You’ve worked hard all week: you’ve counted all your carbs/protein/fats, trained like there’s no tomorrow, completed your cardio regimen, and remembered to work your core. Now it’s the weekend and your friends are going out. What do you do?
This is a dilemma I’ve faced over and over again. It’s tough to decide. Should I go out and be social? I know that’s what I really want to do, and that’s definitely what my friends want me to do; but is it worth it? If I stay home, I could get some homework done, watch a rerun of “It’s always Sunny in Philadelphia," and get caught up in the organic book?
Over the past year this has been a tough process for me, and I originally wanted to stay in every weekend. I thought it would help with my recovery but does it really pay off? On the nights that I’ve stayed in, I have usually ended up wasting my time by just obsessing about all the fun I could be having.
Don’t be afraid to go out and celebrate your successes. I’m not saying you should go out and completely disregard your diet and order the greasiest burger possible, drink everything in site, and stay out till five o'clock in the morning every weekend. What I am trying to say is that you need to be social for your mental health and to maintain your friendships. It is beneficial to go out and enjoy yourself every once in a while.
I can’t let myself disregard my diet and training. If my friends are planning to go out at ten o'clock (which is usually when I am thinking about going to bed), I’ll sit down around nine and make myself a fairly large meal; a healthy meal. That way when I go out I won’t be as tempted to eat too much. It’s a little tougher for me to speak on behalf of the drinking aspect, as I’m not of age yet. But what I can say is that it’s best to set a limit early and then stick with it. This will save the next day from being wasted in bed, or in the bathroom. Following simple rules like this has made going out a lot less of a hassle and has enabled me to not feel guilty about going out.
Go out and enjoy yourself once and a while. Not only does going out help retain your friendships and sanity; it helps put a new priority on your training. I missed out on a lot of fun last semester and I don’t want to make the same mistake again. I don’t go out every weekend, I don’t think my academic load will allow it, but now when I had a tough week I no longer feel guilty about going out.
Jack Burdick is majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota
and along with his weightlifting workouts, he competes in marathons and ultra-marathons (50 mile races) and is looking to earn a Cross-Fit title or to be recognized with The World’s Fittest Man title which is reserved for an ultra endurance power athlete.