How to Stay Fit While Partying

In last week’s episode, you discovered how to stay fit and healthy when parenting. But what if you’re actually more interested in partying? Partying can be hard on the body, but there are ways you can stay fit and healthy even when partying.

Ben Greenfield,
February 27, 2017
Episode #326

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In last week’s episode, you discovered how to stay fit and healthy when parenting.

But let’s face it: you may not be interested in being a parent. Perhaps you’re actually more interested in partying. Or perhaps you occasionally need a break from being a parent (or a student or a CEO or an athlete) to throw down the occasional bout of hedonism. Work hard, play hard … right?

The problem is that partying—especially when alcohol is involved—is pretty hard on the body.

For example, alcohol can have a variety of different effects on the heart, including creating abnormalities in heart rates referred to as arrhythmias. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains that there are two types of alcohol induced arrhythmias: atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. Atrial fibrillation occurs when the upper chambers of the heart weakly shudder but are unable to fully contract, which can cause blood to build up and clot in these upper chambers, and if these blood clots travel from the heart to the brain, a stroke can take place. If these clots travel to other organs, an embolism (a blood vessel blockage) can occur.

Meanwhile, ventricular tachycardia affects the lower chambers of your heart. The electrical impulses that keep blood pumping through the heart get altered so that they circle through the heart’s ventricles too many times, which causes the ventricles to contract excessively, the heart to beat too quickly not enough blood filling up in the heart. Because of this, the the rest of the body won’t get supplied with enough blood, cuasing dizziness, lightheadedness, unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and sometimes sudden death.

Then there’s your immune system. If you’ve ever wondered why you seem to battle more colds or other infections after you’ve been partying a lot, it’s not necessarily because you’ve shared one too many drinks with someone who may have been sick. The National Institutes of Health has shown that alcohol suppresses all aspects of your immune system, including the ability of your white blood cells to effectively fight harmful bacteria and the production and development of your body’s other immune cells. Chronic drinkers are more likely to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis, and just drinking an excessive amount on just one occasion can impair your immune system.

Drinking alcohol and excessive partying, along with lack of sleep, can negatively impact the results that you’re hoping to see from your workouts, including growth hormone and testosterone release. In addition, when you have alcohol in your body, your metabolism makes it a priority to break down alcohol instead of burning fats and carbs. Alcohol can also lead to the breakdown of amino acids for fat storage, and increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which also increases fat storage in the body. Besides breaking down the amino acids that should be used for muscle recovery and can also help with sleep, alcohol decreases muscle recovery and performance by decreasing sleep quality and how long you sleep, leading to further decreases in human growth hormone production (which is very important for building muscle) by up to 70%!

Finally, alcohol can not only interfere with multiple aspects of your brain function, including your behavior, mood, and communications pathways, but it also irritates the lining of the stomach, and this can reduce capacity to absorb nutrients and increase the frequency at which you have to urinate, resulting in dehydration and gut issues.


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