Balance Your Cheers and Sweat: Navigating Alcohol’s Impact on Your Fitness Journey While Traveling

Going on a business trip often can lead to the situation of alcohol being consumed. And it’s not always that easy to pass on the participation. I fight this most business trips, as I am a social person and have always enjoyed having drinks with others. I am also the kind of person that is tracking every habit on a daily basis, and drinking alcohol puts a tick against my record. Plus, if you get too carried away, are you going to be in any shape to get that workout in that you planned the day you arrived and saw the equipment you were working with (maybe weeks in advance once we get our network rocking and rolling on the data)?

There are some obvious paths to take in this regard. The first, and maybe not most enjoyable one, is to abstain from drinking. You can still hang out and be social, but you’re going to let your colleagues/customers know that you won’t be drinking. You can chalk it up to some new personal fitness goals that you are taking on, and need to be 100% in the gym the next day. Depending on who you hang out with, this may be easier with some than others to discuss. 

Another way is to find out if you have flexibility in your schedule to get your workout done later in the day, whereas the drinking won’t be as detrimental as first thing in the morning. You’ll have time to drink plenty of water, get the right nutrients, and get the day moving so that you’re ready to still get it! I find that I have to get up extremely early on work trips to get in a workout. A 3 AM workout after drinks is a sure way to start hating road workouts, and opens you up to injury. Most of us have some down time in the afternoon/evening before dinner. We all like to catch up on the inbox, but this is where you have to prioritize your health. Create a 20 minute, full intensity workout that you can squeeze in and still have time to catch up on work. A big part of being successful with your road training is to be flexible. Have a plan, but be ready to adapt. Always have that 15-30 minute workout in your back pocket!

Tailoring your workout accordingly to the night(s) you’ll be drinking is another way that I handle this. If I know I’m going out and having more than a few dinner beers, I will not be putting burpees in the workout for the next morning. You want to wake up and want to still make the workout happen despite not feeling your best. Throwing overwhelming endurance exercises in the morning after can mentally take you out of getting any good work in. Focus on weight lifting and taking plenty of rest between sets to allow yourself to continue pushing hard. I’m notorious for wanting to “punish” my body and get those drinks out ASAP. But I set myself up to fail when I take this approach. Not only is the body more susceptible to injury when hungover, but you quickly take shortcuts if the workout is too intense. Tell yourself that the next morning, you’ll be adding in all the endurance and quick pace stuff to get your body flushed and back on track. But to get there, you need that easier “back on the tracks” session.

Of course everyone handles drinking (or not drinking) differently. I am a big proponent of enjoying life, and that at times we can let ourselves break form. But this can become a trainwreck if you don’t have a plan on how to corral it, especially on the road. I’m raising a glass to your next killer road workout!

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