May bank holiday round two is here, hurrah! Despite the weather taking a turn for the worst, we’re still enjoying lazy days, chilling with friends and the wonderful knowledge that we don’t have to get up for work tomorrow. And even though the weather is crap, we’re still 100% planning that obligatory bank holiday BBQ: burgers, hot dogs, creamy salads, it’s enough to make a grown man weep, but if you’re in the know then there are ways to limit the damage.
We spoke to Keith McNiven, founder of London based personal training company Right Path Fitness, who told us all about how we can limit the damage of a bank holiday BBQ…
How to limit the damage of a bank holiday BBQ
Limit the treats
Believe it or not but most of our annual weight gain comes not from a steady increase but from weekends of pure excess. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to gain body weight (that seems mightily unfair, doesn’t it?!). So when you have a BBQ coming up, try to limit your ‘treats’ like fatty or fried foods for as long as you can beforehand – even if it’s only a day or two.
Go for a morning run
The reality is that keeping fit should be a lifestyle choice and not a fad, and if you’re exercising regularly and eating well then the odd BBQ won’t knock you back too much. If you have a big BBQ coming up though, a morning run can help to alleviate any lingering guilt you might feel, or do it the morning after and kick back into your training ASAP.
Go for the healthier options
When it comes to BBQs, it’s easier than ever to make good food choices. Sure, enjoy your burger, but pile your plate high with salad, veggies and other healthy options. Salad and veggies are low in calories but full of nutrients and fibre, and you can still eat tasty BBQ food and enjoy yourself while doing your body a favour.
A lot of traditional BBQ foods like sausages can be quite fatty, but BBQs definitely don’t have to be unhealthy. Opt for fish, like prawn skewers with roasted vegetables, chicken with corn on the cob and fresh salad or veggie skewers. Really tasty and really good for you. Win win.
Get some weights in
The brilliant thing about weights is that the benefits last long after your training session has finished, meaning you can be munching on your hot dog whilst still burning calories from the morning. Add in a little weight session after your run and you’ll be feeling doubly virtuous.
For many, a BBQ often involves a drink or two and if you’re going to partake then opt for choices that are lower in calories like vodka with fresh juice or diet Cola, a G&T or if you’re feeling fancy, champagne. Make sure you’re not drinking on an empty stomach and don’t go overboard – it’ll make that morning-after run a lot harder.
Ditch the sauces
Often it’s not the ‘main’ food that racks up the calories at a BBQ but all the extras. A serving of coleslaw can have about the same number of calories as a sausage, so if you’re adding all kinds of relishes and sauces you can easily double your calorie intake without even realising. Choose a plain salad with a vinaigrette dressing instead, and if you do want to have coleslaw, either make your own or keep a very close eye on how much you’re having.