I can sense the mental tug-of-war you are having right now about the weekend.
You want to have a good time and enjoy yourself, but you also don’t want to ruin all of the hard work and efforts you put in this week. I want you to have a good time too.
How do you survive a long weekend without returning to work looking like a Pillsbury Dough Boy version of the person who left the office Friday afternoon.
If you don’t have a special event next week that you have to be super shredded for, this article is for you.
I live a healthy life. I cook most of my meals and when I don’t, I make healthy decisions when eating out. I devour Sweet Greens on the regular and curse the person that created such an amazing salad restaurant (I can’t believe I just said that).
I’ve been training 4-7 times per week consistently for the past 9 years, through and around different injuries (sometimes this was done intelligently, other times from pure stupidity).
That being said…
I like my Tequila and Boom Chocollata Ben and Jerry’s.
There is a time and place for most things in life. When my near future doesn’t require me to be a certain weight for a competition or have a decent set abs, I allow myself to indulge.
So you’re probably asking yourself, should you be doing the same?
Understanding the Sliding Scale
Enjoying your life and having the body and health that you want is a difficult balance to find. It’s the golden ticket for fitness enthusiasts.
It’s really a double-edged sword (that can be sharp as hell.)
The more you eat and enjoy these ‘not-so-healthy’ foods and habits that DON’T contribute to your goals, the more you slide down the scale away from your goal.
Is the short term enjoyment of 2 slices of chicken bacon ranch pizza, a bag of chips and 4 beers better than you having a flat stomach for the beach next weekend?
If you are getting ready for an event (photoshoot, wedding, etc) take a look at how far the event is. The closer the event, the less you want to veer off track. This is where some sacrifices come into play.
That’s your decision to make.
Although I am a proponent of ‘flexible dieting’, it is important to have self-discipline and be an adult about this shit. There has been too much ‘you can eat whatever you want’ and still get shredded nonsense.
I have found most people spend more time spinning their wheels and not getting the results they want when they follow a more flexible dieting approach.
In reality this typically only works for four types of people:
- Those who have great genetics
- Those with an extensive athletic and active background who are extremely conditioned and can maintain a low body fat percentage year round
- Those who take lots of sauce (aka. anabolics)
- A hybrid combination of #1-3
Let’s say you don’t have an extra special event that you have to be super lean for, and you aren’t one of the lucky people that I mentioned above, but you still want to ‘get weird’ this weekend…
Follow the ground rules below to live life like a champ and come out on top on Monday (hopefully in more ways than one.)
Have a battle plan
“Proper Planning Prevents a Piss Poor Physique”
Your battle plan is key to managing the overall damage during the weekend and keep it to a minimum. There’s no reason to destroy all of your progress you have been working so hard for.
1. Make a plan of how large a calorie surplus you are willing to allow.
Even if you don’t count macro’s or calories have a rough idea of how loose you’re willing to let yourself go.
I recommend keeping the damage less than 3,000 calories above your normal daily intake for the entire weekend. For example:
- Friday: 750 calories above normal
- Saturday: 1,700 calories above normal
- Sunday: 800 calories above normal
The closer you get to the 3,000 calorie mark, the further you are moving away from your goals.
1lb does not quite equal 3,500 calories (http://www.zoeharcombe.com/standalone/1lb-does-not-equal-3500-calories/), it’s more like 2,843 and 3,752 calories, depending on a couple of different factors.
Since that number is just an estimate, and our number will also be an estimate, 3,000 is a safe number to minimize fat gain. Plus, people are terrible estimators.
2. Go with the flow
Think of this day as a short ‘break’ from your diet. Science has shown people who set extremely rigid rules and restrictions when dieting often fail. It’s important to be able to have these enjoyable times so you don’t feel suffocated and restricted which can lead to disordered eating, such as binge eating and bulimia.
You should enjoy these moments and realize you are better off overshooting your calorie goals one day rather than every day.
Just because you roughly estimated how much of a surplus you were going to allow, this does not mean you HAVE TO eat that much.
If you aren’t hungry DO NOT force feed yourself. Just because Aunt Sally keeps trying to force feed you another piece of cake, it doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
3. Recognize Food Cues
Food cues influence the choices we make and how we feel. They can have a negative or positive impact on our eating habits.
Food cues can be from sounds, sight, smells, touch or taste. Things like cotton candy at baseball games, funnels cake at carnivals, and a bowl of ice cream when you watch Walking Dead every week, are all food cues.
It is important to be aware of food cues that automatically tell people they have eaten and are satisfied.
Some of these food cues involve noticing when others finish eating, an empty plate which had food on it, dirty dishes and food scraps.
3 Food Cues to Look at For
- Finish all the food on your plate before going for seconds and finish all the liquid in a drink before refilling
- Use a new plate if you go up for seconds and a different glass for each new beverage (i.e. water glass, wine glass, soda glass, etc.)
- Leave your dirty dishes in sight and with any scraps of food or wrappers you may have (i.e. excess fat on steak, chicken bones, etc.).
Get a Workout In
Get a workout in pre, during and post weekend.
Lift something/throw something/carry something/pull something/push something/run somewhere.
Sounds basic? It is. But those are all the essentials to a well-rounded strength training program.
Pre-weekend is time to have fun, lift some heavy stuff and push the pace a little bit.
If you are following a strength training program (which you absolutely should be), you should be trying to improve every workout. This is known as progressive overload. Basically, it comes down to doing something better than you did it the day before, and doing this every time your workout.
If you’re a dude who wants to get jacked like ‘Donald Pump’ do some extra bodybuilding work on a lagging body part by adding in a few sets of ones of these elbow friendly bicep building exercise. If you’re feeling really frisky add in a drop set at the end[youtube id=”oCPPQyEVBuw” width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”” class=””]
If you’re a women who wants a J-Lo booty do an extra set of single legged hip thrusts and add in a 10-second hold at the top on the last rep.[youtube id=”VpoZ01u5sYw” width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”” class=””]
This extra work creates a better environment for your body to absorb nutrients for muscle growth. You also get to show off your sweet pump to everybody at the bar and make them jealous — yes even your butt pump, it’s a real thing.
Add a ‘Finisher’
A finisher is a short bout of high-intensity exercise which helps boost your anabolic hormone levels. They help pack on lean muscle and burn fat when added into a well-designed strength training program.
They typically last around 5-15 minutes that are placed at the end of your workout and will get your heart rate jacked up.
Here is a video of a great finisher for you to try.
Full-Body Fat Melting Workout[youtube id=”pDHNSpBv0Tk” width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”” class=””]
Circuit 1 Double Kettlebell Swing x 5 Double Kettlebell Clean x 5 Alternating Kettlebell Press x 5/side Kettlebell Front Racked Reverse Lunge x 5/side Perform 2x through with no rest between exercises and 1-minute rest between sets.
Circuit 2 Sit-out x 5/side Long Lever Plank x 15 seconds Perform 3x through with no rest between exercises and 1-minute rest between sets
Circuit 3 Single arm kettlebell swings x 10 Divebomb pushup x 5 Single arm kettlebell swing x 10 (each arm) Divebomb pushup x 5 Perform 1x with no rest between exercises
Can You ‘Get Chocolate Wasted’?
Alcohol affects our bodies ability to absorb nutrients but that does not mean fat gain is definite. Some people are more affected than others. It will still come down to how your body metabolizes alcohol but most importantly all the other calories that you are ingesting.
Alcohol is not typically the culprit for weight gain from partying. Excess calories that come from drunken food binges and shitty decisions are the biggest reason people get fat when partying.
Take a quick look at alcohol compared to the other macronutrients:
4 calories = 1 gram of Protein 4 calories = 1 gram of Carbohydrate 7 calories = 1 gram of Alcohol 9 calories = 1 gram of Fat
Now you can see how things can get out of hand with alcohol being 7 calories per gram.
How Much Should You Drink?
For your best performance, fastest fat loss, or fastest possible muscle gain, don’t drink. I know unfortunate, but there are still sacrifices you have to make if you want to be the best.
If you just want to look good and feel good during your everyday life, moderate drinking up to 5-7 drinks per week should be fine for most people.
One drink contains 14 grams of alcohol and can be:
- 1 shot (1.5 ounces) of 80 proof liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 12 ounces of beer
Most wines have anywhere from 8-14% alcohol while an average beer has 4-6%.
Obviously, if your goal is to get drunk it is going to take more beers to get the same amount of tipsy as fewer glasses of wine. Which also means more calories.
Common forms of liquor such as tequila, vodka, whiskey, rum, gin all have zero carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The only macronutrient they have is alcohol.
Sweeter alcohols like Kahlua, amaretto, Jager, and Schnapps do contain carbohydrates.
Steer Clear of ‘Girly Drinks’
There are lots of ‘extra calories’ in these types of drinks. Excess sugars in juice concentrates, energy drinks and sodas can sneak up and put you well over your calorie buffer.
While these may not be the worst thing health wise, they can be an extra couple hundred or even thousand calories when combined with your alcohol.
Margarita vs. The Big Mac
- 1 Margarita = 680 calories
- Big Mac = 563 calories
A couple (2), margaritas after dinner is like eating 2.5 Big Mac, as your dessert after dinner. At least with the Big Mac you are getting 65g or protein.
A good mixer can cut out a lot of calories if you have a heavy night of drinking ahead of you. Once again, this is chipping away at that total weekend buffer.
A smaller glass will hold about 4 ounces of a mixer and the bigger glasses typically hold double (8oz of mixer.)
You can choose a zero or extremely low-calorie mixer like diet soda, soda water, lime juice or low-calorie margarita mix.
You can tell when someone at the office had a rough weekend. Some people have to drink concoctions that they swear cures hangovers, but man these things are gross.
Make smarter decisions so this doesn’t happen.
1. NO TYLENOL
Tylenol (acetaminophen) to try and get rid of a hangover is a bad idea. According to ASKmen.com, our liver is busy working overtime to process the alcohol and the acetaminophen can have a toxic effect on our body.
DO NOT take it.
If you feel you NEED to take something to function like a real human being opt for Ibuprofen instead.
ou are hung-over and your body hates you because you are super dehydrated. Replenish the electrolytes in your body and get you all lubed up again.
Joey’s recovery cocktail:
- Nuun Tablet (1-2)
- 16-20 oz water
- 5-10g BCAA’s
- Banana (if you are not intermittent fasting, see below)
3. Get Plenty of Rest
Sleep is important for recovery so get plenty of rest the night after the party. Shoot for AT LEAST 6-9 hours.
4. Try ‘Intermittent Fasting’
This basically just means do not eat breakfast. Intermittent fasting goes against the nutrition advice that your mom has been telling you since day 1,
“Eat your breakfast, it is the most important meal of the day”
Don’t worry. You won’t lose your hard earned muscle.
The time spent fasting gives your body and digestive system a break and allows it to work out some of the tough circumstances you put it through the day before.
I recommend following the 16/8 fasting model: wake up the morning after the party and DON’T eat breakfast. Just wake up, start being productive, and resume eating habits in the late afternoon, anywhere from 2-5pm.
Go to sleep, wake up the next day and resume normal eating habits.
Congratulations, you did it.
Occasional bouts of hunger are normal, but you will realize that most of these are easily controlled and go away quick. Usually drinking a glass of water or two will do the trick.
During the fast you can drink: black coffee (no cream/sugars), green tea, water (sparkling water seems to help with hunger) OR if you are physically active BCAA’s pre and during your workout.
Keep the intensity of your workout relatively low, especially if you have a decent hangover. Trying to push through a normal workout when being hungover can be bad news, especially if you are dehydrated. Save the hard session for the following day when you return to normal eating and taking over the world.
I learned this lesson the hard way and strained my hamstring playing football twice. Both were after a night out partying. Different hamstrings, almost 1 year apart, same stupid mistake. I haven’t made the same mistake since.
Sitting around and doing nothing sucks when fasting because it gives you down time to think about food and makes you more likely to give into temptation.
Be active even if you don’t feel like a million bucks. Go for a walk, go skiing, stretch, play with your kids, ride a bike, go hiking, etc.
Wrapping it up
That’s a solid battle plan to go into the weekend strong and still come out on top. Just like you don’t want to be pinching pennies and saving money by not buying lattes, you want to be able to enjoy some time out with your friends and loved ones.
If you want my complete guide and discover the secrets to staying lean and still partying SIGN UP FOR THE FREE COURSE.
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