Of course, the weekend should be all fun and games. But don’t let that derail the hard work you’ve been putting into your fitness routine all week long. Whether you’re embarking on a weight loss or fitness journey, here’s how to enjoy the weekend without ruining your progress.
1. Use Exercise To Support Your Mood
You already know that exercise can be a real mood-booster, but the monotony of those same gym walls can make it feel like a grind – especially on the weekend. If you spend a lot of time in the gym during the week, use the weekends to get outside and exercise. It will feel like a treat, and you’ll get the added boost of fresh air, sunshine, and nature.
Even simple exercise pays off. For example, you could grab some friends and go hiking or biking. If you love to run, grab a few people for a weekly Saturday fun run around a local park. You’ll be working multiple muscle groups without even realizing it. In the summertime, stand-up paddleboarding is an amazing workout for your core muscles.
You can all reward yourselves afterward with a “refuel” – like a protein-rich breakfast with carb-dense vegetables at your favorite cafe.
2. Squeeze In One Solid Workout
If you still prefer the gym, try to squeeze in one solid strength training workout for the weekend. Saturday morning is ideal, as then it’s done and dusted — and you’ll be left with a feeling of accomplishment for the weekend.
The weekend also brings extra time to many people’s lives, so you won’t feel as rushed at the gym. You may even decide to do a slightly longer routine on the weekend.
If you struggle to work out after 5 p.m. Friday, consider enrolling in a personal trainer session on a Saturday. It will feel like something different, and they’ll bring the motivation for you. Or you could even treat yourself to a YouTube workout video in your own living room.
No matter what you choose, have one goal in mind – to just move. As Tony Horton often says,
“Sitting still is just about the worst thing you can do. It’s the new going backward.”
3. Realize Diet And Exercise Are Intertwined
No matter how many healthy activities you plug into your weekend fitness routine, if you still eat and drink poorly, it will be for nearly nothing. Diet and exercise are so closely linked that you cannot look after one and not the other and expect to get any kind of results.
That’s why so many stress the importance of having a “healthy lifestyle.” Because it’s the entire picture that creates a healthy life – healthy food choices and plenty of exercise.
4. Eat Healthy 80 Percent Of The Time
So, what does healthy weekend eating look like? Think of it this way – have a “cheat meal,” not a cheat weekend. It’s absolutely fine to spoil yourself on the weekend with something you love – did someone say pizza night? But savor that special thing as a treat, and don’t turn it into a weekend-long, junk food binge.
The best way to combat this is to make sure you’ve been to the grocery store prior to the weekend and stocked up on plenty of healthy staples. That way, when you enter the kitchen hungry, you have plenty of good food choices.
5. Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Another way to eat healthily on the weekend is to keep healthy snacks on hand when you’re away from home. You may already do this for work. This means having the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks. When you go out, carry some with you – in your bag, pockets, or car.
These might include high-protein snacks or snacks rich in fatty acids like: trail mix, raw vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, canned tuna, nut butter and celery sticks, roasted chickpeas, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, edamame, or whole pieces of fruit.
The problem with snacking when you’re out and about is that the options are often limited to sugary, processed foods, like candy, chips, cookies, and chocolate.
6. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
A few cocktails may help you to unwind and relax, but weekend drinking has derailed more than a few fitness dreams. It’s easy to think that liquid doesn’t count — but many alcoholic beverages are notoriously high in calories.1 And, let’s not even mention the anti-motivational effects of a hangover.
Don’t forget to drink water. Water is always a healthy option. It’s also a great way to hydrate and slow yourself down between drinks. Try to drink a full glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
Healthy living is also associated with a healthy mind, and limiting screen time may help make you feel more relaxed and less anxious.2 Screens also put a strain on your eyes, and news or social media can put a strain on your sense of sanity.
Lessening your time in front of a screen is simply going to make you feel MUCH better.
So, put away the laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and either enjoy in-person time with your loved ones, or turn to nature to refresh your body, mind, and spirit.
8. Have a Plan
The greatest tool you have toward a healthy weekend is to have a plan. Though this might not sound relaxing, setting some boundaries will actually allow you to chill out and live more freely.
For example, if you know you have a birthday party on Saturday night, then plan for that to be your cheat meal. Exercise on Saturday morning, as you won’t feel like it on Sunday after a late night. If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by sudden menu or drink decisions, decide these ahead of time, too. You can find almost all restaurant menus online these days.
This basic plan alone could save you major excess calories while also ensuring that your fitness routine stays on track.
Fit Tip Friday
Make fitness a top priority whether you’re trying to keep your body weight down or trying to stay fit and strong. It doesn’t need to consume your weekend. Get it out of the way early, or rope in your friends and family, and make weekend workouts fun.
Daily motivation is much easier to find when you’re in a fitness routine that doesn’t falter. Old habits may die hard, but so do healthy habits. It’s the “habit” part that makes things stick.
Finally, remember that exercise and diet are intricately connected. When you read about energy in = energy out it’s talking about just this. The more calories you consume, the more you need to exercise because they work in tandem.
Now, what are you waiting for? It’s Friday. Go embrace that beautiful weekend.