T Nation

Does Job Activity Matter That Much?

You hear lots of people comment on being thankful they work an active job, psychologically I understand…however as far as conditioning goes etc what are peoples thoughts on this subject?

Keeping it objective, there could be downsides as a bber (too MUCH calorie expenditure), although i’m sure there are plenty of neurological benefits. Or perhaps for a recreational athlete the ability to maintain a better condition consistently.

What are everyones thoughts on this. How does your work life effect you physically. Chime in active or not.

I have been in a sit down job for the best part of 10 years. It pays well but I need to train hard and consistently to work on my hip flexors, shoulders, neck etc.

So given a choice I’d want a more hands on, active job.

It has a ginormous effect on me. I have a high metabolism and burn through more food before noon than most people eat in a day. During a layoff/return to college I went through a complacency period of eating like crap and not lifting. Lost muscle, gained fat and ended up at a doughy 180 lbs.

In the past 4 mos. I’ve stripped down 20 lbs. and veins are starting to re-emerge at chest, shoulders, & lower abdominal. I’m just now adapting and accommodating to the activity level at about 3500-4000 cal/day to stop losing weight. Usually require 6-7000 to build.

Currently working as a welder/shipfitter. Lots of heavy lifting for extended periods of time and repetitive strenuous movements. Avi pic is me at 170, taken very near the end of my previous term of employment as a frame fitter working with aluminum. Had a lot more energy through out the day and plenty in the tank to lift after work.

I think it is great for general conditioning, but with the pace and high caloric demand, I don’t know if it would be very good for a serious BBer. Then again, that would be talking out of my depth, because I am not what anybody would mistake for a serious BBer, or even a general mass monster.

Well,I work in both a white collar job and a more or less “Blue collar Job” I felt that I could still function and am able to knock my work out right off the a long day of the “Active” job just because I was moving already. On my part time job,Even though im more relaxed,I feel pretty sleepy and tired and simply unmotivated at the end of the day. Your work has alot to do with how you perform and feel. Im thinking I could eat during the day and during lunch I can head off to the gym but this is only after I quit my other job.

Slightly off topic,I realized that a blue collar worker thats tired and sore is alot more dangerous than a white collar worker that has been relaxed and sitting on his ass all day.

I worked construction for 1 summer. I was putting down over 5000 calories a day and still lost weight. This was in Texas in 100+ degree heat though, so I’m sure that had a lot to do with it.

I think for some, joint health may become an issue. Especially if you were doing alot of repetitive movements (hammering nails for example).

[quote]Otto the Ecto wrote:
I think for some, joint health may become an issue. Especially if you were doing alot of repetitive movements (hammering nails for example).[/quote]

And that’s where I am today. Years of concrete floors, workboots and factory work have taken their toll.

Last fall I took down a bunch of trees in two days and my right elbow has still not fully recovered. Two days of holding a chainsaw did something to it. If I try to lift a tub of protein powder for example from the lid only like a claw, if feels like an icepick’s being jammed in on the outside of my elbow, not a pleasent feeling. I’ve had my share of injuries and broken bones like most active people but this elbow thing has me spooked the most.

I have no doubt this is from repetitively fighting with transport truck springs on a furnace line year after year.

I now have a job that’s easier physically but it requires a ton of walking so I’m leaner than ever which I find strange because one would think I would have been leaner slugging red hot steel on a factory line burning up calories. Guys I worked with were shocked at how much food I ate in a twelve hour shift. Eating a pile of veggies and such at 9:00 am first break blew my buddies minds lol. I gave up trying to explain to them it really wasen’t that much food compared to folks more dedicated to training.

I did landscape maintenance and tree pruning for 9 years after college. I loved the work, but I was often too wiped out at the end of the day to get a decent workout; I found it extremely hard to maintain muscle mass. I also have a number of injuries which still bother me.

I have had a desk job for about 5 years and my physique is steadily improving.

I used to work as a mover during summer break from college. I used to train at the ass-crack of dawn before work, because I would be so tired after work I’d basically go straight home to eat and go to bed. I was in great shape by the time football camp rolled around at the end of summer. Lifting and carrying boxes and furniture all day up and down stairs will do that to you.

I was able to get stronger but only after my body adapted to the increased workload. I didn’t put on much size, but I really didn’t want or need to. I’m not sure it would have been feasible either. There just wasn’t enough time to get meals in. If there was enough time to eat I’m pretty sure I could have.

I work a desk job now and can gain or lose weight at will. I have to put in a lot more gym time and get strict with my diet to cut down now that I’m sedentary for most of the day though. I used to eat pizza and other assorted bullshit all the time and still got leaner when I was doing physical labor all day.

Hmmm, interesting feedback. I know for me I started with my fathers contracting business full time for about 2 years and in that time I was probably getting in better shape but I think I was too young to see significant change. Then I got into the fitness industry and after 6 years of moving up in the world I noticed the type of work effecting my physique (going from training to management).

Now i’m looking for a career change and would like to start a trade but am weighing all these variables. As far as a trade that won’t have my ass broken by 40 and would still supply the reward of physical work yet psychological demand, I thought electrician would be the way to go. Hopefully my shoulders wont be fucked from pulling cables.

I do know now that taking advantage of manual therapies and no training like a dumb ass are paramount. Probably one of the most important tools I’ve learned in life is how to properly evaluate and assess available ranges, and neuro-muscular function. I’m hoping this skill set will pay dividends in my future…oh yea another thing, we’re looking at ft/lbs not lbs peeps…

Well I work as a butcher and when I first started all I did was run lunch meat. I lost around 10 pounds just doing that, this is before I started lifting. Now that I have a lot more responsibility I remove cardio from our truck days because of all the extra physical activity of unloading/downstacking product. My job and lifting both help each other out though because my job gives me a cardio variation and lifting has made more multiple 80-140 cases of meat around a hell of a lot easier.

There is a downside, in my profession if you have no cardio it is a liability.

We have a couple guys that have done BBer stuff and doing training with them they suck down an air bottle way too fast.

[quote]lanchefan1 wrote:
There is a downside, in my profession if you have no cardio it is a liability.

We have a couple guys that have done BBer stuff and doing training with them they suck down an air bottle way too fast. [/quote]

I dunno why but I find that a very cool observation…

[quote]bond james bond wrote:

[quote]Otto the Ecto wrote:
I think for some, joint health may become an issue. Especially if you were doing alot of repetitive movements (hammering nails for example).[/quote]

And that’s where I am today. Years of concrete floors, workboots and factory work have taken their toll.

Last fall I took down a bunch of trees in two days and my right elbow has still not fully recovered. Two days of holding a chainsaw did something to it. If I try to lift a tub of protein powder for example from the lid only like a claw, if feels like an icepick’s being jammed in on the outside of my elbow, not a pleasent feeling. I’ve had my share of injuries and broken bones like most active people but this elbow thing has me spooked the most.

I have no doubt this is from repetitively fighting with transport truck springs on a furnace line year after year.

I now have a job that’s easier physically but it requires a ton of walking so I’m leaner than ever which I find strange because one would think I would have been leaner slugging red hot steel on a factory line burning up calories. Guys I worked with were shocked at how much food I ate in a twelve hour shift. Eating a pile of veggies and such at 9:00 am first break blew my buddies minds lol. I gave up trying to explain to them it really wasen’t that much food compared to folks more dedicated to training.

[/quote]

That’s interesting, James. The pain you’re describing sounds the same as mine and I get the sharp pain you describe when lifting something that requires my hand to grip something very thick. I have little elbow pain lifting something thin, such as a barbell. However, operating a chain saw consistently doesn’t hurt, it just causes a little discomfort in the area.

The first time I experienced the pain, I have no idea what caused it, but it was present for about 7 months. I ran out of work, so I rested, stopped lifting for 3 weeks and it went away. I went back to work repairing steel railroad bridges and it didn’t bothered me for about 3 months. I injured it a second time DB overhead pressing. I didn’t brake soon enough on one rep and locked out my left elbow. That momentary lack of concentration caused an instant relapse. I’ve tried avoiding upper body lifting, but it hasn’t worked. I can’t get complete rest unless I quit my job, get fired, or they lay me off, so I’m not sure how or when it’ll heal this time.

I can’t complain, though, because most of my adult life, I have had physically demanding jobs and I was a long-distance runner in college, so the elbow and the plantar fasciitis are the only two things that bother me consistently. Of course, I’m only 34.

I work a warehouse job, alot of lifting, walking on concrete for 8+ hours a day. At first it did leave me pretty wiped out afterwards however, your body will eventually adapt to the extra workload, at least mine did.

Actually, at this point i’ve found that when i have complete days off from work my training actually is worse than if i worked all day. Now, there is some downside to things, i’ve already had posterior tibial tendonitis, as well as tennis elbow, party due to my workload. I’ve found that recovery aids, foam rolling, stretching, as well as other preventative measures will go a long way to helping things.

In summers I work for a pool company. There’s a lot of walking, digging, wheelbarrowing concrete and stone, and other crap. I work out after work and it doesn’t effect me negatively at all. In fact, like others have mentioned, I think my workouts are better. I’m able to lose a lot of flab over the months due to the job and my lifts all go up. Can’t wait til April rolls around!