Are Weekend Workouts Enough to Stay Fit?

Lower Body Weekend Workout Plan

Don’t let your weekend become your weak end. Instead, you can use weekend workouts to stay on track with your diet and fitness goals. It’s true! With proper planning and keeping your diet in check, especially during the week, you can still stay fit by being a weekend warrior.

How Much Activity is Enough?

Just as you might try to fit in mini workouts throughout the week to get in exercise, maybe the exact opposite is best for you: doing most of your workout on the weekends.

How much exercise do you need to cram into a weekend for it to be effective? The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults (between 18 and 64 years old) do at least 150 (and up to 300) minutes of moderate exercise per week. Or, you can do high-intensity exercise for between 75 and 150 minutes per week for cardiovascular purposes.

They also recommend strength training at least two days a week, working all the major muscle groups in the body.

What does all this add up to? It means that, technically, if you can fit it all in a weekend, go for it! You’ll probably have to work out on both Saturday and Sunday (maybe even Friday night!) to get in the allotted time, but it can be done. Two-a-days are also an option (i.e., working out twice a day).

Don’t Ruin Your Progress with a Bad Diet

When you’re only working out on the weekends (aka just two days a week), you really have to keep your diet tight during the week. That means keeping your calories in check, getting in plenty of whole natural foods, quality proteins, and healthy fats. Eat for fuel and function. It’s fine to enjoy a fun meal here and there, as long as you eat in a healthy way most of the time (70 to 90% of the time). Don’t give your body the chance to turn food into fat by overeating during the week while you may be more sedentary than on weekends.

Sneak in Extra N.E.A.T. During Your Week

To make weekend workouts work for you, it will require some strategy on your part during the week. Do you have to do formal exercise? No, but doing little to no exercise during the week means you have to look for ways to burn extra calories throughout the week.

What can you do? It’s called N.E.A.T. and it stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. These are the extra calories you burn by all the movement you do when you’re not sleeping. What kinds of movement? Think things like parking far away from your destination and walking, talking the stairs instead of the elevator, fidgeting, shivering, pacing, standing while working, housework, gardening, etc. All these extra calories burned add up over time to help you stay fit and lean.

So, I Want to Do Weekend Workouts, What Now?

To be strategic and get the most out of your weekends, plan to work your entire body (all the muscle groups). The easiest way to accomplish this is to split the body into upper and lower areas. Then, you can do your Upper Body Workout on Saturday and your Lower Body Workout on Sunday. Add in your cardio after your weight training, and you’re all set. It might look something like this:

Saturday Workout

Weekend Workout Plan

Upper Body Strength Training Workout:

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Back
  • Biceps

Do 2 – 3 exercises for each body part with 3 sets for each exercise. Make sure the weight is heavy enough that you’re struggling a bit on those last few reps.

Cardio: Go for 20 – 30 minutes, ideally, of moderate aerobic activity.

Sunday Workout

Lower Body Weekend Workout Plan

Lower Body Strength Training Workout:

  • Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes)
  • Calves
  • Abs

Cardio: Go for 20 – 30 minutes, ideally, of moderate aerobic activity.

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Building a Weekend Workouts Plan

As an example, your Saturday Workout might look something like this:


  • Pushups: 3 sets of 10
  • Dumbbell Presses: 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps
  • Cable Flyes: 3 sets with moderate weight for 12 – 15 repetitions


  • Overhead Press Machine: 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Side Laterals: 3 sets of 10 – 15 each side
  • Front Plate Raises: 3 sets of 10


  • Cable Pushdowns: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Dumbbell Kickbacks: 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
  • Close-Grip Bench Press: 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps


  • Pullups: 3 sets of 5 – 10
  • Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
  • Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps


  • Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Concentration Curls: 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps


  • 20 minutes on the recumbent bike

Your cardio should be performed after your resistance training as your body will be primed to burn the most fat at this time. Aim for 20 – 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio like a brisk walk, using the elliptical, swimming, hiking, or a light jog. Otherwise, you can do a shorter session of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) for 12 – 20 minutes to round out your workout.

What’s the catch? The catch is that when you do do your workouts on the weekend, you really need to get it done. That means focused, intensive work. You can’t expect miracles with weekend workouts if you only use the same time and intensity you would normally use in four or five less intense workout sessions during the week.