Work hard, play harder: maintaining your diet and fitness on Phoenix Pride weekend

Holding a heart with the gay pride colours

By Tia Norris, April 2019 Issue.

With Pride weekend fast approaching, I’m here as your fitness expert to arm you with strategies to have fun on the big weekend, while also not wrecking your health in the process. It’s all about the setup, going into a weekend like Pride: fail to plan, plan to fail! It’s worth noting that these strategies also apply to any weekend where you’ll be going HAM on the fun meter … keep these in mind for your next adventure, and I promise they will make the physical stress of a party weekend much more sustainable!

There are three key areas to maintaining as much “health” as possible in the face of a holiday weekend: exercise, diet, and lifestyle. Let’s explore the potential pitfalls in each category, with my top-secret trainer tips on how to set yourself up to succeed and also enjoy the ride.

EXERCISE

  1. When it comes to exercise, I always advise my clients to arrive at the destination “red-hot” … meaning, pedal to the floor on your exercise going into the weekend! Dial up your intensity and frequency during the weeks approaching the event, so that you can ride the metabolic afterburn of intense workouts while also not feeling too bad about missing a workout or two when you’re busy enjoying yourself. The best-case scenario would be to, at the start of the weekend or event, need recovery for a day or two. This eases the stress of “needing to exercise” while on holiday and kills two birds with one stone.
  2. If either you are unable to arrive at the event needing recovery, or you are on a program where you cannot take the time off from exercise during the event, get it in early. Wake your ass up an hour or two early and get your exercise out of the way on the big day! If you leave it for later in the day, the likelihood of it getting done decreases by the minute. Check the box, get it out of the way, and get on with the fun.
  3. Plan group workouts if your crew is into that. Do you have a friend or two in the group that is also into fitness? Can you schedule a spin class, or a hike, or a boot camp, first thing in the morning on the big day? This goes along with #2 above, in getting shit done early… but, also combined with the strength in numbers! Group accountability is a powerful thing, take advantage of it if your people are down for it!

DIET

  1. Plan to eat regularly and bring food if you’re going to need it. Plan everything. Think about your upcoming day, in detail, and when you’re going to need to eat, generally. Think about whether you’ll be able to get food at those times, or if you need to bring a bag with bars, beef jerkies, trail mix, or other snacks that you like. Oh, and don’t starve yourself all day, asshole. Eat regularly – be aware, according to your potential schedule, when you will need to probably eat. And know, that sometimes, you might not be hungry at those times due to distraction and stress … make yourself eat anyway! You don’t want to get into a low blood sugar or energy crash situation. Stay ahead on your nutrition and you’ll keep the vibe high all day and night.
  2. Hydrate! This echoes #1 above. Think about how much water you’re going to need throughout the day. Will you have access to a place to refill your water? You need to at least have a bottle of water on your person at all times, you never know in an event like Pride how long you’ll be walking or talking or doing whatever, until you’re able to get water again. And if you’re outside in the sun, drink even more! Stay hydrated to keep your energy up, today and for tomorrow. The water you drink today, is what will determine how you feel tomorrow. Remember that.

LIFESTYLE

  1. Don’t forget sunscreen! If you’re outside, you need sunscreen, and I don’t care how warm or cold it is. Just put it on first thing in the morning and consider bringing some in your bag if you’re going to be outside all day. If you fry yourself in the sun, trust me, you’ll be feeling it later in the evening and most certainly the next day.
  2. Rest up! I swear, no one gets enough sleep. Sleep is the oldest trick in the book to feeling good! You need it. Catch up on sleep going into your weekend or event, and you’ll at least get a head start on the likely sleep deficit you’re about to walk into. And on this note, consider taking a day or two with a lighter schedule after a trip or party weekend like Pride … you’ll need a day or two to catch up and reset before you get back to the grind.

Remember, preparation is key! Set yourself up with the proper exercise plan going into your weekend. Stay on top of your food and hydration during the weekend. And do your best to actually recover after the damage is done, this is the most common time where people tend to get sick and run down. Work hard on all of this stuff, so that you can play even harder on special weekends like Pride!