When we are looking to make change to in our health and wellness the grind can be pretty taxing, so most weekends we end up taking a bit of a break, indulge a bit in some treats and take it easy. It’s just a few days right, how much can it really hurt?

Well… quite a bit actually!

When we break it down, weekends (if we think just Saturday and Sunday) makes up 104 days a year! That’s almost 30% of the year, and that does not include long weekends, holidays, birthdays, vacations, and anniversaries. If we are looking at the grand scale of things, these weekends add up significantly so when we are looking to see changes in ourselves we have to utilize these days as well to see the best results we can.

So how can we maximize our weekends? Well, kind reader, lets break down some areas we typically struggle with, shall we?

We Have No Structure

A big reason we fall out of our habits is simply because we have no structure on the weekend. During weekdays we are always aware of what time of day it is. We wake up at a certain time so we can get to work, we keep an eye on the clock for breaks/lunch, we know when it’s time to go home, and we know when we need to go to bed. So when we are aware of the time of day, it becomes easy to know when it’s time to eat, when it’s time to drink more water, when we can plan our workout and we can plan how long we are going to sleep for.

On weekends however, things become a bit more relaxed. We may get to sleep in a little later than normal (depending on the kiddo’s), get to lay in bed a bit longer, and not have strict timeframes to get things done in. When this happens, it makes it harder to stay in the habits we develop during the weekday.

When we wake up a little later, we eat a little later. So then maybe we skip a meal because it’s almost lunch. We do some running around and miss another meal, and then have a bigger dinner, or snack at night on some less than ideal snacks because we are hungry from missing those meals earlier. Perhaps water was lacking since we haven’t been paying attention, and then maybe we stay up a little later than we normally do, throwing off our sleep habits.

Without some type of structure we are setting ourselves up for failure. How can we work through this? Set alarms on your phone, make sure you have quick and easy snacks ready to go, and create a loose game plan for the day in the morning. Adding just a little more structure can help make weekends a little easier to get through.

Making Poor Nutritional Choices

Weekends are prime time for junk food and indulging just a little too much, but we don’t do ourselves many favors heading into the weekend to get ahead of this. Most times when we are getting food prepared for the week, we ignore the weekends completely, or we don’t have our selves stocked and ready to go with some healthier options. We tend to be busier, and as mentioned above, less structured on our weekends, so if we don’t have anything readily available it’s easy to order food in, or go grab some easy options at the grocery store.

When we are hungry, or when we are bored, we are more inclined to pick options that may not be the best for our goals and what we want to achieve. Nutrition can make or break our weekends, and while having one meal out might not be a big issue, we still have to pay attention to what we are doing throughout the day. If we are having “treat” meals for every meal of the day it’s not exactly what we need to see changes in our body.

This is where tracking can become hugely helpful. If we know what we are consuming, we can ensure we aren’t going too far off the path we need to see our desired changes. If we are thinking we want a burger and fries for dinner, we just have to punch them into our tracking app early and see what the impact will be on our overall day, and the calorie/macronutrient balance we would be at with for it. This can help direct us with what types of food we should aim to be getting in for the remainder of the day.

Cleaning up just this one area can make the biggest impact on our results weekly!

Not as Physically Active

For many of us, the weekend is the time to relax and spend some quality time with the TV and couch that we’ve “neglected” throughout the week. We drive around town running errands, waiting in lines, or watching as kids play their sports. We go for coffee, we go for drinks, but we don’t usually dedicate a ton of time for physical activity.  Many times when we are meeting up with our friends or family, it’s always going to be over food or drinks which can negatively impact the results we see.

There are so many ways we can implement physical activity into our social settings on weekends so we can continuously keep moving, keep our body recovering, and burn a few calories along the way. Taking fitness classes can be a great way to experience different ways of training like zumba, or spin. Doing yoga classes to work on mobility and bodyweight strength is another great options. Doing things outdoors like going for a walk around the neighborhood, a hike on local trails, a bike ride or even playing a sport you enjoy can make activity fun again. If it’s winter, still going for walks, going cross country skiing or skating are all great options! It’s even better if you’ve never done it before, because then you’ll be learning a new skill as well.

This can also be true for a lot of us who are active through the week as well. A lot of times you’ll see people going to the gym form Monday until Friday, then using the weekends as their rest days. The problem with this is our rest days shouldn’t just be a sit around and do nothing day. We should still be doing light physical activity each and every day. Fitbit or activity trackers are a great way to show the difference in activity, and can be a very useful tool to get us up and moving. If you’re an avid gym goer add in an extra day to do some cardio, or do some mobility work to fix some movement issues.

It’s important to maintain physical activity during the weekends, but can also be built in through unstructured exercise as well. Cleaning the house, doing yard work, parking a little further away from the grocery store, or taking the stairs instead of an escalator/elevator are a few examples of different ways to keep us moving. No matter how you do it… Just keep moving!

The Booze

Come on… we all knew this one would be on here!

Alcohol consumption is one of the biggest detractors from us seeing the results we want (This will be an upcoming blog post for sure). As I mentioned before, many social situations all revolve around food and drinks, and those drinks usually come with a price. Not only do we have to take into account the added calories of the drink (and the mix if we are having cocktails) but we have to consider that they are all carbohydrates, and mostly empty carbs as well.

Alcohol can negatively impact our body’s ability to both build muscle and burn body fat. Alcohol limits protein synthesis, which decreases our opportunity for muscle growth, and also negatively affects our metabolism. Because alcohol is a toxin in our body, it becomes the priority for our body to get rid of these toxins opposed to utilizing stored calories. You may notice this by increased uses of the washroom while drinking, and vomiting if we drink too much.

Not only will alcohol not let us burn body fat, but it may limit our will power leading us to poor nutritional choices as well. All of which lead to increase in body fat. Alcohol can also affect our sleeping patterns and hormonal production as well, which can greatly influence both muscle growth and fat loss.

It’s not just the drinking itself, but the hangover can play an effect into how the next several days go. When we are hung-over, we move less, crave more fatty/salty foods, and feel way more lethargic.

I’m not saying you need to give up drinking all together, but if we want our weekends to count for us, we need to moderate and limit the amount of alcohol we are taking in.

Weekends should be an opportunity to relax a little bit more, enjoy some food you don’t always get to enjoy, and recover from a long week at work. However, we still have to be mindful of what we are doing because if we let loose a little too much, the results we’ve worked so hard for can all be undone very quickly!

In Summery:

  • Have a slight idea of what your day will look like, and prepare accordingly
  • Have meals and food ready and available for the weekend as well as your weekdays
  • Track your foods, and plan out treat meals in advance
  • Plan one fun physical activity every weekend to go do (bonus if it’s outside)
  • Limit Alcohol consumption, and be mindful with drink choices

Rich Hill

CSEP – Certified Personal Trainer

RK Athletics – https://linktr.ee/RK_Athletics

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