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You’ve worked hard all week, you deserve a night off.

When you spend enough time with people who have similar goals, you start to see patterns emerging. One that I have become more and more aware of is the idea of the ‘night off’.

Most people work hard all week and when the weekend comes, they naturally feel deserving of a break from being strict, healthy or sensible. And if that is what keeps you going through the week, then you should be free to make that choice.

However, I am reminded of something Anthony Robbins once said, that ‘people spend their entire week wishing it away in order to get to a 2 day period, during which they do things to their body that stops them from remembering it’.

And I’m sure, if that doesn’t apply to you, you know of people who it does.

Chances are (being on this site) you have a goal, be it fat loss, muscle building or toning, and you want to achieve. And hopefully, if you have read my other posts, you have an emotional attachment to that goal.

But often even the most driven people continue with the idea that, if they push hard all week and eat healthy, they earn the right to splurge. Maybe it’s just one night per week or a couple per month.

However, what I would like people to understand is that one night per week isn’t simply the sum total of that night.

A few drinks and junk food on a Friday usually leads to poor sleep, dehydration (which puts a strain on the activity of your liver – compromising its ability to mobilize stored fats)  and a long lie.

Activity levels on Saturday are then, like it or not, at a lower level. Your system is still working hard to reset (so digestion and fat burning remain compromised).

Then there is the craving for fried food or more savory junk food. That, in turn, leaves you feeling poor for most of the day with the idea of eating something nutritious or healthy being the furthest thing from your mind.

You may try hitting the gym, but your level is not at its usual standard. You might laugh it off gaining lots of sympathy from those who have been there before, but that isn’t getting the work done and is simply a sub-standard session.

You probably haven’t consumed enough water to fully re-hydrate.

Later you may prepare a higher quality meal, but either over eat (mistaking thirst for hunger) or not eat enough, as you still feel a touch fragile.

At night you may consider a ‘hair of the dog’ remedy to carry you through, when actually an early night would be preferable.

Come Sunday, you may feel better, but given your sub-optimal Saturday, chances are you are still not firing on all levels.

That whole process could go on to affect a further 2 or 3 days. I’ve seen people destroy and entire week from with one night.

If that is what you choose to do, great. Just do it in the knowledge that one night is not just the sum of its intake. Its effects on your progress can be exponentially higher. Only by accepting that can you truly determine if the benefits outweigh any losses to your progress..

So next time you reach for that ‘one’ glass of wine, that ‘one’ beer, that ‘one’ pizza slice. Just remember it is not just the calories you are consuming that count, it is the total effect on your system over the subsequent hours and days.

A malteser may only be ’11 calories of naughyness’, but the hormonal effects are so much more and that should be considered before you justify its consumption.

Make informed choices not those justified through emotional logic or advertising.

If you truly want to change or progress, then make your choice and don’t compromise.

But what do you think?

Too strict?

Do you find you can overcome the ‘hangover’ effects and get straight back on track?

Or is this something that has been holding you back and you have just been kidding yourself?

Comment below and let me know.

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7 Responses to “You’ve worked hard all week, you deserve a night off.”

  1. carly says:

    I see where ur coming from but when diet and exercise take over ur entire life that can’t be good either surely? Maybe I should start buying shoes at the weekend instead of wine… Food for thought (no pun intended!)

  2. Mark says:

    @Carly It depends on your point of view or where you are in your life. If your current targets and priorities are on an ‘elite’ physique then a huge level of focus is required and you can’t expect to have off days and still get elite results. However, I was more making the point that people often convince themselves that it’s just one night or one treat and I was hoping to make it clearer that these moments rarely have as small an impact as people convince themselves they do. So if your choice is to have weekend wine then make that choice, but make it an informed choice rather than one that you have convinced yourself is not that big a deal and then wonder why your physical improvements aren’t as high a level as you hoped. However, by avoiding the wine, you would have more money for shoes and are more likely to enjoy the ensemble of a healthier person filling them. But then, that’s just my perception, doesn’t make it right, just a way of looking at things.

  3. Kev Farrell says:

    Good point to make mate, but this point is drilled into my head forever, as a couple of weeks back I lost almost 2lbs of fat in a week then thought to myself well i’ve did well went on the drink for 2 days/nights, then my body was absolutley destroyed for a whole week, felt depressed then gained over 2lbs of fat cos my diet and discipline went right out the window. So these “deserved” nights or “days off” are a complete waste to anyone wanting to acheive their goals of fat loss, toning etc.. Like me.

  4. Kev Farrell says:

    Just to add…Never mind waste of time, waste of MONEY!!!

  5. Mark Bell says:

    One Day off is one day further from you goal!!

  6. Mark says:

    Actually Mark, due to the hormonal response your body has to alcohol or ‘fake’ food (man made, processed foods), one day off then has a carry effect to the next one or perhaps even two days, then you are essentially catching up on the deficit you have caused from those days. So one day off is more like 5 days further from your goal.

  7. Fiona says:

    I find I’ve been eating clean for so long I no longer want or crave the rubbish food..BUT as this is a long term commitment I feel it’s too much to tell your other half that you can never again go out socially and have dinner or drinks.
    Being veggie there is 100% not going to be anything suitable on any menu.
    So, I have one ‘splurge’ a month where we go out somewhere really nice and have a lovely meal and not worry about it. I don’t drink..that’s REALLY not worth it but there needs to be balance..what’s the point of building a nice body and not even be able to go out for a nice romantic meal. The food hangover the next day ain’t nice but worth it.
    ..and there is the extra enjoyment of knowing there will be at least one person in the restaurant seething that you seem to be able to stuff your face and not get all lardy!