First Date Dining Domination - How To Maintain Your Fitness in the Dating Game


So you've been working hard for the past few weeks, eating right and smashing your workouts. Your confidence is growing, you’re seeing changes in your body and you decided to get back into the dating game. The apps are installed, the perfectly angled photos taken, and your profile is complete for the whole world (or at least within a 10-20 mile radius) to see.

After swiping for some time, you happen to match with that sexy somebody and the conversation between you two is going really well. The banter is fantastic, you both share similar interests, and geek out to the same obscure pop culture references and cat videos. This person seems really cool and you can feel some text chemistry going on. You feel mutual genuine interest going on and want to find out if it will translate over in-person. The first date is set. Game on.

However, you know that you started your healthy lifestyle. You want to stick to eating healthy and not go off the rails because getting in shape is a top priority for you. You wanna take that sexiness level of yours from an 8 to an 11.5. So what do you do? Do you stay strict on your plan or do you ditch it for just one night? Luckily, you don't have to do either. Life is all about balance and I am a firm believer in being able to enjoy yourself while still reaching your goals.

Given that I am a single guy, I've had my fair share of first dates. Here are the five strategies I used that you can incorporate to have that first date and still stay on track with your health and fitness goals.

1. Location and menu - If you're doing the asking out, do your research for restaurants in the area that has healthy items on the menu. If you live in a major city like Los Angeles as I do, there should be no shortage of options.  Once you decided on the restaurant, read the menu and figure out in advance what you will order.  

Once your date suggests the place and you agree on it, do your homework as well. When in doubt, opt for the healthiest items on the menu, which usually comes in the form of some sort of protein and veggies. If the place is tapas style, even better since the portion sizes will be smaller.

2. Set a drink limit - Let's face it, first dates are always awkward. There's a bit of uneasiness from both sides, figuring out what to say and how to keep the conversation flowing without dealing with uncomfortable silences. One of the ways to take the edge off is to have some booze. Now I'm not saying not to drink altogether unless that is what you want to do. Personally, I love a good glass of wine or bourbon, but if you're going to drink, set a drink limit to one to two drinks max. 

So which of drinks are the best? In my opinion, the best alcoholic drinks are ones that are lower in calories, under 200 per drink. Here’s are my recommendations:

  • Vodka Soda: 96 calories

  • Wine (red or white): 110-140 calories

  • Gin and Tonic: 150 calories

  • Old Fashioned: 150 calories

  • Sazerac (my favorite): 180 calories

3. Eat slower - It takes our brains about 20 minutes to get the signal that we are full from eating a meal or snack. Take your time eating whatever healthy item that you chose to order. If it's going well and you're hitting it off with the other person, slow down your eating pace. Get caught up in deep conversation or laugh at their jokes even though they might not be funny.  Sometimes, I end up not even finishing my food because of that (just kidding I always do). Confession: Sometimes I eat my date’s food if she can't finish it.

4. Get in a workout before - There is a joke among guys about getting in a chest and arm workout before a date or before hitting the clubs. We don't do it because our arms and chest are gonna be nice and pumped when we arrive. Not even close. We do it because it helps us boost our confidence before we arrive and burn some calories, too. Don’t know which workout to do? Here’s a chest and arms workout and a full body workout that you can try out:

Pre-First Date Chest and Arms Workout
A. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
B. Incline Barbell Bench Press – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
C. Feet Elevated Pushups – 3 sets 15-20 reps

D1. Incline Dumbbell Curls – 4 sets of 10-12 reps
D2. Rope Triceps Extensions – 4 sets of 12-15 reps

Pre-First Date Full Body Circuit Workout
A1. Dumbbell Goblet Squat - 3 sets of 12 reps
A2. Lat Pulldowns - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
A3. Dumbbell Shoulder Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Perform each exercise back to back with no rest in between. After performing the entire circuit, rest 30-60 seconds before repeating again.

B1. Dumbbell Walking Lunges - 3 sets of 10-12 each leg
B2. One Arm DB Row - 3 sets of 10 reps each arm
B3. Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Perform each exercise back to back with no rest in between. After performing the entire circuit, rest 30-60 seconds before repeating again.

5. Have fun - At the end of the day, it's a first date, not a job interview, and you should have fun. First dates can be either daunting, exciting, or meh if you’re dead inside.  If you're like me, you find them exciting. If it goes well - awesome!  If not...then there will be plenty more first dates. If you are doing everything that you could be doing to achieve your goals, one night is definitely not going to set you back. Life is meant to be enjoyed, especially with good company.

Wrapping it up

Getting in shape and being healthy again is a priority for you, I get it.  However, that doesn't mean you can't work hard and play hard. Maintain your healthy eating habits and workouts through the week and allow yourself some leeway for events like this. Put these tips to use and you'll be able to dominate the dining portion of your first date.