With all of the holiday festivities and parties going on, it’s only natural to want to partake in the holiday cheer with a couple of festive cocktails. It can be a struggle to stay on track with your goals during this time of year. Here at Fit Farm at Rock Springs, we focus on real-life results! The key is all about portion and moderation, not the absence of your personal joy or social life. We want you to have fun, we want you to go to the holiday festivities, and we want you to go prepared. That’s why we’ve put together this awesome two-part guide to help you go in with all your bases covered so you don’t have to worry that a holiday party is going to wreck your nutritional plan and workout routine. Part one of this series covered how to choose the best alcoholic beverages to complement your weight loss/fitness goals. Here in part two of this series, we’re going to go over alcohol and exercise – how to prep before the party, what to do while attending the party, and how to continue exercising the next day. Let’s go ahead and dive in!
We can’t stress enough how important it is to prepare yourself both mentally and physically before going out anywhere where temptation may lay. If you know that Angela is going to be bringing your favorite holiday brownies, Pam has the Rice Krispy stars you love, and that there’s going to be a margarita machine at the party, it’s going to be hard to resist without a plan. Do yourself a favor and plan out responsible drinks and appropriate meals beforehand so you don’t feel inclined to partake in one too many goodies. You’ll definitely want to check out our first part of this series, A Holiday Guide to Cheer Without Fear!, to help you choose the booze that best follows your nutritional plan. Pair that with our previous blog, Eat Your Way to a Happier Holiday Waistline, and you’ll be ahead of the game!
DURING THE PARTY
So, now that you know which drinks to pick and have a plan of action before the big event, let the merry-making begin! Enjoy the drinks that you’ve carefully chosen and try to stick to one alcoholic beverage an hour. Keep yourself busy by conversing with friends/family/colleagues so you aren’t hovering around the oh-so-tempting bar. Remember that no matter what drink you decide to partake in, it’s very important that you drink water throughout the night. Alcohol is a diuretic and can leave you severely dehydrated before you’ve even realized it. The last thing you want to do is wake up with a hangover, so hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
A good rule of thumb is to sip your drink slowly and alternate between water and your beverage. Food that is high in protein is also a secret weapon while drinking because it absorbs the alcohol and reduces its effects. So, feel free to grab a couple of protein-rich bites from the snack table while drinking to help absorb the alcohol in your system. And before you hit the sack, be sure to grab a glass of water before bed! Trust us, your body will thank you in the morning.
AFTER THE FESTIVITIES
So, after all the laughs and good times with friends and family, it’s finally the next day and you want to tackle your workout routine. But, before we get into that, we need to go over how alcohol affects your body prior to you hitting the gym. You may recall in our previous blog, Holiday Cheer Without the Fear!, we went over what happens to alcohol as it enters your body. Here’s a refresher if you forgot or haven’t had a chance to read it yet (which we highly recommend 😉). When alcohol enters your system, your liver breaks it down into a substance known as acetate. Your body sees acetate as a toxin, so it will be hyper-focused on expelling the acetate, thus halting the digestion of carbs and protein. Not exactly an ideal scenario if you want to recover quicker from any hangover symptoms you may be experiencing and/or if you’re wanting to hit the gym.
Here’s the good news. You can do your body a favor and help speed up the recovery process by hydrating with electrolytes (Pedialyte and Gatorade are excellent sources!) and consuming a delicious protein-rich breakfast. Or if you’re feeling saucy, try this tasty whole wheat pancake recipe from Fit Foodie Finds and top with your favorite sugar-free syrup. Combining electrolytes with a hearty breakfast makes for a powerful tool when it comes to helping your body recover quickly.
EXERCISE AND ALCOHOL
Ok, so we’ve gone over what happens to alcohol while it’s in your system and how to help your body counteract it with electrolytes and a protein-rich breakfast (or pancakes 😉). You must be anxious to tackle your regular workout routine, right? While it’s good to be motivated and not want to lose your gains, it’s very important to note that you shouldn’t push yourself with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or aggressive exercises after consuming alcohol, especially if the alcohol is still in your system. There are many factors that determine how long alcohol will stay in your system including how much alcohol you consumed, your size, tolerance, and your body’s reaction to alcohol. According to Elite Medical Center, it could take up to 48 hours before it’s completely out of your system.
That being said, exercising is not completely out of the question. In fact, exercising may help alleviate some of the milder hangover symptoms by increasing your blood flow and releasing endorphins. If you’re hydrated and feeling well enough, the best time to exercise after a night of drinking is the next morning. If you do choose to partake in exercise, consider light workouts like going for a walk outside or doing yoga. You’ll want to avoid any intense activities that may make you sweat and dehydrate you even further. Note that you should not work out while under the influence of alcohol as you put yourself at risk for increased dehydration and injury. Just remember that it’s not a bad thing to give your body a break and opt for rest and rehydration instead.
We hope that you found this series helpful in tackling the holidays. Sometimes this season can be challenging when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’d like to read more on topics regarding nutrition, weight loss, fitness, and wellness, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter!
Cheers and happy holidays from the Rock Springs Team!