Are you a weekend Warrior?

When I recently met up with group of school mates, what caught my attention was that one of them was saying that she had become a weekend warrior. Being inquisitive, with respect to anything, which challenges my mind I asked her what she meant by being a weekend warrior. She said that through the week she worked for 8-10 hours a day and travelled to and fro from work for another 2-3 hours. This is not surprising with the traffic conditions in Bangalore and in most parts of India. She said that she has managed to keep herself fit by working out for a couple of hours only during the weekend and that’s what she meant by being a weekend warrior.
Well in the kind of work routine she is in and maybe many others who are in the same boat as she is, it’s definitely not a bad idea operating on the logic that something is better than nothing. But on a more serious note I would definitely not advocate anybody on looking at being a weekend warrior with respect to reaching your optimum fitness goals. To answer the question – what is a weekend warrior in terms of exercise, following is the answer. A weekend warrior is a person who basically sits around like a couch potato all week at work/home only to get a burst of enthusiasm to exercise on the weekends. Is being a weekend warrior a good thing though? Well, like anything else, it has its good sides and its bad sides.

The Good:

The good thing about exercising only on the weekends is that it’s better than not exercising at all. After all, something is better than nothing. Unfortunately, though, that’s about the only good thing I can think of right now.

The Bad:

There are several bad sides to exercising only on weekends. Foremost which comes to my mind is that your body likes to do things in moderation. In other words, you need recovery time between workout sessions and you need to exercise different muscles on different days. If you’re only exercising two days a week and those two days are back to back, that creates tremendous stress on your body.
Another problem with the weekend warrior exercise plan is that it’s just not enough time to accomplish much. If you want to lose weight, for example, you should be exercising at the least 3 or 4 days a week. Twice a week after being sedentary at an office desk or in front of a computer all day is not going to cut through. A lot of the work you do on the weekend can be reversed throughout the following week because you aren’t active enough and you may also be eating a poor diet.
Then there’s the biggest hurdle of physiological problem with only exercising on the weekends. You have an entire week to think about the upcoming weekend. You’re mentally setting yourself up to put off your routine because you have “better things to do” on the weekends. If you do actually follow through with your exercise plan on the weekend, you’re likely to go into it expecting to fail. If you have the “Oh my gosh, I am too out of shape for this!” attitude, it’s going to make it even harder to be productive at the gym or running track.

The Ugly:

Unfortunately, those aren’t the only bad sides to only exercising on weekends. It gets even uglier than that. For starters, because you’ve been sedentary all week, your muscles aren’t really prepared to work. So, you’re likely to tire out faster and find yourself wanting to back things up to do shorter routines that are much easier. A proper exercise program done several times a week, on the other hand, should give you more strength and endurance in the long run.

The really ugly problem with being a weekend warrior, though, is that your body is just not going to be ready to exercise. So, even if you do a proper warm up routine, you’re going to be much more prone to injuries. Sprained ankles, knee problems, tennis elbow and torn rotator cuffs are just a few of the potential injuries you could be facing. Your odds of getting those injuries as a weekend warrior are also greater because many weekend warrior exercisers insist on doing harder or longer routines than they should, in order to try to compensate for not exercising all week.

Turning Things Around:

Obviously, being a weekend warrior exerciser is not the only option though. There’s a definite down side to it. Luckily, though, there are ways to avoid falling into this trap. The first thing to realize is that you can get some exercise every day no matter how busy your days/nights are. It may not be an exercise routine as in a training manual, but that doesn’t mean it’s not exercise at all.

For example, let’s say that you work in an office building. You might have the option to take an elevator or take stairs. Taking the stairs even twice a day can give you a bit more exercise. Also, if you live nearby to where you work, try walking or getting down couple of stops before your area of work. If it is safe, cycle to work if the traffic or weather permits. Another way to get more exercise at work which always worked for me is to walk around without being stuck in a chair for more than an hour or two. Even standing and working for 10 minutes for every hour of work will make a huge difference for someone who is in an 8-10 hour shift. Believe me, these small changes I made in my work life did add up substantially to my overall fitness. I do follow most of this even today in spite of me working on my own.

For The Busy Bee:

Ideally, you should plan to exercise at least three – four days a week for a set amount of time. Some people find that things seem to pop up on them all the time though. For people who are extremely busy even managing 2 days during the week and of course 2 days in the weekend ensures you are on the road to the wellness highway in no time.
Finally, remember that you need to stay motivated to exercise. That means making it fun. If you look at exercise as a fun thing then I guarantee that you will make it a habit. For some people it may be exercising while watching TV. For some it may mean exercising outside. For many it means being able to spend time with friends. Having one or more exercise buddies can really help to keep you motivated. See what works for you and do it, because I have realised that at the end of the day what makes one happy is how healthy you are from inside out. So I would challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and make this new exercise habit an empowering one.
As always do reach out to me on or on my Face book Fan page And share your experiences or learning from my thoughts.