Manual Labour Job Killing My Gains!

I was only skimming this and my eyes picked up whip out and clock, which made me read it more carefully because I thought *clock" was something else.

Then I was reading through again and automatically completed this sentence: “if you’re allowed to whip out snacks while you’re on the…” so I had to read a third time to get it right.


You might have to lower your training volume a lot. Like maybe just do 1 or 2 big compound lifts a session and not go balls to walls with your assistance.

Very gradually add volume in.

I’ve worked construction before. I never ate much breakfast, simply due to little time (worked 4am-6:30am and then again at 7:30am) and a small appetite in the morning. I did however eat a large lunch (usually like 3 tuna sandwiches + extras) and a large dinner (whatever my mom was cooking). Just fit my calories in where I could. I also had two breaks at 10am and 3pm where I’d eat something like some fruit or nuts.

As far as training I’d go as soon as I got off work, and did 5/3/1. One big lift a day, with some chinups or ab work afterwards. Tried to be as easy on my lower back and not fatigue my CNS or whatever. I just did that Monday through Thursday. Skipped Friday to hang out and relax, and went back Saturday for more of a bodybuilder workout. Honestly, just since I had the time and enjoyed lifting. And I also prioritized sleep, and tried to stick to a schedule with 7-8 hours of sleep around the same time.

Anyway, don’t quit your job. This is totally doable. Eat more, sleep more, lift less (volume) and accept that many workouts will be less than stellar, or “PR-less”. It’ll be ok.


no it hasn’t. just because you’ve failed doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Look at what Eddie Hall accomplished while working terribly difficult manual labor jobs. He literally became the World’s strongest man, lol. He only quit doing hard manual labor 2-3 years before he won the title. He got monstrously strong because he prioritized it, and worked harder at it than you have been willing to. Priorities, my man.

Are you gaining a lot of weight? If not, then by definition you aren’t taking in over maintenance. Food quality and macro distribution also makes a HUGE difference when it comes to how you feel and how much energy you have. And how much you progress in the gym. Don’t just think that because some calculator told you you’re eating enough, or the right things, that you actually are.

Then make an effort to eat faster. You sound like a baby at this point. This is an issue my 4 year old son has. And I had it until I decided not to have it anymore. Put in the work, dude. You CAN eat faster. I promise. I would make food choices that are easy to get down fast. White rice is a good, calorie-dense option that most people can eat a lot of, and often. Eat that with every single meal.

That’s not surprising. I’ve never heard of pre workout drinks inducing long term progressive overload under any circumstances. That’s not a real solution to anything.

This is actually really good. Definitely keep doing that.

No. It’s time for you to man the fuck up and work harder.


2 grams of TRT per week. That’s the prescription for AWESOME. #doctorrecommended


Not disagreeing with the point but according Eddie Hall in this vid that was just uploaded he got an offer for financial assistance from some bloke at that time quit his door job like a bouncer or something and put all those hours into strongman and went on to win WSM

Sorry it’s long as fuck so I don’t have the time stamp. It’s a good watch anyway if you have time

Not gonna lie I do kinda wish I would get diagnosed with low T just because it would be a more satisfying explanation for my terrible strength levels than “you haven’t been trying hard enough for long enough”.

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I have never even heard of TRT in Italy. Not even sure it’s a thing here.

Well then you need to get on TRT! Then you’ll have heard of it.

See? It really does fix everything!


watch his documentary. he talks about it in there. Yes, I’m aware that the few years before he won WSM, like 3-4 years or so, he didn’t have to work his labor job. My point was that the dude was bench pressing 500+ lbs and competing at the WSM level before he had that opportunity. The point being that barely being able to hold onto a 225 bench press just because he works a hard job is inexcusable. That’s insane.

I mean hell, I run a metal fabrication company myself. I’m on my feet all day (when I’m not typing on TNation lol.) Sometimes I spend all day working in my shop. I have to take care of a 4 year old boy when I get home. And I’ve somehow managed to be not completely weak.

You have to be a real pussy to think that any job could limit you to a 225 bench press. #realtalk


To add to that, in the realm of slightly more ‘normal’ human beings. Brian Alsruhe has mentioned he spent most of his life working in construction, then counter-terrorism stuff, and not missing a beat becoming strong as hell.


One of the most jacked and strong dudes I know runs a jackhammer daily. Another was stupid jacked and was/still is strong as shit from being a mechanic. Another guy I grew up around was a contractor with some of the strongest hands and biggest arms I’ve ever seen. All of these still worked out and got shit done with labor jobs. Some of the best progress in the gym I ever made was working ~70 hour weeks as a pool maintenance technician, on my feet all day in the heat or the cold and running back and forth with 40+ pounds everyday or loading buckets on to trucks that weighed 50-150. Eat more (I don’t care how much you’re eating now, just eat more), train smart and hard, and take off days or go lighter when you don’t feel it. Training is simple man. Just do things that work and stop doing things that don’t.


Dude I’ve gotten way stronger and in the beginning I had everything against me:

  • I was 5’7 and 160 when I started and thought I just had bad genetics
  • I switched programs everyday (still do)
  • I ate like shit
  • I worked in IT and now run my own business so my stress is always high
  • Getting to the gym sometimes was hard
  • Had a 185 squat for 3 years

BUT when I decided to just shut up, put my head down and work, and not complain and just eat more I ended up:

  • Adding 200lbs to my squat in 1 year
  • Went from a skinny fat 160 to a lean and hard 178 in 3 years
  • Physically have done things that I would never thought I was able to do
  • I’m not the strongest person, but now I’m damn strong for a recreational lifter my size
  • Rarely miss training days
  • People always ask me to help them move now
  • Needed to buy a whole new wardrobe
  • But most importantly I got mentally tougher, became more disciplined, and unlocked my genetics. Now sometimes I feel I might have D1 college level athletic genetics.
  • Can dunk easily @ 5’7

It all comes down to how bad you want it. Look at all the people that stay benching 135 for 3x10 for years. I use to be one of those people so I can relate man.

My advice, just eat more, pick a program/goal, and just put in the work.


So when are you going to pick a program nutty?

OP, this guy is right. I remember reading his log 3+ years ago and how happy he was to plug away forever to get his first 2 plate squat. I came back years later after years of finding other stuff to do and he’s comfortably repping out 4 plates any day of the week. He kept finding ways to train and progress, I didn’t. Guess who’s stronger?


Program??? What’s a program!? Haha

I went through my old logs and couldn’t believe it either lol. I don’t know how the hell you guys even put up with me. But still to this day my HAPPIEST lifting memory is getting my first 225 squat for 3 sets of 5. I felt so strong lol.

I think between @ActivitiesGuy and @flipcollar at that time they really lit a fire under me. They basically told me I sucked and I needed to just shut up and lift lol. Something along those lines anyway.

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It really is wild, man. I’ve been on here for awhile, and everyone who sounds like you at the beginning fails. Period. You’re literally the only exception who comes to mind. I’m so glad to see it though. I often feel like I’m banging my head against the wall when I talk to beginners, so it’s nice to see that sometimes people actually listen, hahaha. It truly won’t surprise me if you pass me up in the next few years.


Thanks man, I appreciate that!

I doubt that man. I just don’t want to eat anymore honestly lol. Some days I literally only have one meal. I think eating is the hardest part of this whole journey. I think hitting the gym is the easy part actually. Eating takes way more discipline.


Yup. Pretty much. Another crazy thing is that @isdatnutty didn’t find stick with one magic “program” like so many beginners seem to think must happen (if anything, he was the worst program hopper I’ve ever seen, lol). He just kept lifting, which even further reinforces my belief that until you get to the highest levels of the sport, consistency and hard work matter far more than what program you’re doing.

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Haha it’s the worst man. My wife finds it hilarious that I can be laser focused on basically anything, but when it comes to training/working out how I can’t stick to something. But since I’m not competing I just don’t take it that serious I guess.

But I agree! I think your body doesn’t know what is happening besides a great load being put on it. I figure if you keep pushing your body with more reps, sets, weight over a long period of time you’ll just get stronger.

But honestly man, I’m more impressed with how far you’ve come! More so because you’ve bucked all trends and basically working out 20 minutes a day you’ve gone from a 400-600 DL by not doing anything crazy. THAT ITSELF reinforces my belief that programming is not the end all be all. Just add more weight over time.


I think you’ve been consistent in one aspect - pursuing strength. I’ve trained for over a decade but have fallen short of some of my goals and I think it’s because I flip flop on my goals. Pursuing pure strength usually results in pain and joint injuries so I back off for a while and pursue physique goals. Not only do I change the training, I change the exercises. I get away from the barbell lifts (because they’re the ones that hurt me) so when I come back to them I’m almost starting over.

You may change programs but they have some consistent aspects and that’s why it works. It’s almost as if you’ve implemented principles… :thinking: