Let’s face it, we all get busy throughout the week. For people who enjoy working out, it becomes difficult to wake up early on weekdays to exercise or to find time to drive to the gym after work to get daily exercise. At times, even the most dedicated of fitness aficionados find themselves compromising their workouts during the work week because other obligations get in the way. Sometimes, even when the time is available to work out, you are already too mentally and physically drained to give your workout your best effort.
If your schedule is imbalanced and keeps you maintaining workouts throughout the week, you may find it helpful to become a weekend warrior.
Weekend warriors look forward to the weekend not as a time to divulge in carefree indulgences like staying up late, drinking alcohol, and poor dieting choices. Instead, they base their entire schedules and fitness plans around maximizing time and efficiently using it over the weekend to maintain workout goals and a healthy diet. Keep in mind that resetting your health goals over the weekend does require a certain level of commitment as well as careful thought and planning.
The following guide will help you make the most of your time off over the weekend to optimize your workout schedule. Through making healthy decisions, you will keep your diet in check, maximize your energy to sustain long workouts, and face each workweek with a recovery plan that helps prime your body to reach your next fitness goals each week. By shifting your workout schedule to become a weekend warrior, you will learn better time-management skills, be less hard on yourself for missing workouts on weekdays, and see incredible gains from week to week.
1. Avoid Happy Hour
When you want to prioritize your weekends for your most intense workouts, it’s important to avoid happy hour. In fact, it’s probably best to avoid drinking alcohol altogether. Although most of your friends and officemates may want to unwind by having a few drinks, hanging out at the bar can have a direct impact on your already compromised time to workout. Likewise, a few hours at the bar can wreak havoc on your diet.
Alcoholic beverages are essentially empty calories that dehydrate your body, compromise your sleep patterns, and inhibit your body’s ability to sustain a challenging workout. If you rely on alcohol to unwind at the end of the week, your already-exhausted body will struggle to reap the benefits of your weekend workouts. Furthermore, when people drink alcohol in a social setting, they also tend to make poor dieting choices, consuming a significant amount of excess calories that can disrupt your body’s macronutrient absorption. As a result, happy hour can be a significant setback for both exercise and weight-loss goals.
Instead of hanging out at the bar, use your Friday night to get organized and to begin to mentally prepare for your workouts. Similarly, take the time to carefully jot down a meal plan, form a grocery list, and cook yourself a nutritious meal at home.
Also, make an effort to drink plenty of water as you start your weekend. Being fully hydrated will help prepare you to face your workouts and keep your body functioning at optimum efficiency.
2. Get Plenty of Rest
Weekend warriors take advantage of the available time over the weekend to get plenty of rest in order to prepare for and recover from their intense workouts. You should definitely try your best to use your Friday night to relax and get to bed early. Completing some yoga, light stretching, or even foam rolling are great ways to unwind from a particularly stressful workweek. Try to loosen your muscles and knead out any muscle knots before you go to bed on Friday night. This will alleviate any tension in your muscles and better prepare your body to handle intensive workouts in the upcoming days.
You should also try not to interfere too much with your sleep schedule by staying up late or trying to sleep in for several extra hours in the morning. Studies have shown that those who maintain a similar sleep schedule throughout the entire weekend have more consistent, restorative sleep. In effect, they wake up less groggy. If you plan on splitting your main workouts between both Saturday and Sunday, you should make it a point to capitalize on your time away from work and get to bed early.
3. Split Your Workout
As a weekend warrior, you have to carefully plan your workout for balanced, yet intense routines. Some weekend warriors prefer to keep save their intense workouts for Saturday and Sunday only. However, others may prefer to begin on Friday evening provided that their body is well-rested and appropriately nourished to sustain an intense workout.
To place emphasis on exercise efficiency, one of the best recommendations for starting the weekend warrior lifestyle is to try a two-day split. In essence, a two-day split places emphasis on pushing exercises on one day and pulling exercises on the next. You can either complete light cardiovascular activity on Friday evening or include shorter cardio sessions before or after your main workouts on Saturday or Sunday.
When you design a two-day split workout, you purposefully exercise antagonizing muscle groups over two days. As a result, you can effectively work out your entire body over this shorter period of time. By separating push and pull exercises, you will reduce your risk of workout fatigue, avoid overtraining, and significantly lower your chances for injury.
4. Eat Right and Meal Plan
Balanced diet, healthy food concept on wooden background. If you want to be a weekend warrior, you have to eat like one. In addition to just skipping happy hour, you have to create a diet plan that ensures that you are adequately fed and hydrated to complete your workouts and to recover throughout the week. Try your best to prioritize whole-food meals rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.
If you are concerned about how many calories you should consume daily or what ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you should intake, try using a macronutrient profile calculator, available through a quick internet search. If you are especially interested in learning more about your dieting needs, you can also meet with a nutritional specialist to help create a meal plan that will help you get results.
Make it your priority to eat healthy foods throughout the week. This will make it much easier to prepare your body to handle your workouts from week to week in addition to promoting optimum nutrition for recovery during rest days.
5. Plan for Active Recovery
Although weekend warriors save their most intense workouts for the weekend, they try their best during the workweek to find small ways to remain physically active. You should try to set aside 15 or 20 minutes per day to complete a brisk walk, stretching and breathing exercises, foam rolling, or even a light body-weight workout.
Including active recovery as part of your lifestyle will help promote cardiovascular health, encourage balance and flexibility, and help fight off tension and muscle knots that can result from a stressful workweek. You may be able to avoid the gym altogether from Monday to Friday, but you should not use the workweek as an excuse to do absolutely nothing. True weekend warriors try their best to prioritize health and fitness goals all week long. As such, don’t let a busy work week become an excuse for letting bad habits slip into your Monday to Friday routine.