That last round of margaritas probably seemed like a good idea at the time—and judging from the Instastory evidence you discover the next day, it most definitely was—but come the next morning when your alarm is blaring a reminder that you’ve planned a workout, drinking seems like your worst enemy.
Yes, there are times when you really should opt for your bed over the gym, but assuming you haven’t gone too far, your body might actually benefit from a hearty workout.
To help make this a little easier (yes, it will be work!), we chatted with Aaptiv trainer Meghan Takacs to get her expert tips for working out and working through a hangover.
First thing’s first, you need to understand what happens to your body when you’re drinking. Other than getting a little bit giggly or Snapchat happy, your body responds to that shot of tequila by triggering an inflammatory response from your immune system. This can lead to a decreased appetite (rookie mistake, always snack!) and a cloudy head, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, a night of drinking can leave you severely dehydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic after all, meaning it causes you to frequent the restroom more than normal. To replenish all that you, ahem, expelled last night, drink water like it’s your job before bed and as soon as you wake up.
In the morning, before you even think about hitting the gym or taking a run, Takacs suggests making sure your body has the fuel it needs to recover properly. If you have the mind to plan for the next morning, she suggests drinking two bottles of water before bed, taking one teaspoon of Glutamine (an amino acid), and two Ibuprofen*. If you hit the hay without thinking much about the next morning (hey, it happens), Takacs recommends consuming amino acids and a banana before your workout. Amino acids can be found in hearty, protein-rich foods like eggs whereas the potassium found in bananas helps replenish the electrolytes lost during a night of fun.
Work Out in the Morning
You might not feel like moving, but Takacs assures us that the endorphins released in a sweat sesh might be the answer to it all. She explains that alcohol is a depressant and depletes the body of serotonin. When you wake up the next morning, you’ll be chock full of cravings, especially ones “in the form of McDonald’s, naps, and sugary drinks.” However, she warns these are just temporary fixes and could have negative, long term consequences—especially if you have fitness goals you’re hoping to achieve.
“Working out helps produce the endorphins necessary to curb sugar and salt cravings throughout your day, helps you to avoid moodiness, and increase your ability to focus and to make better decisions,” she says. And if you’re wondering, yeah, it is best to workout first thing. Takacs suggests working out in the morning or late morning to help you avoid falling into a day full of naps and Netflix and cold pizza binges.
Looking for good morning workouts? Check out these workout samples from Aaptiv that can easily fit into your lifestyle.
Accept the Mental Challenge.
Takacs tells us like it is with this one: You aren’t going to feel great being active after a night of drinking. “The trick I like to try is giving it a 10-minute rule to whether or not you can make this workout a good one or a not so good one,” she says. For example, Takacs says start with a ten-minute warm-up run. During that run you will either feel like you can do active recovery intervals or you’ll realize you need to go long and steady.
“Working out helps produce the endorphins necessary to curb sugar and salt cravings throughout your day.”
The most important thing is just don’t give up. “You already feel bad, now don’t blow your own confidence, too!” she says. Her second mental strategy for making it through the workout is to turn it into something positive. “Understand that life is all about balance, and be proud of the fact that you have an interest in still maintaining your fitness even when you feel like death,” she explains. So even if it takes you twice the time or you have to take plenty of water or walking breaks, it’s OK. Just finish the drill. “That my friends, is mental and physical strength,” she adds.
Think of it this way: The sooner you finish, the sooner you can go home and resume your horizontal position.
Only had a couple drinks and wondering if you should still hit the gym? We’ve got the answer, here.
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*check with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet