Barbecues, garden parties, sidewalk cafés: there's a fair chance you'll have a bit too much to drink on a warm summer night. But what if you're expected to be at the gym the next day? "Then you had best stay home", says sports nutrition expert Stephanie Scheirlynck. "People often think working out helps to cure a hangover, but that is a myth."
"Alcohol causes a moisture deficiency in the brain, since alcohol is a diuretic", Stephanie says. "The lack of fluid brings your brain in immediate contact with your skull, which causes the dreaded headache. By working out, you lose even more fluid by sweating, which will only worsen your hangover. Alcohol is not stored in a specific organ, but literally pervades every part of the body and influences all tissues and organs. It is a common misconception that athletes break down alcohol more quickly than non-athletes, thanks to their exercise. Physical exercise not at all affects the processing of alcohol. So, after a wild night, you had best skip your work-out session and drink a lot of water."
However, that doesn't mean you can never touch a drop of alcohol. "There's a difference between bibbing one or two glasses of wine and quaffing barrels of beer. For instance, when riders win a stage of the Tour the France, they also drink a glass of champagne. However, alcohol does not improve your performance, quite the contrary. It reduces your strength and stamina and increases the production of lactic acid in the muscles. So, drinking only adversely affects the body. Therefore, best leave that last beer on the table."