Here’s my guide to giving yourself as much of a chance of staying as healthy as possible during Fresher’s week!
1.) Drink Lots of Water:
You’ve heard this one before, and you should have listened! Alcohol is a diuretic meaning it makes you urinate more than usual, which you may have noticed after frequent trips to the toilet on a night out. Due to this dehydration you wake up with a splitting headache and a mouth drier than Gandhi’s flip flops.
During the nights out ensure you have several glasses of tap water, and start the trend early at pre-drinks with a sneaky glass of water between beverages and drinking games. Also before bed down around a litre of water. This may not cure your hangover but certainly lessen the stomach and headache the morning after.
Some studies have shown these do little to nothing, whereas others support their effects- either way these pills will act as a placebo at the least to the hung-over fresher. So one or two on waking may give your body (and mind) the boost it needs to get out of bed, rehydrate and refuel- and replace lost vitamins and minerals, especially if you’ve thrown up most of the contents of yesterdays food the night before!
3.) Fruit and vegetables:
For all the prior good intentions, you will probably find yourself scoffing greasy, unhealthy fast food, with the only vegetables consumed being drowned in fat from your kebab or burger on one or more of your nights out- and even the morning after! The vitamins, minerals, and macros you will attain from fruit and vegetables, could be crucial in preventing the looming ‘Fresher’s Flu’ from catching up with you.
‘Superfoods’ like broccoli, beetroot, blueberries, etc are good starting points, but try to get as many different coloured fruit and vegetables as you can- more different colours generally implies a greater variety of vitamins and minerals consumed, and again the fact you are eating healthy foods will help as a placebo too.
Our Super Greens are a super easy way to help bolster your fruit and veg intake, and you simply mix them in water or a protein shake.
4.) Don’t drink on an empty stomach:
This will result in your alcohol tolerance being lowered effectively, as there is no food in your system to slow down alcohol absorption. This may seem tempting to some to get drunk quicker, and although this may be true, you will probably get too drunk, which usually never ends well- especially around people you’re trying to make a good first impression on! Don’t drink your way through your hangover either, apart from eventually leading to a worse hangover, it isn’t a sound plan.
If you only eat one meal all day, make sure it’s a good dinner; including carbohydrate, protein, vegetables and some healthy fats. This will ensure the rate at which you become intoxicated is easier to control, rather than going from sober to stumbling in a matter of minutes when it all hits you seemingly at once.
5.) No painkillers on an empty stomach:
Massive no- this will aggravate your aching stomach further and, depending on the strength and frequency of the drug you take, could cause you some organ damage. Always seek medical advice and follow the instructions if you using any medication during Freshers’ Week.
6.) Avoid leftover takeaways:
Do not consume any leftover takeaways you come across the morning after a night on the town. Food poisoning and the almost inevitable fresher’s flu are not a good combination, especially without your parents to look after you, and having not signed up to the local doctor’s yet (not fun when ill!). The food from most takeaways is cooked in a rush with cheap ingredients, so probably not the cleanest- so add 10 hours in a dirty student kitchen at room temperature to this equation and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Try to avoid takeaways altogether when possible- and please don’t eat them the morning after if they haven’t been refridgerated! Food poisoning could ruin the remains of your Fresher’s Week and cause regression of your physique.
7.) Can’t keep any food down?
Food goes in, comes straight back out… familiar? Sometimes after a heavy night, having ignored the above pointers, this can happen. You need to know the right foods and drinks to eat to settle that storm in your stomach.
A half serving whey protein shake with lots of cold water is a good start post-chunder and easy to keep down, also toast, crackers and digestive biscuits are also good solid foods to get your stomach working normally again.
Sweat it out! Not a fan of this, as it usually involves vomiting it out, and studies don’t support the idea of sweating off a hangover. However completing exercise results in a feel good sensation via the body releasing endorphins.
So the answer here is get off your butt and do something; whatever you can do without being banned from the facility for plastering it with the contents of your stomach, whether it be weights, cardio or a circuit.
9.) Consumption of alcohol:
The body can metabolise 1 beer/shot an hour on average. This means you should try to limit the drinks to one an hour… Well this probably isn’t going to happen, but I tried to tell you!
The solution here is to this is slow down the rate of drinking. But as this may not happen, so just ensure you’re drinking some water alongside your beverages.
10.) Don’t eat in your lectures over the first few weeks and take antibacterial hand gel with you:
I guarantee you will find it hard to hear your lecturer over the chorus of coughs, sneezes, sniffs and moans. The lecture hall in the first week is not a place to eat or drink due to the risk of catching the army of sick students’ various colds and bugs.
When you drink water in your lecture keep the bottle in your bag, and the same goes for food, but if you can avoid eating do so. Also antibacterial hand gel (which is all too commonly used) serves a purpose at the first few weeks of lectures; use it after you leave and or before you consume food and drink afterward!
This is a pretty extreme measure, but you’ll notice how many people are ill in the first month or so, mark my words!
The reality of Fresher’s Week is that you are more than likely going to drink to excess most nights. The advice laid out above will help limit the damage you inflict upon your body, and hopefully prevent the illness you will see many of your fellow students suffer over the following days and weeks- the dreaded Freshers’ Flu.
Avoiding illness, doing some exercise daily, and hanging onto a reasonably healthy diet plan should keep your body ticking over and will allow you to avoid large regression with regards to your strength and aesthetic goals.
Finally university- especially your first year- is the ideal place to pack on muscle mass, so jump on the band wagon of gaining a stone on average during your first year at university BUT make sure it’s a stone of lean muscle mass rather than fat! Our Bulking Bible is a great guide for September through to the new year, and the Cutting Guide to get in shape for the sunnier months and post exam celebrations.
For our female students the Bikini Guide is also a great investment!