How to do parties and barbeques and stay LEAN

I hope you're having a fun Memorial Day weekend!  If you're like most people, this weekend (and many summer weekends to come) will involve some fun barbeques and weekend parties.

A lot of people totally let their fitness goals slip and pack on the pounds during these weekend parties and gatherings.  But it doesn't have to be that way... it can actually be fairly easy to still enjoy the summer parties while staying lean and healthy, if you make some smart choices...

So, here's a few tips off the top of my head to help you out:

1.  First, if you get a good full body resistance training workout within a couple hours before you go to a party or barbeque, you'll be able to have a little more leeway in terms of your body being able to handle higher calorie loads or higher carbohydrate loads.  Remember that this needs to be more than just a "cardio" workout.  Cardio doesn't really stimulate the metabolic response nearly as much as full body resistance training, so this is important.

In fact, as long as you did great with your nutrition all week long, your day of backyard barbeque on the weekend can be your "cheat day" and you can indulge on most items without much guilt (with the exception of deep fried foods and soda in my opinion, which are so damaging to your health that they still have no rightful place in any human diet).

But just remember to get right back to a good clean nutrition plan when you get back home from the bbq or party.  Where most people go wrong is falsely thinking that they "screwed up" on their nutrition, so they might as well just binge the entire weekend now.  That's the wrong mentality. 

2.  If you didn't get a full body workout on the day of the bbq/party, then it's not a good idea to do a full "cheat day" and you should probably practice some restraint at the party in terms of what foods you choose.  Personally, I prefer to "go a little nuts" at barbeques, so I make sure to get a good workout beforehand so the extra calories are utilized for muscle repair instead of fat deposition. 

But if you can't squeeze in a workout that day, you'll need to make smarter choices... 

One way to do this in the healthiest way with the least damage to your waistline is to choose mostly meats and veggies, but avoid the starchy carbs as much as possible.  So load up on the meats, the greens salad, and the grilled veggies, but avoid the potatoes, breads, and other starchy foods.  Also, make sure only drink water or unsweetened iced tea instead of sweetened drinks.

3.  Ok, now we get to the controversial topic of alcohol... and although most fitness pros will tell you that you need to avoid all alcohol, I need to acknowledge that this isn't realistic, as most people are simply not willing to fully give up social drinking (including myself).

I have an article at my site that covers balancing social drinking into a fitness/nutrition plan that will still keep you lean:

7 tips to still enjoy alcohol and stay lean and healthy

4.  When it comes to the actual cooking of the food at your backyard parties/barbeques, make sure you also read my article below:

NEVER grill meat, unless you do this

Enjoy those summer parties!

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer