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If I’m being honest, I like to party. Even though the wild child Savannah of her early 20’s has been (largely) reformed, every now and again I enjoy a night out…and by “now and again” I mean almost every weekend. Now, there’s nothing shameful about meeting up with friends and engaging in meaningless banter so long as you’re ok paying 18 bucks for a glass of wine. But for the evenings that you’re feeling just a bit too spry for the upscale lounge scene, you may find yourself way past the casual adult beverage come 2am.

What will happen most likely is the following: that one drink leads to 6-8, you singlehandedly plow through 3 bowls of bar snacks, knock back a jello shot, and an empty pizza box mysteriously appears in your bed come Monday morning. I’m all about having fun. I’d even say the occasional wild night out is healthy. But when “fun” starts to take a toll on your ability to thrive in the various aspects of your life, especially health and fitness, fun can be more damaging than cathartic. If you can relate to any of this, congratulations. You, too, like to party.

Like it or not, I’ve recently experienced a health and fitness crisis of my own. The heady combination of travel, open bars, and new love has thrown me into my “fat jeans” and out of my workout regimen. I’m not one to say it’s bad to enjoy yourself, but I’ve discovered that I enjoy myself and enjoy ME the most when my mind, body, and bank account are not in

the red. So how does one actually balance having fun and keeping sight of what’s really important? As someone who’s tried it all, here are some tools I’ve used that have lead me to my best (and healthiest) self while also letting my hair down. Cheers.

THE PREGAME:

Hydrate:

We all know drinking water is a good thing, but when we’re out dancing the night away, the only water we drink is a tablespoon of melted down ice cubes at the bottom of a vodka soda. Be good to yourself and don’t make the amateur mistake of dehydrating your body to the point of no return. Try alternating between alcoholic beverages and water. If that sounds too complicated, chug at least three bottles of water before the festivities ensue.

Have a Plan:

Going in with a structured idea of the night will lead you down the yellow brick road to moderation and stability. Make a point to leave at a certain time and be sure to stay away from any munchies that may sabotage your diet. Aim to have fun, but more importantly, set your sights on waking up refreshed and ready for a good workout in the AM.

Eat Before, Not After:

To stay on top of your game, eat a good meal beforehand. You’ll be less likely to sabotage your diet and you’ll be fueled for the night sans the late night taco run. If you need a snack, keep protein bars on hand.

THE PARTY:

Go Clear:

Drink clear liquids that have fewer calories and carbs (and no, beer does not count as clear). Skip the cranberry vodka (do people still drink those?!) and ask for a vodka soda with a splash of lime.

Dance Your A$$ Off:

For all you party animals, this is the time to really enjoy yourself while getting a good workout in. Think of it like Zumba class, but without an obnoxiously chipper instructor yelling at you to “travel salsa” to the left. Don’t be that lame person standing in the corner sipping a drink. Wear comfortable shoes and let loose.

Go Home:

Don’t wait for the lights to come on. Go home before the witching hour. You’ll be glad you did…clubs are an ugly place with the lights on.

THE AFTERPARTY:

Spoiler Alter: there is none. Nothing good comes from 3am “deep” conversations with strangers huddling around a kitchen island.

Listen To Your Mother:

Wash your face, brush your teeth, take a shower, and drink a glass of water before bed.

Set an alarm:

This is key! You’ve had your fun, now it’s time to get a restful sleep and wake up early (ish) to reset your day. Mentally ready yourself to get back on track and follow through with your fitness goals.

THE MORNING AFTER:

Hit the Gym:

If you’re really not feeling up to it, at the very least do some stretches and jog a few miles. If anything, you’ll feel totally superior to your friends for actually being a productive human being. Drink some water, enjoy your coffee, and get active. It’ll make that boozy brunch all the more enjoyable when you’ve stuck to your word.

Refuel:

Giving your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to detox your system is key. Opt for a green veggie juice to avoid unwanted sugar consumption. I like to make mine with spinach, cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger, and turmeric.

WHAT IT ALL MEANS:

Remember what you want:

It’s easy to succumb to the careless joie de vivre of an all nighter, but the best trick to stop you from appeasing your demons is to remember what the next morning will look like…FYI runny mascara and sunshine do not look pretty. Be smart and stay on track. A little party never killed nobody but it definitely didn’t get anyone in shape either.

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