Night Out Survival Guide
This can be a cause for considerable anxiety for some people who have very specific health and/or weight loss goals but before we give you the practical advice let's get something off our proverbial chests.
If you are on a “health kick” this implies a temporary emphasis. We at GymCube don’t consider a healthy lifestyle to be a temporary measure and if you are in the mindset that healthy living is something you can fade in and out of when it suits you then you need to reassess your needs and values. That being said, yes you need to apply self-disciplin but not to the point that you are restricting yourself of enjoyable foods and social oocasions involving food or drink.
Leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about eating salads and hours of boring cardio. It can include those things if you like them but the key word here is ‘LIFESTYLE’. Prioritising your health and fitness should always be your primary focus and it’s a life-long commitment. However, part of leading a healthy lifestyle is being able to socialise with friends and family, enjoying tasty and nourishing foods while also allowing yourself foods that might not be so healthy but banning them feels like a punishment.
For this reason, we always advocate a flexible approach to dieting, even if you are aiming to get very lean, like photoshoot lean, it’s still possible to enjoy occasional treats without exceeding your calorie requirements. Even if you aren't striving to be on the cover of Muscle and Fitness you probably do want to go down a couple of notches on your belt.
Surviving The Night Out:
Ok, so the practical stuff. As long as your diet is mostly on point and you exercise regularly (that's regularly, not excessively) then there is certainly no harm in having a night out. Ben, for example, is a rugby player, do you think he doesn't have a few beers with the boys after a match? Of course he does!
But alcohol is energy dense and devoid of any useful nutrients, alcohol yealds 7kcal per gram which means it's more energy dense than carbs and protein and almost as energy dense as fat. It’s also very easy to over consume. A typical pint of strong lager contains about 200kcal. A large glass of wine 210kcal so you can see that it’s easy to pretty quickly place yourself into an energy surplus after a couple of glasses. Likewise, the food that restaurants serve can be pretty energy dense, especially if they use sauces or contain lots of oils or butter.
That doesn’t mean you should avoid going out for a good time though, you just have to be tactical in how you approach it. So, here’s some practical tips for enjoying a good night out without undoing all your hard works.
- If you track calories, simply plan your night out and make room for your meal. You might see the menu for a lot of restaurants online so record the meal in your app before you get to the restaurant and then you know exactly how many calories you have to play with that day.
- Create a ‘buffer’. Eat slightly less earlier in the day (but don’t starve yourself), do some extra cardio to burn a few more calories or consume 100-200kcal less in the days leading up to your night out. If you’re not tracking calories just reduce your portions or, maybe, use a form of intermittent fasting like a 16 hour overnight fast that includes skipping breafast.
- If alcohol is involved cut down on fats and carbs during the day, concentrating on protein and vegetables to make room for a few drinks (alcohol kind of counts as a carb). You don't want to be going out boozing on an empty stomach so don't skip dinner but maybe you can skip breakfast or lunch instead?
- Try to have a jug of water on the table and sip water between glasses of wine or bottles of beer.
- Avoid the kebab shop on the way home. You’re not hungry enough to warrant all those unnecessary calories, you just think you are and, similarly, hide the cheese so you don't scoff the lot when you get home..
- Instead of rich energy dense deserts have a couple of pieces of dark chocolate on you and suck on one of those while you have your post meal coffee.
Don't panic, don't stress yourself out because you're eating 'non-diet' foods just find some way of applying a measure of control, have fun and then get right back to normal the next day. Even if you do eat and drink enough to put yourself into a significant energy surplus you’ll likely make up for it in the coming days and life is too short to not enjoy quality times with loved ones.
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