STRUGGLING to fit in workouts during the week? Good news: Researchers in the United States believe that doing all the exercise on the weekend might be enough.
In general, it is recommended that we aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, followed 350,000 people for 10 years and found that it was the type and duration of exercise that mattered, not whether it was achieved through a series of shorter workouts or just one or two weekends. sessions
Of course, you may actually value your weekday workouts — there’s a lot to be said for a Wednesday swim or yoga session.
But it’s reassuring to know that our fitness won’t be affected if we have to wait until the weekend.
So how can you get the most out of weekend workouts?
STAYING ACTIVE THROUGHOUT THE WEEK IS STILL IMPORTANT
First, even if you only do “proper” workouts on the weekends, movement during the week is still important, so factor in regular walks and desk breaks.
“While weekends can give us the time, freedom, and energy to move our bodies more intensely, it’s really important that we try to do what we can during the week to make sure we stay happy and healthy,” says Dr. head trainer of EvolveYou. Krissy Cela (evolveyou.app).
“Even if we can’t move with the same intensity, moving our bodies and staying active will ensure long-term health and happiness.”
THINK ABOUT TRAINING SMART
“If you’re short on time and can only train on the weekends, it’s still possible to reach your goals by training smart and eating well,” says Sophie Grace Holmes, personal trainer, nutrition coach, and cystic fibrosis advocate (@sophiegraceholmes).
“Using time efficiently is the key to success.”
Consider incorporating cardio, strength, and conditioning exercises to get the full range of benefits—supporting cardiovascular, joint, bone, and muscle health.
For example, Holmes suggests “getting up early on a Saturday to hit the gym for a strength and conditioning workout, followed by an afternoon session, like a long walk. Then on Sunday it could be a long bike ride or a race”.
Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor Helen O’Leary, director of Complete Pilates (complete-pilates.co.uk), says: “The intensity of the exercise depends on your current physical condition.
“Ideally, we want to get your heart rate up, so you breathe harder. For some, this could be a brisk walk, jog, or cardio class at the gym.
“You also want to add some resistance training. We recommend this should add some weights – you can get some kettlebells or dumbbells and do a simple circuit at home that includes all the major muscle groups eg: squats, split squats, RDL ( Romanian deadlift), lunges, step-ups, bench press, overhead press.
“If you don’t want to add weight, use resistance in a different way.”
MAXIMIZE YOUR SESSIONS
How to make weekend workouts work harder? “To have a good session, make sure your workout lasts at least 45 minutes; this gives you time for all your changes between exercises,” says Cela.
“Focus on compound movements, as these provide the most ‘bang for your buck’: exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and deadlifts.
Select a weight that challenges you; this is really important if you want to improve your strength and fitness, but remember to always execute correct form. Use supersets and trisets as they are a fantastic way to add bulk and make your workouts more effective in a shorter space of time.
“Finally, add some kind of sprint to the end of your workout, to improve your heart and lung health. The great thing about intervals is that they only take five to 10 minutes for you to reap the benefits.
“Top Tip: Try going all out on the treadmill or rower for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds, repeat for five to 10 minutes. I promise it’s harder than it looks…”
You could hit your 150-minute goal in one sitting, but adding a mix of activities, scenarios, and social elements could keep things interesting.
As an example, O’Leary suggests: “Wake up and do some strength training before breakfast (45 minutes). Organize to meet a friend for a brisk walk and have lunch (an hour). Do a 20-minute stretch session before bedtime to help you relax and also calm your body so you sleep better (20 minutes).
“Then on Sunday, get up and go for a run or bike/spin to get your heart rate up (30 minutes). This hits your 150 minutes and if you’re feeling brave, you can add a Pilates class to get your heart rate up.” heart rate, firing the nucleus as well.”
MAKE A DAY OUTDOORS
“The good thing about changing the activity for the weekend is that it can also be a social occasion and encourages you to go out,” says O’Leary.
A walk or bike ride can meet those cardio and conditioning goals, as well as all that feel-good time outside in nature. Or, as O’Leary adds: “Why not head out on a stand up paddle board or kayak? This gives you all the benefits of being outdoors, but SUPs also challenge your balance and core strength, while giving you a upper body workout, as the water acts as resistance.
“Remember to always include a good 10-minute warm-up and cool-down to prepare your body for exercise and aid recovery, especially since it’s going to be an intense weekend,” says Holmes.
“There’s nothing better than ending an active weekend feeling energized and ready to start the new week feeling your best.”
O’Leary agrees: “Typically, a class will include a warmup. If you’re working out on your own, try doing the first set with less weight or even bodyweight to warm up.
“Try some squats, calf raises, and lunges before you run or bike, and on your brisk walk, pick up speed instead of running out the door.
“Ending the day with a stretching session will actually help prepare your body for sleep, as well as help it recover.”
Another suggestion, Cela says, is to combine “a yoga or barre session at home. They’re great for lengthening, strengthening and mobilizing your body, helping you target muscles that sometimes get neglected and stretching out after a busy week.” “