Weekends are the key to the success or failure of your fitness goals. The vast majority of us work really hard all week. We exercise. We eat right. Then Friday comes and TGIF! Which does not stand for thank God I can forget my fitness… by-the-way. However, that is exactly what most of us do. We gather with family and friends. We eat too much and drink too much and we don’t bother to work out. Then we avoid the scale until mid-week so that we don’t have to see our sins in black and white.

If your goal is maintenance, then hell yeah! Work hard. Play hard. But if your goal is to improve, the weekend indulgence is your saboteur. Approaching the weekend as a free for all, cruise ship style, all you can eat & drink buffet will cause you to yo-yo FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Weekends are, and should be, a time to let loose. So, to stop the yo-yo, you will have to shift your paradigm of what that means. Instead of lounging around enjoying some libations, start to center your social activities on actual activity vs. inactivity. Want to catch up with a friend? How about a walk instead of chatting over coffee? Why not try a new yoga class, go for a bike, jog, round of golf? And there are no shortage of fun obstacle course races and 5K’s out there. When you enter into races with a team of friends it builds fantastic camaraderie and it’s just SUPER FUN! I promise. PS… you are totally allowed to walk a 5k if that is where your fitness level is at.

How many kids sit around when they get together with friends? As a child, I remember that when we were forced to get out of the pool for adult swim; we’d all rush out to the parking lot and see who could walk the slowest across the steaming black pavement, (I won that one on many occasions… not sure if that makes me awesome or stupid), We never sat! We wanted to play, to run, and to challenge each other. What happened to us as we grew up?

Do you remember how happy and free we felt as children? Perhaps that was directly related to how active we were. I’ve said this before: the hormones released during exercise are the body’s natural crack! Frankly, the biggest problem for adults is that we view exercise as work and not as play.

As to the nutrition portion of getting through a weekend: we have very little control over many factors that influence our life, but we have total and ultimate control over the things we put in our mouths. Yet, we let our eating habits get outrageous and out of control. Why would we do that to ourselves? Do we really feel better after that king sized Snickers bar?

Kudos if you do, but most of us feel guilt, not glee. If we just consider what we are putting in our mouths and how we’ll feel about it tomorrow, we would always make better choices. Sometimes we will choose the Snickers bar. If we are happy with that choice, it was the right choice. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: WALK OF SHAME RULE!! If we are not going to be happy with the choice in the morning, it was the wrong choice. End of story.

Except not really “The End.” I have a few more suggestions for fun things you can do with family & friends:

  • Organize an Olympic Games – This can include timed lap swims, relay races, foul line basketball shots, sprints, egg toss, balloon toss, gymnastics: just about anything.
  • Make a Scavenger Hunt – I guarantee this is just as much fun for adults as for children. Just modify what you put on the list.
  • Go for a Hike
  • Put Together a Tournament: for whatever you like… volleyball, Bocce, Crockett, Horse shoes.
  • Find a Local 5K or organize one for your friends & family: Jingle bell run… Turkey trot…
  • Freeze Tag: My boot camp instructor made us play a game of freeze tag last week. At first I thought, “Are you kidding me?” WICKED FLIPPING FUN!
  • BowlingI’ve actually witnessed adult men work up a sweat bowling. It can be a competitive sport: at least in my family.
  • Wiffle Ball or Kick Ball: Kids just love this stuff, but if adults are resistant: put some skin in the game and place a wager or give prizes, (that works for the tournaments too).
  • Dancing: Go to a club or move some furniture and host your own dance party. Your kids will love a home dance party, especially if you play freeze dance. And home is a great place to learn the latest line dance or shuffle… or whatever they will be playing at every wedding until it’s totally played out.
  • Walking Tours: Find one in your local city and go learn something!
  • Go Shopping: Your spouse might not appreciate this tip, but as long as you don’t add in lunch… you are up moving your body and if you are with someone else, enjoying good company.
  • Bike or Walk: anywhere you have to go. I have a friend that bikes back and forth to the liquor store. She’s got it half right…

The (real) End.