As soon as 5 pm rolled around on Friday, you were out the door of your office and headed to happy hour. You promised yourself you would be good – two drinks, maximum.
You had plans to go home, barely tipsy, order Chinese and finish the rest of “Scandal.”
You were going to wake up bright and early on Saturday, head to spin class, do your laundry and just generally feel productive and healthy.
But then the drinks were cheap. You told yourself three glasses of wine would hardly get you wasted. Someone ordered tequila shots. You went to the next bar. Some guy bought you and your friends another round of drinks. You started thinking about your ex who wouldn’t text you back. Your friend snatched your phone away and made you talk to the group of men standing at the bar. Someone handed you a beer. Your favorite song came on and you were on the dance floor.
More drinks, more dancing.
And then it’s 11:30 the next morning and your head is pounding. Your dying phone is next you, but you refuse to acknowledge the presence of embarrassing, incoherent texts.
You know you won’t be leaving your bed all day. Literally everything hurts.
You grab your phone (quickly delete any mortifying evidence) and text your friend, “What happened last night?? I’m so sore!!!!!”
While we might not be able to tell you whom you made out with or how many drinks you ended up chugging, we can tell you why your entire body hurts after a night of drinking.
Blame it on the alcohol.
Everyone knows large amounts of alcohol are not good for the body. But according to a study cited by Women’s Health, heavy drinking on a night out can actually cause gut bacteria to make their way out of the stomach and release damaging toxins into your bloodstream. These so-called endotoxins mess with your immune system, and your body starts taking nutrients from your muscles.
So that explains why your arms are hurting. You might feel like you’ve been hit by a bus, but it’s just those endotoxins causing your muscles to feel so tender.
Heels might not have helped.
You knew you would regret strapping on those new black pumps the moment you stepped out of your apartment. But you had to wear them. Your outfit would’ve looked dumb if you wore flats. And now you (and your feet) are paying the price.
As Live Science notes, choosing to wear high heels every day can actually change the way your feet are formed. But because you probably save heels for special occasions or weekend nights, this probably hasn’t happened.
High heels do, however, raise your ankles and force the calf muscles to contract. Just make sure you stretch as soon as you wake up the next morning if you don’t want any lasting damage.
Your thighs were burning while you danced.
Due to the DJ’s amazing playlist mixed with one too many margaritas, you probably didn’t notice the leg workout you were getting on the dance floor. All you cared about was forcing everyone to scream “Wagonwheel” and avoiding the sweaty guy trying to kiss you.
But the dancing, paired with the miserable 20-block walk home, took a toll on your glutes and quads. And while I couldn’t find any concrete science on the specific muscles used while grinding or Whipping and Nae Naeing, party workouts and dance classes are starting to become more and more popular. Dancing is fun and it can help shape and tone your body.
So even if you missed your morning spin class, at least your butt and legs make it feel like you went?
Alcohol makes your muscle recovery a lot slower.
Alcohol does more than just make you dial your crush and get in a fight with a bartender: It also messes with the breakdown of lactic acid. Ring any bells?
Lactic acid is the stuff your high school soccer coach brought up when everyone complained about being sore during the first week of tryouts. Scientific American points out lactic acid is produced during demanding exercise, but it isn’t the buildup making your muscles hurt.
Did you manage to fit in a long run before the pregame started? Well, those three shots you took in a row are going to mess with how the lactic acid is broken down, and they certainly aren’t going to help you feel any better the next morning.
You may have been drinking, but you’re dehydrated.
Yeah, yeah. You’ve always been told to alternate your drinks with a glass of water and drink a big glass before you pass out. But I bet you can count on one hand how many times you’ve successfully managed to do both those things.
Instead, you’ve probably had eight beers within a span of two hours and gone to the bathroom at least three times during the same timeframe. According to ABC Science, you kept having to pee because alcohol decreases the amount of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) your body makes. And because you’re peeing so much, you’re becoming dehydrated.
When you’re dehydrated, your muscles aren’t happy.
So unless you’re down to obsessively monitor your drinking habits, you better have a Gatorade and two massive water bottles next to your bed.