Bouncing back from temptation

20:44, Mar 08 2012


Most of you will agree that as the years advance a night on the town takes a while to get over.

Some of us have been lucky enough to bounce back fairly quickly, but as age wearies us we’re often condemned to a day of self-pity on the couch following a few too many.

That can even extend to a couple of days in extreme cases but either way it affects your fitness.

Over the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed a few shindigs with four weddings and an engagement do plus the usual catch-ups in between.


And I have been severely punished on at least two occasions for those nights out.

So as Round the Bays approaches, I wondered just how much damage am I doing by going out?

Along with a fitful training regime, how much has it put back my ambitions of breezing through Round the Bays?

I put the question to Anna Keeley of ABC Nutrition and I didn’t like her answer much.

“Even a single binge will result in some set back,” she said. 

“When training for a big event big nights out should be kept to a minimum in order to get the maximum benefit from your training program.”

Apart from the obvious affect of dehydration she said the biggest impact was on your training programme as you missed training sessions or lacked the enthusiasm or physical state to train as hard or at all.

But the news isn’t all bad for those who enjoy a wee tipple and the safe limits actually seem like a lot.

Anna says for women it’s 14 standard drinks a week but no more than four drinks on one occasion. For men it’s 21 standard drinks and no more than six drinks per occasion.

Both sexes should aim for at least one or two alcohol free days a week and abstain for drinking at least 24 hours out from any endurance event.

And for those kidding yourself, here are a few myths around alcohol and training, courtesy of Anna.

Carbo loading with beer is a myth. Alcoholic drinks will not top up glycogen stores.  Most calories in alcoholic drinks come from alcohol not carbohydrate.

Myth - Alcohol is easily burned off. Alcohol is high in calories 7cal/gm and can easy cause energy surplus and therefore weight gain especially around the tummy.  It is high calorie and low nutritional value.

Myth - Alcohol is not sweated off with exercise – at high levels it does cause damage to the body.  It is best to drink within safe limits.

Anna also had some advice for competitors around the right kind of nutrition on race-day.

For best results, competitors should have a meal two to three hours before the run or snack one to two hours before.

Ideal options are usually high-carb and moderate protein meals such as cereal with milk, yoghurt and fruit, rice or pasta dishes with chicken, vegetables and tomato based sauce, sandwiches with protein filling or a smoothie with milk, yoghurt and fruit.

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After last week’s almost-giving-up debacle I am right back onboard the training regime. In fact, I’m almost beginning to have fun during the jogs – you know, apart from that feeling where I think my lungs might burst or my legs might fall off because my muscles hurt so much. Or maybe it is that feeling which makes it all the more enjoyable, in a sick sort of way.

Anyway, the (almost) daily run has given me a bit of time to reflect on exercise, the world around me, and life in general, and I have had the following thoughts:

1. You really can’t worry about what the people around you think of your exercise attire or techniques. Just run in the way that feels right to you. And wear whatever you like! To prove this point, I fully intend to purchase one of these nifty numbers in black after I have completed the 8.4kms. I don’t care if I look like a loser, skirts are just far more flattering than shorts and if it encourages me to keep up the fitness program I am all for it.

2. People should not walk on footpaths three (or more) abreast unless there is ample room to do so. I remind myself of one of those anonymous members of the public who always annoyingly used to complain to our high school about our poor road-user etiquette, but turns out they were right all along.  It really bugs me having to run almost in the gutter to get past a whole bunch of people ambling along across the whole footpath.

3. Talkback radio is a surprisingly good alternative to music – and not just for the over-60s.

4. Bribery is a good way to force yourself to keep going when it really, really hurts.

5. But if it hurts too much, it’s surely OK to take a wee walking break.

6. Even muscles you haven’t used in over a decade can be functional.

7. Having a goal to work towards that involves potential humiliation at the end is a great motivator. It’s much easier to get out of bed and just go if you’ve told all your friends and family you’re taking part in an 8.4km “fun run” and you intend to jog at least a fair part of it.

8. It better be true that you put on muscle before losing weight. I have actually somehow put on two or three kgs since starting this running gig, and it doesn’t seem like I have been eating more than usual. If the trend continues upwards I am going to be pretty gutted.

9. People who say running is easy are liars.

10. BUT – it is easier than you think it will be when you begin, so it’s worthwhile giving it a go.

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* How's your Round The Bays journey going? Are you struggling in your training? Leave your comments and fitness tips below.