We have all been there. We wake up after a night of drinking, and we are hungover. It is not a good feeling. But what about if it’s our workout day? Is working out when hungover a good idea?
In this article, we are going to discuss whether or not you should workout when you are hungover. And how you can make it more enjoyable to do so.
Full disclosure, I quit drinking in 2015, so my view on alcohol and physical fitness is that drinking negatively affects your physical fitness goals. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that alcohol slows muscle growth.
But you are not here to listen to me talk about not drinking. You are hungover and you need enough evidence to help you decide if working out when hungover is a good idea.
I am going to start by giving you arguments from both sides, and then help you decide what decision to make.
Before we get started, if you need a workout routine, download our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). You will find our FREE workout plans incredible for muscle growth. And if you want to build your own custom workout plan, you can do that here too.
Why working out when hungover is a good idea
Ok, so you are hungover and today is chest day. Why should you workout instead of skipping today? First of all, you need to stick to your routine. I have seen this happen to too many people.
They skip one day and end up using another excuse the next time. Sooner or later, they are working out 1 day per week, and then no days per week. This isn’t going to help you hit your goals.
It is all about building good exercise habits. Once you get to the point where you can show up to the gym during your regularly scheduled routine, your results are going to skyrocket.
Another reason to workout when hungover is to get your blood and sweat flowing. This is going to accelerate the process of expelling alcohol from your system.
According to your body, alcohol is essentially a poison that needs to be eliminated. That is why you are hungover in the first place. Your body is overwhelmed by the toxins in your body.
Working out is going to speed up the process of eliminating these toxins.
Pro tip here. Drink a ton of water. I am talking about an absurd amount of water. When I used to drink, my morning routine would be to chug a half gallon of water. This is going to jumpstart your metabolism and eliminate the toxins quicker. If you struggle with drinking water, learn how to trick yourself into drinking more water.
And this brings me to my last point. The faster your metabolism is running, the quicker your hangover is going to disappear. And you know what jump starts your metabolism? Working out.
So be sure to take all of this into account when you are making your decision.
Why working out when hungover is a bad idea
We have discussed the reasons why I think that working out when hungover is a good idea. What about the reasons that I would avoid it?
Well, first of all, if it’s not already a regularly scheduled workout day, I think there is no need to do it. While working out is going to jumpstart your metabolism, it isn’t going to cut your hangover time in half.
Working out isn’t a magic cure for getting rid of a hangover immediately. In fact, I think the best way to dull a hangover is to be so hydrated that your body quickly repairs damaged cells and the toxins won’t be as concentrated.
Another reason I would avoid working out when hungover is due to the fact that your body is still not all there. You still have alcohol in your system. Your muscles are not going to be fully operational.
It really just depends on what you plan on doing in the gym. Are you going to try and bench press 225lbs? Then it is probably a bad idea. Are you going to do some dumbbell curls? I would be less concerned about that.
According to the national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism, being hungover increases inflammation and causes gastrointestinal issues. Therefore it is safe to assume that your muscles are affected by this.
Really what it comes down to is personal preference. If you want to push yourself to workout, that is your decision.
Making the right decision
The right decision is ultimately your decision. I can only help guide you to what you will find to be the best decision for you.
Personally, I think that if today is a regularly scheduled workout day, you should at least go to the gym. But, you can use less weights and not push yourself as hard.
The truth is, no matter how hard you try, you are not going to be able to push yourself as hard as you would on a normal workout day. Your body just won’t allow it. Embrace this, and take this time to work on your form with lower weight.
As I mentioned in the previous section, if today is not a regularly scheduled day in your routine, don’t push it by working out. Working out when hungover is not a magic pill that is automatically going to cure your hangover.
The whole point here is to continue with the habit of going to the gym and making progress. Progress is something that a lot of people take for granted. We want instant results, and if we don’t get instant results, we give up.
Make those small incremental changes and don’t let up until you are where you want to be.
Main Point: Is working out when hungover a good idea?
All in all, it isn’t necessarily a bad idea to workout when hungover. If you choose to do so, you will jumpstart your metabolism and accelerate the sweating out of toxins.
When you are hungover, working out is not the first thing that might come to your mind. But, since I am an advocate of building good exercise habits, I highly support it if today is a workout day.
I have learned that if I use any excuse to skip a workout day, I will be able to find another excuse down the road. Eventually, I will start skipping one day per week. Then 2 days. Then I will give up.
I know this because I lived it. As an extremely scrawny guy, I struggled to put on weight and build muscle. I always gave up too easily. That is until one day I dedicated myself to not skipping any days. Sure enough, I gained about 70 pounds in 3 years. Not bad for a scrawny guy.
My whole point here is that it is up to you to make the decision to workout if you are hungover. If you are going to do it, just make sure that you modify your exercises to not be as strenuous. Work on your form and go with lighter weights.
The key here is to just show up and continue with your good habits.