My job is pretty physically demanding and involves extended periods of climbing (ropes, trees, ladders, terrain etc), throwing, lifting, carrying, dragging heavy objects (logs, brush etc) and various other tasks ranging from lower intensity long duration work to repeated maximal efforts. I am also pretty active in my leisure time, so my overall volume and energy expenditure is reasonably high.
About 3 years ago I went from an excessively lean 195 to a fairly lean 230 by basically eating the s#!t out of all kinds of food. I kept it reasonably clean and moderate portions during the day (fish/meat, veg, fruit, nuts) while staying well hydrated. On higher output days (most days) I’d down a litre of chocolate milk and 2 bananas right after work then go home and eat a big, reasonably-somewhat clean if somewhat carb heavy dinner (meat/fish, veg, pasta) and then eat again or have a shake before bed if I was still hungry.
Once a week, on Saturday or Sunday, I would do the “Hour of Power” as per one of the articles on this site. Basically as many calories as possible in one hour without puking. Anything goes, the only stipulation I had was that it started with a decent serving of protein. I figure my PR was about 4000-4500cals/1 hr. It was freakin awesome and pretty terrible all at once.
As far as training goes I found that either getting up early and hitting it before work and/or joining some sort of a scheduled program someone else is expecting you at a certain place at a certain time worked best for me. It is just to easy to blow off the gym after an especially brutal day. I have also had pretty good success integrating training into my work day. I randomly clean and press s#!t all the time for no reason. I’ll pick a given task (i.e. throwing firewood chunks from a. to b. or chopping underground roots with an axe, climbing stairs) and perform it as fast as possible. I look for/create opportunities to lift/carry/drag/throw objects that are as heavy as I can manage and then I try to manage a little bit more. I then come home, eat and get a solid night’s sleep and do it again. I usually work some kind of daily, grease the groove type calisthenics as well. My gym numbers are probably not that impressive for a guy my size, but a little more discipline (even just 2 focused lifting sessions/week, week in, week out) on my part would probably make a bigger difference than doing a less physical job. That said, when it comes doing sports and real world tasks I find I am rarely wanting too badly for more strength.
I know not all of this is applicable to you, but my point is improvise, adapt and overcome. If you’re doing this job, find ways to make it work for you in terms of your goals and/or adapt your short term goals to accommodate the realities of your job.
Also, I would also suggest making mobility work a priority. If you can’t sit comfortably in an unloaded, full depth, heels-on-ground-ass-on-heels squat for a few minutes at a time for instance, you’ve got some work to do.
Hope something there is helpful.