Do you sit on the couch all week and then go all out running or gymming on the weekend? Do you sit at your workstation all week and suddenly remember your fitness goals over the weekend? Do you find yourself getting excessively sore all week due to the intense running or workouts over the weekend? If you answered yes to these then you are a weekend warrior. A weekend warrior is someone who participates in physically strenuous activities only over the weekend and spare time. There are many pros and cons of doing this; however the real question is that how healthy is it to do this!
Let’s look at the scenarios. One is that you work out evenly through the week and then increase your workouts slightly over the weekend. For example, you do short runs through the week and then do long runs on a Sunday. This is the ideal way to attain and maintain fitness. The other alternatively is that you do nothing all week and nothing over the weekend. In short you lead a highly sedentary life where exercise plays no role whatsoever. The weekend warrior falls in between these two scenarios. There are short high intense bursts of activity only in the spare time and on a part-time basis. This person goes all out so much so that the next few days he is hardly able to move due to soreness.
There are a lot of “weekend warriors” out there who get fit by logging in most of their training time on weekends. There is one study that has specifically explored this topic. The study published in 2006 by Tim Meyer and colleagues tested whether the weekend warrior style training program was less beneficial in terms of fitness gained over a twelve-week training program. The study surprisingly found that fitness benefits gained by training only on weekends were just as good as those doing regular training. The next question that needs to be addressed is that whether this style of training leads to more injuries. Not many studies have explored this but a 1989 study of over 16 runners in Ontario, Canada found that running more miles per day on running days and running very far on your longest weekly run were both associated with a higher risk of injury. This means that even though your fitness levels may improve just as well, chances of injuries are higher if you engage in high intensity work outs only over the weekends.
So if you are one of those people who only have time on weekends to work on your fitness, don’t despair! Working out only on weekends is better than not working out at all. Just be aware of your vulnerability to injuries and take enough precautionary steps to steer clear of them.