Bouncing Back after the Bank Holiday

Bouncing Back after the Bank Holiday

14
Apr 2022
Nutrition

Bank holidays are great opportunities for us all to enjoy some ‘social recovery’ with our friends, families and team mates. However, this period often leads to a little overindulgence in most of us, specifically when it comes to food and alcohol. It's reasonable to expect that we all enjoy these occasions, that said, it's also reasonable to recognise that these periods of free flowing drinks and excess calories do not occur without some side effects. Let’s break down how you can bounce back from these often all too familiar, and unwelcome, impacts that the bank holiday can throw at us.

Let’s start by looking at what actually happens when we consume alcohol. Alcohol contains 7 kcals per gram and has no micronutrient value (protein contains 4kcal/g, carbs contains 4kcal/g, fat contains 9kcal/g). As our bodies cannot store alcohol we must metabolise it after we consume it. Our bodies make this a priority over other metabolic processes. What we refer to as a ‘hangover’ is really the result of consuming alcohol at a rate greater than what our bodies are able to metabolise. This excess consumption results in dehydration, bad sleep and poor recovery to name a few. So what can you do about it?

Getting rehydrated

Despite popular belief the ‘cure’ may not be another pint in the pub, instead starting to rehydrate with water and electrolytes can help replenish the fluids and salts your body has lost through the upregulation of urine production (due to alcohol diuretic effect) and potentially some very active moves on the dance floor. Aim to consume a large glass of water as soon as you wake up and consider adding in some effervescent electrolytes, yes the ones you often see pro athlete’s use, as these will help to rehydrate your body's cells in a more time efficient manner. Throughout the day it is a good idea to keep sipping away at water to carry on this process, whilst aiming for a larger glass with each main meal. If you’d like to learn more about how much water you should aim to drink each day have a read of this.

Dealing with a poor night’s sleep

Many people incorrectly believe that alcohol helps sleep because it is a sedative. However, what these people fail to realise is that the quality of their sleep is dramatically impacted. Let me explain, sleep is an incredibly active process where our bodies are working really hard to repair, recharge and maintain not just our muscles, but many of our vital organs. Introduce alcohol and our body's focus now shifts away from these restorative processes as it works to metabolise the alcohol instead, leaving us groggy, under recovered and not very ready to perform. To accomodate up for this period of poor quality sleep it is recommended that if you are performing any exercise that you keep it light, today’s not the day to push yourself. Although it is worth noting that some gentle exercise may help get you back on track sooner. If you can, try getting a 20-30 minute nap during your day and when it comes to the evening, prioritise an early night to catch up on some quality sleep. Below are some tips to help you get a good night's sleep and help your body catch up:

  • Try to stay off your phone and avoid screens for 1-2hrs before bed.
  • Have a warm shower 20 mins before bed, it’ll help drop your body temperature and get to sleep quicker.
  • Keep your room cool and dark, avoid having any lights or LEDs on.

Giving you body the foods it needs

Alcohol can have an inflammatory effect on our bodies and negatively impact our muscle protein synthesis. Not great news if we’ve been competing or training hard the day before as our ability to recover is now heavily compromised. Combine this with excess calorie consumption and you have a perfect storm. So what food do you go for? Well first of all it's good to set expectations, the primary food focus today is to not compound errors, i.e. if we over consumed yesterday, let’s not double up this problem with a poor choice of takeaways today. Prioritising foods that are rich in protein and antioxidants will help give our bodies the nutrients it needs to get things moving in the right direction again. That said it’s clear a salad may not do the trick as our bodies cravings for something a little naughtier will be elevated. As a result you can check out some delicious treats and meals the hexis team has curated for all occasions over on our recipe instagram page. Whether you’re looking for a juicy burger, a crispy pizza or a gooey brownie to make you feel more you again, we’ve got you covered. 

 

Check out our features page to see how hexis can help you get the most from your fuelling even on those ‘rest’ days and get you prepared for when you a ready to get back training. 

Dr. Sam Impey

Performance Scientist

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Dr. Sam Impey