T Nation

Help Out My Guy?

Well, I guess this is the alternate to the “I want my girlfriend to start working out with me” thread. My husband has been motivated by my fitness quest to start getting into better shape. I was hoping to get some help and suggestions from you all, especially the guys working in construction.

He is 5’9" and around 200lbs. He’s fairly strong and solid, with a little extra fat he’d like to get rid of. He works in construction, so his work days are often physical - lifting and carrying heavy stuff. He also has fixed eating times - coffee break, lunch, afternoon break - and usually no access to a refrigerator.

He has lifted weights in the past, but it’s been several years now. He works a lot of overtime and does side-work, too - so his schedule is pretty full and he is often tired after work.

He’d basically like to look and feel a little better - lose a little fat and increase his overall health and fitness levels.

Getting his nutrition up to par is the first focus. We need to keep it simple, so I’ve got “7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs” and “Foods That Make You Look Good Nekid”. Just eating healthy and often will be a great start for him. He also wants to start HOT-ROX which I think will help him control his appetite.

For workouts, he doesn’t belong to a gym and we’re going to put together a bodyweight/dumbell routine, shooting for twice a week for starters. I’m looking at “The MacGyver Workout” and “Death by Bodyweight”. For someone who does physical work, what is the best approach/focus - a basic full body workout or should he incorporate more cardio?

I think it will be best to keep it as simple and easy as possible - I’d love some thoughts, tips, suggestions on:

*eating out of a cooler, on a fixed schedule
*quick & easy breakfast ideas would be great
*getting the most out of a minimalist workout routine

Sorry for the long post - thanks for your help!

PS - I was going to title this “Help for My Hubby”, but I didn’t want Damici to have a heart-attack :wink:

If he is doing laborous work, working out a lot might be counter-productive. I think the reason why some construction guys can get overweight is that when they get home and have nothing to eat or very little during the day, they have a HUGE dinner and then go straight to bed. Insulin spike! That is when the fat goes to the body.

Does he do lots of laborous work (ditch digging/jack hammer/ etc)? Or does he use the big machines where he just sits on his can 8+ hours a day?

Here are some suggestions for the nutrition side of it.

Quick and easy breakfast: 2 scoops Low-Carb Grow! and 1 cup oatmeal. Or he could get his eggs seperated the night before and have an egg white omlette in the morning it wouldn’t take that long

As far as eating out of a cooler during the day. I would have 2 Low-Carb Grow! shakes so he can drink them before lunch and dinner. I used drink mine at 9:00 and 2:15. I used to tell the boss it is just like getting a drink out of the water jug. Obviously better than drinking the construction drink of choice Mt. Dew.

For lunch I would make some chicken salad with whole wheat bread. Maybe a piece of fruit. Other days I would take just plain hamburger patty eat it cold and throw some catsup on it. As long as he had some meat and some carbs I think he will be fine just becuse he is so active. If he/you prepare the meals the night before that will probably help hom in the morning. I know it really helped me.

I found that if I would come home and go straight to the gym . I would get my workout in. If I dedcided to take a break I was not as consistent. Whatever works for him that will keep him going especially in the dog days of summer.

I had the same eating problem and being tired problem when I worked at a metal plant, working in a hot factory, with a lot of PPE when hand grinding, and even more when welding.

Reading Tom Venudo’s views on cardio helped me learn how much I realy needed for myself for when I want to lose fat (which was very much dependant on body type and activity level).

As far as the eating goes, we were allowed to take breaks fairly often, and when the guys went to have a cigarette, I would go to the cafeteria and grab one of my sandwiches (lots of meat, whole wheat bread or a wrap) and would be good until lunch.

I know lunch meat isn’t always the best choice, but it helped get me through the week. As for breakfast, I would (and sometimes still do) take a frozen piece of chicken and put in in a frying pan with water, covered.

I’d let it boil for a while, cut it in half and flip it, then let it boil more. This was all while getting ready for work in the morning and took about 30 minutes to cook the chicken. A quick bowl of quaker oats in the microave and I was good to go.

I’d usually eat it on my way to work since a lot of my morning preparation was making my sandwiches for pre-lunch, lunch, and post-lunch.

He could also bring some protein powder in a ziplock bag, and a shaker bottle for some extra protein. I also have some realy small tupperware containers (used for salad dressing) that I put flax oil in. I would put the container in another ziplock bag with ice to keep it cool, then take it like a shot for added fat to my meals.

Hi Jillybop,
As was already mentioned, if his job is physically demanding adding a lifting routine could be more detriment than help. I’d actually suggest he go the other route and start doing lower-moderate intensity cardio a few times a week. The body is able to recover from cardio much quicker, and its somewhat de-stressing after a rough day.

Find something he enjoys (or the both of you enjoy doing together) and have at it. Personally, I love biking and would recommend it above all else, but to each their own. Taking long walks, going hiking, rowing, playing tag/soccer with the kids (if they are old enough), and swimming would all make excellent choices.

As far as diet goes, I’d wait on the HOT-ROX until clean eating becomes more second nature. Apetite control isn’t really necessary yet either, as adding in more veggies often times curbs apetite anyway. First thing to go would be alcohol/soda, then work on getting rid of processed carbs replacing them with fruit/whole grains.

For quick breakfasts, I rather enjoy 2-3 scrambled whole eggs made with a few oz of sliced turkey and a cup of cottage cheese. From the time I get up, breakfast is done in less than 10 minutes. A cup of oats and blueberries takes about 2 minutes in the microwave, 5 minutes stovetop w/milk (its much better on the stove). Cream of wheat is pretty damn good too, and lightning quick.

Taking something to snack on (if possible) would be a good idea. Some almonds/macadamias/cashews, apples, hard cheeses, and dates are all easy to carry and can be eaten in a hurry. I used to carry cans of tuna for lunch, but am since terrified of mercury poisoning and now stay clear at all costs.

Jilly…

Well what worked for me during my time doing construction/concrete labor, etc. was fairly simple.

The workout seeing as I was working all day were short sweet, and painfull;. Make every set count. go fast go heavy and get out. I was doing three w/o’s a week that used all big movements squats deads etc… then if I felt like it and time permitted through in a few othe sets. Oh they were also total body, 2 -4 sets of each excersize, etc. something along the lines of CW’s TBT would work great.

Food. breakfast was eggs, leanmeats, maybe some oat meal, etc. lunch usually a huge portion of tuna salad, or similar, left overs, etc. really anything along the seven habits works. The main thing i to eat a lot of good food. dinner much the same. snaks were fairly simple as well things I could carry in nail bags, etc.

I would alway munch on sunseeds all day, other nuts etc travel easy as well and pack a good punch, also various jerky’s. Add in a boat load of water and your good to go. If he has the ability to keep drinks cold mixing Grow! in used soda bottles and recapping them is an awesome option.

Oh last thing is I did my w/o’s pre work upon waking. there was no damn way I would do a good workout after a long day bustin butt. I find working out beforhand though really got/gets me going for the day.

guess that it hope some of that helps,
Phill

I used to do prety well with a lunchmate full of fruit and protien shakes. Two peaches or bananas or both and 2 double serving protein shakes in 20 oz. water bottles. A frozen one to keep it all cool. Mid morn break I would down a shake and fruit, lunch, mid-day shake and fruit, then home for chow.
As far as conditioning goes, I would put great emphasis on flexability and rectifying any imbalances and bi-lateral differences, with emphasis on anything that could be subject to repetative motion or over use injuries. A lot of construction workers are plauged by these. I.T.B. syndrome(bad knees, bad back), unstable shoulders, all of those cumulative little aches and pains.
Then follow up with some strength and cardio.

Chad’s GPP program can be a help to him in bringing back a base level of fitness

With a lot of physical work during the week, overtraining will always be around the corner. He should probably only train about 3 times a week and try to keep his workouts to around an hour. The basic compound lifts will allow him to work more muscle at a time and get out of the gym faster. He should also limit his sets to maybe 9 per bodypart to test the waters.

Thanks so much for the suggestions so far - very helpful! I’m thinking that it might make sense to do more cardio and stretching, at least in the beginning, since he’s strong and “lifts” at work, but is much less aerobically fit and does have some back and knee issues. He used to love bike riding when he was younger and likes the idea of taking it up again.

Anybody else have $.02 to share? Thanks again!

I’de say make HIM read this post, and make HIM read the articles for training. Only way he’s really gonna learn.

[quote]freejury wrote:
I’de say make HIM read this post, and make HIM read the articles for training. Only way he’s really gonna learn.[/quote]

He is, I’m just his technical advisor :slight_smile:

[quote]Jillybop wrote:
Well, I guess this is the alternate to the “I want my girlfriend to start working out with me” thread. My husband has been motivated by my fitness quest to start getting into better shape. I was hoping to get some help and suggestions from you all, especially the guys working in construction.

He is 5’9" and around 200lbs. He’s fairly strong and solid, with a little extra fat he’d like to get rid of. He works in construction, so his work days are often physical - lifting and carrying heavy stuff. He also has fixed eating times - coffee break, lunch, afternoon break - and usually no access to a refrigerator.

He has lifted weights in the past, but it’s been several years now. He works a lot of overtime and does side-work, too - so his schedule is pretty full and he is often tired after work.

He’d basically like to look and feel a little better - lose a little fat and increase his overall health and fitness levels.

Getting his nutrition up to par is the first focus. We need to keep it simple, so I’ve got “7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs” and “Foods That Make You Look Good Nekid”. Just eating healthy and often will be a great start for him. He also wants to start HOT-ROX which I think will help him control his appetite.

For workouts, he doesn’t belong to a gym and we’re going to put together a bodyweight/dumbell routine, shooting for twice a week for starters. I’m looking at “The MacGyver Workout” and “Death by Bodyweight”. For someone who does physical work, what is the best approach/focus - a basic full body workout or should he incorporate more cardio?

I think it will be best to keep it as simple and easy as possible - I’d love some thoughts, tips, suggestions on:

*eating out of a cooler, on a fixed schedule
*quick & easy breakfast ideas would be great
*getting the most out of a minimalist workout routine

Sorry for the long post - thanks for your help!

PS - I was going to title this “Help for My Hubby”, but I didn’t want Damici to have a heart-attack :wink:

[/quote]
jillybop,

Try this book out, Brother Iron -Sister steele by Dave Draper. Very informative for working out at home.

As far as work diet goes, eggs and oatmeal with Grow! for breakfast, 3hrs.later A Grow! shake, they have to at least give the man a water break! For lunch have it pre-packed and ready, believe me I have eaten tons of cold chicken or chicken from a can, with some beans (lentils,red,black beans) and a apple or orange or some kind of fruit. Then 3hrs later on water break have another Grow! shake. Then if that is not enough,also have him carry Grow! bars for emergency.

What you do, tell your husband to NEVER get to the point to were your starving(it eats muscle),and try to stay hydrated.

I like to tell you Thanks,for the kind comments on my thread.If you go back to it,I tried to once again, to explain my position.Why,I do not know.

JSEXTREME