Hangovers are a common occurrence this time of year, so I think it might be worth discussing the physiological causes of this condition. Alcohol consumption causes several things to happen in your body that inevitably lead to the unpleasant headache and fatigue associated with the morning after drinking.
Antidiuretic Hormone Inhibition
Alcohol enters your bloodstream, it prevents antidiuretic hormone (ADH) from being released. This hormone typically signals your kidneys to reabsorb water. In the absence of ADH, water isn’t reabsorbed and urine production is increased in the kidneys. This results in a diuretic effect that often has drinkers making frequent trips to the bathroom. The amount of fluids lost usually exceeds the amount of fluids consumed so dehydration is a common occurrence.
When alcohol enters your liver, it is broken down by an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase. Alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde, a substance that is actually more toxic than alcohol itself. From there, acetaldehyde is converted by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione into a nontoxic compound known acetate. The problem is that your liver runs out of glutathione when you consume a large amount of alcohol, which results in a high level of acetaldehyde accumulating in your system. This results in symptoms such as headache, nausea, and vomiting.
Congeners are substances produced during the fermentation process used to manufacture alcohol. Red wine and darker liquors such as bourbon, whiskey, and some tequilas tend to contain higher amounts of congeners whereas clear liquors like vodka and gin tend to contain less of these substances. These substances impart the unique taste of these spirits but also include chemicals like acetone and acetaldehyde which can worsen your hangover. A recent study compared dark and clear liquors and found that both bourbon and vodka impaired sleep quality and next-day cognitive performance equally, but bourbon resulted in a more severe hangover .
The best way to prevent a hangover is to avoid drinking altogether. Of course, I realize that as part of social and professional obligations, drinking is sometimes difficult to avoid. If you wish to minimize the effects of a hangover, pick a clear liquor like vodka and use a non-sugary mixer like club soda. Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, recommends the “NorCal Margarita”, a concoction consisting of tequila, lime juice, and soda water. Robb recommends tequila as it is gluten-free (as are most distilled liquors) and claims the lime juice blunts the insulin response as well as yields a net alkaline load at the kidneys.
Besides the toxins that result from alcohol consumption, the majority of the ill effects felt during a hangover are a result of dehydration. Water and electrolytes are depleted from your body so it’s in your best interest to rehydrate. A field-tested solution I recommend is simply drinking coconut water after consuming alcohol. Coconut water contains electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium which will help increase absorption of water and minimize the effects of a hangover. Keep in mind, alcohol consumption won’t help your body composition or your performance in the gym, so you should minimize drinking alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle and consume alcohol in moderation.
1. Rohsenow et al. Intoxication With Bourbon Versus Vodka: Effects on Hangover, Sleep, and Next-Day Neurocognitive Performance in Young Adults. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 2009.
Whats more important than a good nights sleep?
Holiday Body Weight Challenge Day 7 - 14 burpees
Stay engaged. Have fun. Do some burpees, and don’t let your fitness fall behind this holiday season!
Please note we are only running a 9am class tomorrow, Thanksgiving day, all other classes are cancelled.
Regular schedule all other days this week.
Reminder - CrossFit Hard in conjunction with Manna Food Center, is running a food drive, and we need your help! Join our efforts to collect as much food as possible to be donated to the hungry all over Montgomery County just in time for the holidays.
Dates: November 8-November 23
Collection Site: There are two boxes inside CrossFit Hard. Please bag any heavy items.
What to donate: all items must be non-perishable; see below for specific items
Please consider donating the following items:
*Boxed Mac n Cheese
Questions: Ask any coach and they will be able to give you more information! If you would like to know more about Manna Food Center, check out their website: www.mannafood.org
Please give all that you can; you can make a difference this holiday season!
Warm Up 3
2 Min of Single/Double Under
Agility Ladder - Burpee Challenge
20M Walking Lunge with Twist
10 Leg Swings (Front/Back & Side/Side)
Inch Worm Progressions
16 Mountain Climbers (8/side)
Hamstring Stretch Band - Lay on back, band around the foot, leg straight
Thoracic Stretch over PVC
Five sets of:
Back Squat x 10 reps
Rest 30 seconds
Bent Over Rows x 10
Rest 30 seconds
Dumbbell Shoulder Press x 10 reps
Rest 2 minutes
Bent Over Row
Metcon (AMRAP - Rounds and Reps)
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
60 Double Unders
30 Air Squats
15 Kettlebell Swings (32/24 kg)
14 Burpees then:
Tabata Hollow Holds
Out of Town WOD
15 min AMRAP
10 Box Jumps (use what height you can find)
250m Row or Run