I find that it is much easier to remain healthy and active in the weekdays when you are in a routine. I get up at the same time every morning to go to the gym and I prepare my meals the night before for work the next day so I don't have to buy lunch out (which is not only the healthier option but it also saves a lot of money!). However, it is so easy to go all-out at weekends and ruin all the hard work from the week... you constantly take two steps forward and one step back so it takes you twice as long to reach your goals. So what weekend habits are causing this slow in progress?
1) Binge drinking - this one is obvious and we all do it, but it really does make a difference. We've all heard of the term 'empty calories' e.g. calories with zero nutrition - this is exactly what alcohol is! Not only is alcohol very high in calories, it also inhibits fat loss, increases hunger and decreases our ability to recover from training. I find that if I train legs on a Saturday morning (which is most weeks) and I go out drinking on a Saturday night, my DOMS the next day are twice as bad as normal and it takes me days before I can walk normally again! At first I thought it was just because I wasn't stretching enough after my workout until I didn't go out one Saturday evening and found that I wasn't in absolutely agony the next day. Eureka moment - alcohol was the problem! In terms of calories, it is always better to try and choose the lower calorie options e.g. vodka, lime & soda. But if you are training hard to reach a specific goal then you really should try and limit the binge drinking and enjoy one or two drinks throughout the week instead (easier said than done... I know!!).
2) Overeating - I am definitely guilty of this one, particularly because I love cooking. I am so strict during the week by tracking my macros and food intake, but at the weekend I start with a little bit of baking and then I go on to do some cooking and then I go out for lunch with a friend and, before you know it, I've eaten way too much. It's all well and good to say 'oh well... it's the weekend so I can enjoy myself', but if you are going off track 2 days a week every week, that adds up to 104 days per year... it will set you back in the longterm. A lot of people also overeat at weekends due to having an unhealthy relationship with food - if you deprive yourself too much during the week it will lead to binges at weekend. The idea that being healthy in week means you deserve a treat for being good is a strange concept - we are not dogs! Remember that every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body. By all means relax a little at the weekends, but gorging on pizza or ice cream isn't going to make you feel better the next day.
3) Too much sleep - this is probably the least important of the three points but it still can play a part. If your body is used to getting up early in the morning during the week to go to the gym at 6am before work, then a long lie-in at weekend can get you out of this habit. A regular body clock is important for health and well-being. Of course I believe that rest is important so if you have overdone it during the week and your body genuinely needs the rest then by all means get yo' sleep, but don't oversleep. Instead, take the time to enjoy not being at work by getting some fresh air, exploring new places and catching up with friends.
I think the main points to take from this blog post is to try and maintain your normal routine as much as you can throughout the weekend as well. You don't necessarily have to be as organised as you are during the week with meal prep etc, but it is still important to still eat well. And by all means go out and have a few drinks with friends, but just be sensible and make sure you fill your body with lots of nutritional goodness the next day to prevent those hangover munchies from taking over!