T Nation

Keeping Muscle w/ Labor Intense Job


This a question for anyone with a labor intensive job who also works out. I got a new job where I load pallets for 11 hours a day probably burning a million calories. My question is, how do i keep my muscle when I'm doing the equivalant of 11 hrs of intense aerobics?


Eat more!
Prioritize the muscles you use less at work when training in the gym.



Eat constantly and alot.

You'll have to adjust your workouts to fit into the job, if you haven't already. There's days you're going to be too banged out to push it in the gym.

You'll figure it out though, and eventually you'll get used to the amount of labor and going to the gym at the same time. The first month could be a bitch though.


Agreed. I once worked a summer job in a factory where I was on my feet for 12 straight hours in a 120 degree room. Needless to say, my workouts suffered...

So, as was stated already, make sure you focus on the muscles you aren't trashing at your job, and save your most intense workouts for the weekend, when you actually have some energy to put towards them. I always saved my leg workouts for Saturdays during the summer job I mentioned...

On the plus side, you're going to be burning so many calories you can absolutely stuff your face with food all day long with no negative consequences.


I had this problem a couple of years ago and had to teach myself to eat 8 times a day. Worked great!


i lost 3 lbs in 2 days (just started working there), dont think it was water (they supply all you want). How does this fall into the 'high volume workout? if i eat a ton of protien could i actually gain muscle? thanks all


If you eat alot of protein and calories you wont lose weight. The way I see it, is that if you eat lots of protein, you will maintain the muscle and your weight, but dont forget to try and get some protein in at least every 3 hours. Also eat fruits and vegetables and as said drink lots of water.


Well, the "volume" of work you're doing is certainly high. Unfortunately, your loading parameters aren't.

The only thing that will probably grow from the "volume" of the work you're doing is your forearms, from all the gripping of the pallets.

Beyond that, I wouldn't try to twist the physicality of your job into a "workout", unless you were in a fat loss phase, in which case this job of yours would be fantastic.

Since you're attempting to maintain your muscle mass, you just need to do as was already stated: Eat an assload of calories, especially protein, to offset all the calories you're burning at your job.

You're going to be hard pressed to gain muscle with the amount of calories you're burning, at least initially, so you'd better focus on keeping what you've got until your body gets used to the new workload.


I did a similar job 3 summers in a rows (college summer here are 16 weeks). You'll have to eat a ton of food, I mean A TON! But you will quickly adapt to the job's demand, you'll get overally more conditionned. You'll have to tweak your training a little. I don't think your progress will suffer that much...as long as you eat enough and sleep well.


You'll probably want to suck down some Grow! or Metabolic Drive every few hours since they have slow digesting proteins. This way, you'll always have protein in your system.


my workouts are currently 6-7 days/week, 1 1/2hrs long. full body. thank God i changed to this kinda workout the first of the year, i dont have much muscle soreness from work. i work 3 on 4 off so i thought i would rest 1, high frequency with reps at 6-8 at about 70% 1rm for 3 days then work for 3 days. what do ya think? any suggestions welcome!


DUDE you are working out way too much, even if didn't work such a physically intense job 6-7 days in gym is too much. your body needs some rest time to build and recover.

if you really work a hard physical job for long hours like that, lifting heavy loads and such I'd say 2 days in gym is enough. unless you are a teen or young buck in 20's I don't see how you could do more without overtraining and suffering loss of size and strength.


thought i was following the general principles of high volume training, i never go 100% in the gym


Bot then why go?? ANY training with exception of a down/unloading week you should be in there getting it DONE!!!!.

I will say when I was doing concrete, or Iron work, or tire work, general construction etc.. I found what worked for me was drag my ass out of bed early and get a short full body w/o in 3 days a week. Just something along the lines of a BIG Push, Pull, and leg movement and maybe a set or two of other things to hit weak points.

Then a ton of food. Just worked better for me. I just couldnty give the intensity or have the drive after a long day of work and could always push through a work day if I was tired.

Plus not doing a split and just KILLING one body part helped a ton, If I were to do a split the it SUCKED at work limping through the day with DOMS etc. The frequency method seems the best in this case IMO