T Nation

Loading Trucks & Training


I am about to start a graveyard shift loading trucks for about 6 hours a day to help pay for college. The job requires you to load a 40-70 lb. package every 10 seconds which does not seem like a big deal by itself. But, I lift 3 days a week usually mon./wed./fri., and do cardio usually tue./thur./sat. I usually do a full body, low rep high set workout each day, and do cardio for 30-60 minutes.

My question is does anyone have experience with this, and if so should I scale back my workouts to prevent overtraining or injury? I was thinking doing upper body sat., lower body sun., and a full body workout wed. This way my work wouldn't suffer, and I would still be training 3 days a week.


dude, i recently did a very similar thing, and kept training 6 days a week, and still managing to go out at night. that lasted for about a week, and i got really ill, and was bed ridden for 5 days. i pushed myself to the limit, and realized how far was too far.

make sure you eat right and get vitamins and antioxidants for your immune system. try it, but constantly listen to your body, cause it aint worth it to be laid up for 5 days. that was hell. peace


I just left a temp job stacking 50 lb feed bags at an impossible rate. Loss 4 pounds in a matter of days and spent a week getting it back.

You've got the right idea. Full body workouts 3 days a week - you may find you need to make it 2 days a week. Stay hydrated. Do not got the whole six hours without eating.


I loaded trucks midnight shift for two years. The biggest mistake I made was training with only a few hard sets to failure once/week. Gradually push up your volume and you will adapt.

Mistake #2 was eating 6 chocolate eclairs and drinking a quart of whole milk after work and then going straight to sleep for 10 hours.

I did get a sore right shoulder and I recommend lifting carefully if you have to get the heavy stuff up high.


Thanks for the help. What lifting schedule did you eventually adapt to?


What up tuff, I have been working the midnight shift for 4 years now at UPS loading 18 wheelers or sorting boxes evernight. I also lift Mon/Wed/Fri and now some saturdays and sundays when my schedule permits.
I would say you would be right to scale back your lifting when you start out just to let your body get used to the hours and the demand the job will place on your muscles every night. After a few weeks maybe even a month or more, then go ahead and start to get your lifting back to your regular schedule.

The two most important things for you are going to be eating enough for both your job and your workouts. Secondly getting enough rest will keep you from getting run down and sick as mentioned earlier.
Good luck with the new job.


I did much better when I did about 4 workouts a week-2 light and 2 heavier, and set an absolute 45 minute time limit.

Something like this

Day 1 Light-Chest, Upper back, Biceps, Triceps

Day 2 Light-Legs, shoulders, abs, calves or hams

Days 3 and 4 were the same split, but heavier and with different (more power type) exercises). Start with just 3 sets of 1 exercise for each bodypart.

I may have even done better combining days 3 and 4 and sticking to the basics

For example:

Day 1:
Dumbell bench
Pulldown or Row
Alternate DB Curl
Tricep pressdowns

Day 2:
Leg press or squat
Lying leg curl
Dumbell shoulder press
Hanging leg raise

For days 1 and 2 pick a weight that you could get 15-20 reps on with an all out effort. Do three sets.
If you get 20 reps on the first set, raise the weight next time.

Day 3 and 4 combined version

Weighted chin
Hang clean

Use your 5-6 rep max and do three sets. When you can get 3 x 5 raise the weight.

These three days should be split over the week so M W F would be fine.

Make it quick. It's 12 sets a workout and you get 45 minutes which should be easy. When you can get it done in 25 minutes, you can add a set or eventually 2 sets of each, and every 3-4 weeks drop down to just 2 sets but try to push to the maximum-so eventually you will be doing

3 sets each
4 sets each
(Maybe 5 sets each)
2 sets each pushing to the max with a little more rest between sets.

Just suggestions. Also, I would definitely combine a couple of gatoraides with 60+ grams of protein and a LOT of water and take it with you to work-use a gallon container. In 6 hours of non-exertive time you probably could use close to 60 grams of protein. If you can do this, the extra work can make you grow and get you in great shape.

Will you be able to sleep immediately after work, or in the afternoon?


I don't do physical labor for a living but I do work a lot of hours. So:

Watching what you eat is essential. Try to sneak a Grow! bar or shake if you can't get else in during work. For the first two weeks, keep you food choices clean and instinctively. After two weeks, you should have a good idea of what your baseline intake is and you can try to move it up and down based on your goals. You just don't want to start a new job AND be a on a restrictive diet. It'll make the transition more difficult.

I'd ditch the cardio too. The job will provide a good source of GPP. I'd keep the volume low aroun 8-12 sets per workout 2-3x week.

Sleeping will be the most critical thing. I'd invest in some ZMA. 4 caps on an empty stomach works wonders for me.

Keep us posted.


BTW, Ian King's Big Muscles, Busy Schedules or CT's Part-time Beast would be make great workout templates for you too.


Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to get in a few hours of sleep.