So its Friday! First day of the weekend, we take our work heads off and prepare to relax unwind and have a good time with our friends and family, as we should!
Honestly, I have no issue with anyone who wants to go out and have a good time, after all life is to be lived and it shouldn’t all be about lifting weights and counting calories all the time.
The truth is that the vast majority of people reading this, have zero interest of stepping onto a body building stage in the near future, so there is NO NEED for your diet to 100% perfect 100% of the time. If you eat well consistently, with a clear structure, hit your calorie targets regularly and train regularly you will see results as the goal he is about consistency!
This being said, if we are consistently going out at the weekends and not keeping one eye on what we are doing it is VERY easy to slip up!
I know we hate maths but, but doing sum will help make the point!
Let’s say you are trying to lose weight/fat and your diet is good and your consistently in a calorie deficit by 300 calories! awesome! This means that from Monday to Friday you will be 1500 calories to the good! 5x300=1500 ;) . That’s around about 1/3rd of a lb of fat which is fairly reasonable, but Friday comes around and we go out with our friends and we have 5 pints of larger (around 180 calories) or 5 glasses of red win (around 220) those QUICKLY add up! So let’s go in the middle of the two and say a drink is 200. 5 of them = 1000 calories! we have quickly eaten into the 1500 calories we earned during the week, but we go out on Saturday as well, and repeat the process and boom another 1000 calories! we are now worse off than where we started at the beginning of the week! All that hard work GONE!
This is the same story for SO many of us out there, and the choice for many is to either give up the journey, or take it to the extreme and give up their social life. Some will take up a drastic diet to try and make up the difference, but yo-yo dieting doesn’t solve the issue in the long term.
So what would I recommend? Simple… PLAN A HEAD, most nights we go out we are well aware of if days if not weeks in advance, this gives us plenty of time to prepare for it, so we can either stay on track, or at least limit the damage done.
· My favourite strategy is to use a food tracker app, such as myfitnesspal, and preload the types of food and drinks I’m likely to have on that night out (just to get a best guess, it’s not going to be perfect). I then add this to my usual food intake for that day, and then I get a picture of the damage I am doing, it may be 500 calories over it could be 1500 calories over, maybe more! The main thing is, I now have an idea!
My next step is to try and create a buffer zone, to offset this big increase, so a couple days before I may start to give up a few snacks here and there, maybe that chocolate bar I usually have for a treat, that will save me 200 calories, maybe I don’t have my fried egg sand which for lunch that day and save another 400 calories there. You can see the though process here, by creating a slightly bigger increase in my weekly deficit before the weekend, I am creating a buffer that will allow me to go out and enjoy my weekend guilt free!
· Do a little extra workout the day off or during a couple days before! Increasing your time on the cross trainer or working out for an extra half hour could easily increase your deficit a significant amount to help prepare for the night out! One of my favourite tactics is just to add 20 mins onto the x trainer, the day off and that usually gives me around another 300 calories! give or take.
· Another great piece of advice is to pick 1 night of the weekend as your night out, a weekend bender is all well and good every once in a while but not every weekend. If you’re having a bender, make sure it’s for a rare special occasion! A stag do or something, otherwise just pick ONE night out. This way you can still go out have a great time and be social, but you’re also making yourself a priority and taking care of your body. This actually has a double benefit, by limiting the nights out to one a week, your limiting the damage to your overall goals, but also it means you have another day of feeling fresh to relax and do something different, like hiking with family, or going to the zoo with your children. You could use that other day to focus on mental pursuits instead of physical. So try to plan your weekends accordingly! Make sure you have a reason to NOT go out twice at the weekend, and make that reason a fun and social one! Heck just going to the park for a picnic, or the beach could be a great alternative.
This list could be endless if you sit down and really think about it, but the key here is just a little bit of planning. As the saying goes “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”
Here is a real life example, I recently went out for a meal and drinks and I was fully aware of where I was going, and had looked at their online menu. This allowed me to basically pre-pick my food and factor that into my daily allowance. I knew that there would be wine, and I myself am a fan of whiskey, so I was adding that into my nutrition as well, I could see that I was going to over my regular allowance by a good 1000 calories, so I removed my usual lunch from that day, as well as a couple of my protein bars and during my work out that day increased my cardio a little, by the end I had easily “earned” that extra 1000 calories back. This meant when I was out, I ate and drank guilt free knowing that yes, this food and drink may not be the best for me, but one meal isn’t going to do me much harm, and because I was still in deficit my body was going to burn through the alcohol and not increase my body fat, meaning I stay on track.
I hope this helps, ladies and gentleman!
So from here on I just want you to do a little planning so you can go out and enjoy your weekends more with zero guilt and keep on track to your goals!