Just in time for the party season, some old killjoys at the journal Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise have released their findings on the effects on muscle of prolonged heavy alcohol intake (six weeks is prolonged, apparently). The bad news is that it seems too much boozing puts all that effort in the gym to waste - in the study, alcohol prevented the usual resistance-training-induced muscle response that leads to increased size and strength. The good news is that the results may not necessarily hold true for humans, because the study was carried out on rats. Bet that put paid to their rodenty Christmas plans ...
Camp it up
Just found out you've got a place in the 2006 London marathon? Book yourself a place at a marathon training camp, and you'll be reassured that you aren't the only mug planning to spend winter getting up on dark, chilly mornings to run silly distances. You'll also find out all you need to know about training, nutrition, footwear and race day itself - with plenty of chances to put the theory into practice. The weekends, organised by TrailPlus in association with Runner's World magazine, take place in the Forest of Dean and run from the weekend of January 6-8 through to the end of February. They cost £185, including all training sessions, individual programme advice, dorm accommodation (it's like being back in the Brownies) and hearty food. Call 01457 855425 (trailplus.com).
Since 1932, our Alpine friends have had Olverum to turn to when they've overdone it on the cross-country skiing or the Schuhplattler. Now we, too, can soak our aching limbs in this therapeutic bath oil, with its impressive 25% concentration of essential oils, including lavender, pine, eucalyptus, rosemary and juniper. Who cares if we're wiped out by a hard day's shopping and not snow-shoeing? Walking in high-heeled boots is just as tiring as those silly tennis rackets you strap to your feet, anyway ... Doubles up as a massage oil, too. Olverum Bath Oil, £13.95 for 100ml, widely available.