Most of us follow a set schedule during the weekdays. If you're like me, you know exactly what time you'll get up, go to the gym, shower, go to work, eat your meals, and hit the sack. But on the weekends? That schedule usually goes from nailed down to nonexistent.
On the weekends, I usually stay up longer, sleep in longer, eat at random times and—I'll admit—skip a workout or two. Ack! While taking a rest day can be good for you, falling into a pattern of always skipping workouts on the weekends can impede your progress, slow your fitness gains and even throw you off your workout mojo. (Ever notice how much more difficult that Monday morning workout can be after a weekend of not-so-healthy eats and leisure activity?) Follow the seven tips below to make exercise a priority all week long—not just during the work week!
- Turn workout time into play time. Think working out on the weekend has to be at the gym? Think again! The weekend is the perfect time to take your workout outdoors for a hike, a bootcamp at the park, a bike ride at a nearby trail or even a session of skiing (on water or snow, depending on your climate). If the weather in your area is less than ideal, why not gather some buds for an indoor basketball game, a workout DVD or even a visit to that indoor rock climbing wall you've been dying to try? The sky is really the limit, so get outside—or stay indoors—and have fun!
- Schedule some "me" time. The best part about weekdays is that our schedule is consistent and more or less on autopilot. Make your weekend more like a weekday by setting a schedule for Saturday and Sunday. Not every second has to be laid out (where's the fun in that?), but schedule an hour or two that's just for you. Use the time to be active doing something you really enjoy like Zumba, running or Spinning class, followed by some relaxation time. Meditate, read a magazine, take a long bath—do something that's good for you.
- Make housework a workout. Most of us have to do at least a few chores over the weekend, so if you're short on time, transform your housework into a workout! Put on some tunes and see how quickly you can do more physical chores like vacuuming, scrubbing the bathtub, mopping the floors, mowing the grass or washing the windows. Here are more ways you can turn housework and yard work into a calorie-torching exercise routine!
- Try something new. The best part of working out on the weekend: You have more time (hopefully!). Take advantage of your open schedule by trying something new or going somewhere different for your usual workouts. Whether it's a new group fitness class, running at a new park or even joining a game of softball with some pals from work, trying something new can work your muscles and brain in new ways thereby helping to prevent boredom and those dreaded plateaus. You may even find a new activity that you love or make some new friends who also like to get active on the weekends.
- Set a goal (or two). The best way to achieve any goal starts with setting one! If you really want to be more active on the weekends, set a goal to do so. It can be as simple as saying you want to walk every Saturday for a month. Set a smart goal and then reward yourself when you succeed.
- Grab a buddy. We all know how important it is to have support when trying to lose weight and get healthy. So be sure to include your team-mate, friends and loved ones in your weekend workout plans. Ask a bud to try that new trail with you or turn your usual movie date night into something more active like bowling. Make it fun! Not only will you be burning calories, you'll be making way more memories than just sitting around watching television.
- Fuel your body right. It's hard to want to work out if you're not fueling your body for success. Studies show that people tend to make poorer food choices—and eat more—on the weekends. Sure, the occasional late night out, cocktail or order of chicken wings won't really hurt you, but if these weekend habits become the norm—or turn into a weekend splurge-fest—they could get in the way of your fitness goals. Who really feels like working out after eating too much, sleeping too little or drinking one too many? Make it a priority to get adequate sleep, drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals and snacks.