I will be heading to Boomtown Festival next weekend and Reading festival at the end of the month, while I might try and sneak in a couple of Brighton and London based festivals here and there if I can, so its going to be a busy month! The issue I face is I work really hard in the gym to get resutls and hate the idea of throwing all that work out the window over a 4 day binge.
For that reason, I started to identify where I slip up and how I can target this issue. I know what everyone thinks, alcohol is 100% to blame. OK, you’re pretty much spot on, I will probably be drinking pretty heavily over the festivals, but I think it is how you recover and return the nutrients into your system will affect how much your results are altered.
Below I will cover the main points I am considering and how I will target these issues.
When you drink alcohol, one of the main nutrients which is heavily depleted is Vitamin B. In fact, you drain a huge amount of vitamins from drinking, but none more so than Vitamin B6. For this reason, I will be bringing a multi vitamin tablet to take first thing in the morning. When people tend to buy vitamin packs for holidays or festivals, they naturally think of getting a Vitamin C tablet, which is hugely beneficial, but honestly it is so much better to get an overall multi-vitamin, which will also top up your minerals such as zinc and magnesium. Also, before picking one (KEY POINT), go for one that ISN’T too high in Vitamin A, as overdosing on this can have detrimental effects on the body.
I will also be taking a berocca just before I start drinking again, which has been shown to have huge beneficial factors (or any other vitamin capsule high in B6), as by increasing the levels significantly, you can afford to lose some through alcohol. You honestly don’t have to go with berocca, there are actually a lot of better options, in fact muuuuuuuch better options, but I love the Fanta style taste!
Whether you are trying to pack on muscle mass, cut body fat or generally improve your fitness, protein is absolutely essential. This macro nutrient should be the most consumed part of your diet (I would recommend working out your macro nutrient requirements, rather than just working out your calorie requirements, to properly understand how to achieve your ideal weight and physique). If you are cautious about putting on weight, then you will be happy to know that protein is a thermogenic, which means you will burn more calories, while if you have put on muscle previously, protein will protect against muscle protein breakdown. If you are female and aren’t bothered about the muscle breakdown, just think that is the part that makes you look toned and well shaped, trust me you don’t want to lose the muscle!
Also, for those watching their calories, if you go for a whey protein isolate, they average only 100 calories, being ridiculously low in sugars and fat, if not empty of them, meaning they are a guilt free, great tasting treat.
When you get hungry at a festival, the natural reaction is either to get one of their meals they serve, which are high in saturated fat and salts, or to purchase a snacky food such as crisps and chocolate bars. If you have a healthy supply of protein bars and other high protein snacks, these will keep you going for a while longer, they are a much healthier option and you don’t have to feel any guilt. I’ll be honest, they still aren’t THAT healthy, I wouldn’t recommend buying them when going to the office, but you don’t have much of a choice at a festival, as you are without cooking equipment or a fridge, therefore they make for a great temporary solution. If you want a heads up on the best one I have found so far, the CNP Pro Flapjacks seem to be really low in sugar in comparison, plus contain about 18 grams of protein (not huge, but the lower sugar content was a winner for me). You can even buy meal replacements at multiple types of online retailers.
It might be hot, meaning you will not just lose water as you sweat, you also lose a large amount of electrolytes. Do you know what else makes you lose electrolytes? Alcohol! So both you will hopefully see in large amounts at a festival, therefore topping up electrolytes is incredibly important. So here is the issue in my eyes. You could buy one of those powerade or gatorade drinks to get down you first thing in the morning after a night before. I’m not going to lie, I might bring one or two as an OK solution. However, they are incredibly high in sugar. If you don’t use up sugar, it is converted into body fat. Lets just face it, you aren’t going to use up all the sugar supplied in these drinks, as they are actually made for athletes about to undertake a marathon or some form of heavy sporting event which requires intense boost in energy. So, here is the solution, there are a number of gels which can be mixed with water, or electrolyte specific packs you can buy, they tend not to taste great but they will really help you on a hangover day. They will both help you to recover quicker and also to help your organs recover from the damage. As well as sports nutrition sites, you can often find these at hiking style stores. One last reminder, they Really don’t taste nice, so wolf them down in one gulp!
I’ve stopped myself there, I have a strong passion for health and fitness so I could have blabbered on for hours, hope I didn’t bore everyone! If you ever want tips on what to take, let me know, always happy to help.