Can you work out with a hangover?

Fit & Training door thijs

Like many Fit Girls, I like to be balanced: one day I'll be eating salads and going for a run after work, the next day I'll be drinking beer and having snacks on a terrace. One does not have to exclude the other in a healthy lifestyle and if you are responsible, you can combine the guilty pleasures with the healthy ones. However, there are times when you go a bit too far, such as when drinking alcohol. And then you lay in bed on a Sunday morning with a headache and wonder if it's safe for you to go to the gym with a hangover or give your body some rest?

Well, I recently had one of these days. On Saturday I attended a party that was a bit too fun and ended up drinking quite a few glasses of alcohol. The next day I woke up with a little headache, but nothing I couldn't handle. After a couple of glasses of water my headache slowly went away and I thought about going to the gym. I felt good and wanted to just keep up with my workout schedule that I planned out for the week. Once I started my workouts in the gym I began to feel worse with every exercise. Due to my increased heart rate, the toxins from the alcohol started to work in my body again as I began to sweat heavily and felt sick. (And no, luckily, I did not have to run to the toilet.) This was a good time to find out if it's actually okay to work out after you've been already exhausting your body all night.

Light breakfast

Scrolling through the internet, I found out that working out with a hangover is actually not a bad idea at all, provided you do it in a responsible way. The old saying that you can 'sweat out the alcohol' from your body is correct, where you can practically sweat out your hangover through training session. However, there are some points to keep in mind.  Don't overdo the workout, as it can also make you feel worse. Also, make sure to eat a light breakfast like some dairy with fruit (such as banana!). A heavy breakfast - no matter how much you're craving it - is too heavy on the stomach if you are going to do a workout afterwards.

Drink enough

In addition, being hydrated is very important. Alcohol dries out your body and this is also what causes the headache the next day. If you're going to work out, you'll only lose more moisture by sweating. It is therefore important to keep drinking enough before, during and after your workout. Take a big bottle and make sure you refill it enough while exercising. It's better to pee three times more than have a dehydrated body!

Slow workout

Lastly, it's also important to look at what kind of workout you want to do. Don't try to get the new record for deadlifts. Heavy strength training might be a bit too much for your body to handle. So, what is a good idea? Cardio exercises! Go cycling or running. (The people at the gym are probably grateful that you're not training next to them while you're sweating out all the alcohol and it's smell. The open air will do you good.) Do you not want to go outside but stay in the gym anyways? Just train with lighter weights than you're used to and pay attention to what you can and can't handle. Today is not the day to push yourself, you can do that next week ;)

Disclaimer: This is not an article telling you that it's ok to go to the gym with a hangover every weekend. I don't encourage excessive alcohol consumption. This article is written to help you make sure that, if you have drunken too much, you are responsible for the aftermath.

Source: Finelinervreter (illustration) 

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