A session on the town is not the healthiest thing in the world to do, and of course, we all know that! However, we also need to enjoy our lives, find that perfect balance and socialise with our friends and family
Yes, it’s all well and good occasionally going out, having a few cheeky pints or a few glasses of prosecco, but do we always prepare our bodies for what’s about to happen?
Or consider the after effects? More times than not we don’t. That’s where this article could be just the read that you’re looking for.
Expert nutritionist Dan Rayner gives us his top tips on how you can enjoy a night out and not ruin your diet
Your Training Regime
Let’s face it, no matter what you do that evening, or how clever you are about the type of alcoholic drink you have, you won’t be feeling 100% the next day! If worst case scenario you physically can’t imagine going to the gym the day after a heavy night out then ensure you put the work in now while you do feel 100%!
I’m not saying you’re about to make up for the drinks that you’ll consume later, however at least you’ll be doing what I like to call ‘damage limitation. I’d suggest the day of, or even one day during the week get in a double gym session, so that you don’t miss one of your scheduled workouts. Because if you do, this could throw your new week of training right out of line!
On the plus side to all of this, you may have your dancing shoes on. So, the time that you spend loving life on the dance floor might in fact be burning a decent number of calories.Also, the more time you’re dancing, the less time you’ll spend at the bar ordering drinks.
Empty Stomach? Big Mistake
We’ve all been there and done it right?
Experienced the alcohol hitting us suddenly, even if you did only start drinking 30 minutes ago! Alcohol passes quickly and easily into the bloodstream, moving very rapidly to your brain, leading to a few positives and at times negatives. Positives being happy thoughts, a chilled mind and stupid yet funny behaviour.
However, you also have the bad side, feeling dizzy, slurring your words, blurred vision and an upset stomach! Which is a good enough reason to ensure your body is prepared for the night ahead.
A balanced meal with a little protein, some carbs and good fats beforehand around 2 hours before you head out should line your stomach nicely. Something fatty to slow down the alcohol absorption. I don’t mean a dirty kebab or burger, but foods like salmon and avocados, or maybe peanut butter on toast. All foods that are dominantly fat will be a perfect choice for a pre-drinking meal or snack.
Your Choice of Drink
There is no such thing as good alcohol. However, there are ‘wiser choices’ out there. Some alcoholic beverages can pack up to 300 plus calories and hold over 50 grams of sugar.
Hence the saying ‘empty calories’. So, this part of the article will come down to a saying that I’ve already mentioned above – damage limitation. Rather than going for that pint of beer, that bottle of cider or that large glass of red wine, why not go for a drink that has fewer calories and perhaps something that will take you longer to drink!
A single shot of vodka combined with a diet beverage, or a gin and slim line tonic will typically hold around 50-60 calories. Even your standard glass of prosecco is around the 80 calorie mark. That’s around 4-5 times less that a pint of beer or glass of wine. No, this doesn’t mean that it’s ok to have more vodka or gin, but you can see my point! Remember no alcohol is good alcohol, there’s just drinks out there that can be less damaging towards your overall calorie and sugar intake!
Snacking Whilst Out
That’s snacking, not a huge portion of cheesy chips! Foods that are quite common to see when on are night out include nuts and olives. Both quite wise choices when it comes to eating something whilst you’re drinking, due to both their fat content, which will help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
Always remember though that any food that’s calories mainly come from fat will be high in calories. Not necessarily a bad thing for you, however, I’m just saying go easy and have some portion control on the snacks if you’re concerned about your weight loss goals.
Time To Go Home
Some peoples favourite part of the night! The walk down to the kebab shop afterwards!
We’ve all been there and done it, stumbled through the door, ordered way too much food and then you throw half of it away! There’s always better choices when it comes to fast food after a night out. Of course, you might be totally smashed at this point and don’t really have two thoughts for picking a wiser option. However, if you’ve gone out for a couple and now want something to eat that will be a bit more of a clever choice, then listen up.
Let’s take the kebab shop. Full of calories, saturated fats, sugars and salts. Rather than going all out and ordering a large donner, large chips and lashings of burger sauce, why not pick the chicken kebab and hold the pita bread? A leaner protein choice that you can have with a side salad. Go one step further and wait until your home to eat so you can add your own choice of sauce! Maybe I’m being way to unrealistic at this point in the article, but remember, there’s always those options. You can even see my latest Subway article to see what I would pick off the menu as a wiser choice.
Before Hitting The Sack
Water is now your best friend! Drink at least 2 pints and keep 1 pint next to your bed before your head hits the pillow. At this point, re-hydration is crucial as you’re going to wake up very de-hydrated from the alcohol! Unless you controlled your intake that is. Don’t get me wrong, by doing this, it’s not a guaranteed cure for your hangover, but it will help towards keeping your system that touch more hydrated and you’ll thank me when you wake up for reminding you to leave that pint of water next to the bed!
The Next Day
Possibly the most challenging thing that mankind has ever faced - trying to eat healthy after a big night out. It’s so true and I agree it is very difficult not to go to the greasy spoon or sit of the sofa and work your way through that box of chocolates.
However, in terms of your recovery, there are a few foods that will speed up the process. Water should be your number one priority as soon as you drag yourself out of bed.
From a night of drinking your body will be in a very de-hydrated state due to alcohol taking the lead of a diuretic, hence the headaches you wake up to. So, you need to get these lost fluids back into your system! Foods such as bananas, sweet potatoes, healthy greens and yoghurts will provide you with a potassium kick, which have been rapidly depleted from last night’s session on the town.
Consume foods that aid in giving you a well needed and prolonged energy boost too, such as porridge or whole grain toast. Add a tablespoon of honey to your oats, or a spread of strawberry jam to your toast, to give you a quick-fire sugar release and to give you some instant, well needed energy!
Don’t forget about your protein intake. Add some scrambled eggs to your toast or a nice helping of Greek yoghurt on the side next to your oats. At the end of the day your main goal is to try and replenish your body of what it’s just been depleted of, including some very important vitamins and minerals.
Sometimes in life we do want to go out and socialise with friends. Maybe for a birthday? A family reunion? Or just down the pub for a couple of cheeky ones. Everyone knows you need a mental break away at times from the stresses of work and other things in life, so it’s ok to now and then enjoy a few beverages!
On the other hand, if you do want to remain on top of your fitness lifestyle and want to do the best you possibly can to avoid the worst ending, then think about some of my tips above. You can have a night that you enjoy, see your friends, socialise, and make ‘wiser choices’ that will limit the damage caused to your fitness regime. But like most things, it will require that little bit of self-control, will power and determination.
About Dan Rayner
Dan Rayner is the Pure Elite Beach Body Pro World Champion, International Male Model Pro World Champion, part time model and fitness blogger, who is based in Herne Bay, Kent.
He can be contacted on [email protected] for one on one personal training and online coaching. With his website being www.danraynerfitness.com You can also connect with Dan via social media, by searching Dan Rayner Fitness on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.