Fitness hangover: What to do about it

Fitness hangover: What to do about it

Fitness hangover


Many of us will be all too familiar with that feeling of bubbling nausea; the sense that someone is poking at our temples with burning metal rods.


Usually it’s because we had those extra glasses of wine the night before (even though you said you wouldn’t); but sometimes there’s something more ‘wholesome’ to blame.


We all think of a workout as virtuous, and in return for our hard, sweaty, work we expect to feel like goddesses.


However a new survey has revealed that 25% of fitness lovers have actually missed work because they felt so unwell the day after a workout.


55% have suffered a workout hangover that’s so bad it caused them to stay inside all day – so where is the boatload of smug-inducing endorphins we were promised?


A ‘fitness hangover’ isn’t just muscle soreness – it’s more than that. You might feel exhausted, nauseous; even anxious – and may find it’s impacting on how much you enjoy exercising, or even your life in between gym trips.


It doesn’t need to though – especially if you’re working out four or five times a week.



ALSO READ: The do’s and don’ts of strength training



We spoke to Jake Williams, Lifestyle Health Advisor for Bupa Health Clinics to get some much-needed advice on how to manage this very specific, and very cruel, type of hangover:


While exercise is usually great for our health, if we don’t do it safely it can sometimes make us feel worse the next day!


To avoid the muscle ‘hangover’, it’s essential that you warm up and cool down properly.


A good warm up will gradually loosen your muscles, while gently increasing your heartrate.


Likewise, low-intensity cardio after your workout will help your muscles cool down safely; and prevent the dreaded soreness the next day.


Stretch out your muscles slowly until you feel resistance – but stop if you feel any pain.


If you’re still feeling sore after exercising, consider using a foam roller.


It’s a bit like a DIY massage and can help reduce the pain of tender muscles – helping you beat the burn and carry on with your day.


Cooling muscles after exercise can also prevent delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS as it’s often known.


While the sporting elite might favour ice baths, you can easily get results with an ice pack.


Wrap it in a thin towel first though, rather than applying it directly to your skin.


Just like a real hangover, a workout hangover will require plenty of rest and fluids to help you recover.


Keep a water bottle handy and avoid coffee or alcohol, which can dehydrate you further.


In addition to sore muscles, sometimes people can nauseous after a workout.


This is often as they haven’t left enough time in between eating and exercising.


As a rule, aim for a light meal or snack before working out, and try and give it between one; and three hours to let your food digest.


Good pre-work out foods include complex carbs, like wholegrain bread or pasta, and lean proteins like white fish; chicken or Greek yogurt.


Eating a sensible amount and giving yourself enough time before working out will help prevent nausea.

And be sure to eat a balanced meal after your workout, slightly increasing the proteins if you’ve been weight training over cardio.


For the best results though, speak to a dietician or expert who can give advice tailored to you.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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