By Jessica Solloway
February 04, 2010
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Don't let the weekend jeopardize your fitness plan. Weekends are a much-needed respite from your cranky boss, hectic commute and 10-hour stretches in front of a computer. But if you spend two full days partying until dawn, guzzling down drinks, and giving up on your diet, you'll feel like you were run over by a truck come Sunday night. Learn how to use the weekend to focus on fitness and nutrition, recharge and rejuvenate without sacrificing fun.

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Shop on Saturday

By the end of the work week, your fridge probably contains a whole lot of nothing. Rather than eating string cheese from last May (that never ends well), do your grocery shopping on Saturday so you can stock up for the rest of the weekend and work week ahead. Ordering in or dining out from Friday to Sunday can be expensive and unhealthy since you may not know how things are prepared.

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Plan Your Meals for the Week

Don't just aimlessly pile up your cart at the supermarket. (Turkey, gummy bears and an onion does not add up to dinner!) Planning ahead saves time and money. Making a list of what you'll need for complete meals and snacks helps you get in, get out and get back to your weekend! If you need some cooking inspiration, peruse your favorite food websites for healthy meal ideas and trade recipes with your friends.

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Don't Try to Catch up on Sleep

But weekends were invented for sleeping in, right? Not exactly. Recent studies prove that sleeping until noon on a Sunday morning will not make up for the minimal amount of shut-eye you got last week. Michael Breus, Ph.D., author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep, recommends trying to keep within 30-60 minutes of your regular bedtime and wake time. Sticking to a schedule promotes better quality sleep, which can have a lasting impact on beauty, weight, sex, health and more.

"Use weekends to prepare for a long work week rather than trying to make up for them," Breus adds. Find for more sleeping tips from Dr. Breus.

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Do a "Fast Food" Makeover

Finally - two blissful days where you can whip up a nice breakfast instead of eating cereal out of a plastic bag at your desk. If you crave an egg and cheese sandwich on Sunday mornings, give your favorite fast food a healthy makeover with these simple swaps:

Bacon: Try Canadian Bacon

Biscuit: Try English Muffin or Whole Wheat Toast

Eggs: Try Egg Whites or Egg Substitute

Cheese: Try Slice of low fat or spreadable cheese

Sausage: Try Vegetarian sausage

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Create a Weekend Workout Schedule

Weekends are the perfect time to invest in your long-term fitness and nutrition goals (especially because you don't have to fight anyone for an elliptical). Follow a weekend workout schedule so you can plan your day accordingly. If you have a set time and a game plan, you're less likely to skip out on your workout. Tip: go before you start tackling your to-do list for the day. This also frees up your late afternoons for a reality-TV marathon of your choice. Yes!

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Have a Better Brunch

After a few too many Bellinis and slices of bacon, you can say goodbye to all the hard work you put in at the gym. Your best brunch bet is a protein packed omelet (egg whites if you like), filled with your favorite veggies and light on the cheese. Choose wheat or whole grain toast instead of a roll or white bread. Pass on the potatoes and ask for a side salad or sliced tomatoes instead. Keep your breakfast booze to a minimum.

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Don't Drink your Calories

From coffee to cocktails, high-calorie drinks can really sabotage your diet. Steer clear of fattening specialty coffee drinks and go for a small skim latte with cinnamon sprinkled on top. When you're out on the town, anything frozen and/or topped with an umbrella (think daiquiris and margaritas) is probably loaded with calories. Opt for light beer (100 calories a bottle or less) or one shot of hard alcohol mixed with a zero-calorie soda and lime. Avoid high-calorie sodas or juices. Be sure to order a water or club soda in between drinks to rehydrate.

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Dine Right

If you're going out for dinner, start with a salad or vegetable-based soup as an appetizer. Choose fresh fish or lean meat entrees rather than pasta in heavy cream sauce. Don't be afraid to ask for substitutions. If you're craving something that's a bit of a splurge, order the appetizer portion with a salad to keep portion control in check.

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Have a Power Walking Powwow

Spending time with friends usually revolves around food and drinks. Why not catch up over a long walk around the neighborhood? Not only will brisk power walking burn calories, but it will get you outside for some fresh air-and keep you away from the fridge and Facebook! Exercising with friends is a great way to stay motivated and keep each other on track.

Weekend Fitness Tip:

Channel Grandma

Spend some time in the kitchen preparing a few meals that can easily freeze, like chili or pot of homemade chicken soup. You'll be so glad you planned ahead after a long, stressful day when you have zero motivation to chop, dice or bake.

What's your weekend fitness schedule? Does power walking work for you? Share your weekend fitness and nutrition goals with us!