone knows that alcohol isn’t the healthiest of beverage choices. But life is all about balance, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t indulge from time to time. While the impact that alcohol has on muscle protein synthetic is debated, it’s definitely not doing you any favours. And though a few beers may slow your fitness goals, it's the choices that accompany those drinks that are the real progress killers, like that burrito at 2 a.m. Don’t let last night’s decisions affect your progress. Instead, drink some water, hit the gym, and kick that hangover to the curb. 

Drink Water

Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that when you drink you force your kidneys to work extra hard, which results in you peeing out more than you take in. This is why you can’t stop going once you’ve ‘broken the seal’. So even if you've consume the equivalent of a small lake of beer, you will likely be dehydrated in the morning, so it’s important to replenish your fluids. To get ahead of the game, try to drink a litre of water before you start your day. This will help kick-start your metabolism and get your system operating at full speed.

Man Hungover in Field

Eat Some Food

Usually, when I’m hungover, I find myself craving some extra greasy diner food, and I'm sure I’m not the only one. But contrary to popular belief, a plate full of bacon isn’t actually good for your recovery (shocking, right?). Instead, opt for a banana and some eggs. A banana will help replenish lost electrolytes and eggs contain choline, which can help alleviate that pounding headache.

Get Your Blood Flowing

Now that you’re no longer suffering from cotton-mouth, it’s time to get moving. While it’s tempting to veg out and watch The Office on Netflix all day, you’ll feel much better once you get into the rhythm of a workout. Even moderate activity will result in increased blood flow and a mood-boosting endorphin release. These natural processes will help your body start to feel normal again. This is something that I wish I had discovered earlier in my university days. 

Don’t Push Your Limits

When you finally muster up the energy and get to the gym, take it easier than normal. Even though it’s been a few hours, your body is likely still feeling the effects of alcohol. Your balance and coordination will not be operating at peak levels, which puts you at a greater risk of injury. Plus, you’re probably not going to be breaking a personal record in your hungover state, so it’s best not to push it. Instead, focus on simpler movements or mix in some cardio for a change.

Motivate a Friend

If you’re not the only one feeling the effects of last night, include your friends in your hangover fun. There’s nothing like a little bit of peer pressure to inspire action and get you going. Since you won’t be lifting your regular weight, you can use this as an opportunity to try things that you wouldn’t normally do, like yoga. I like to rope my friends into playing a partner sport, like squash or tennis.

If you need a protein boost and a little extra hydration, shake up some Suppy whey protein after you're done.