T Nation

Overworked and undertrained

This is my 1st post to T-mag. I thought some of you in similar situations may be able to give me some suggestions. I am currently working 80+, high stress hours per week, 7 days a week and feel like I barely have the energy to fall into bed and hopefully get ~ 5 hours of sleep, much less work out. Have any of you been successful working around a similar set of circumstances?

before i comment, i hope i don’t come off as some kind of an asshole…i think you should read “if they had the balls” from issue 144, basically the gist of the article is that if you can’t find time to train something is terribly, wrong and you may want to re-evaluate your priorities. what’s the point of working your ass off to make a lot of money, if you don’t have time to do things you enjoy, life’s too short to not have fun, or to be small. all in all you must decide what’s important to you, and if the sacrifices you are making are worth it…hope this dosen’t rub you the wrong way, good luck.

The only suggestion that I can give you is get another job. That job is going to kill and then where would you be. Life is entirely too short to be working yourself to death. I hope you do not have a family (wife and kids) because they are the one’s that are being robbed. You need to sit back and evaluate your priorities. If money and getting at the top are #1,2 and 3 on your list then maybe you should continue your lifestyle. If having peace of mind and having your health make any of the top 3 you need to do something else.

Forget about any serious training (even moderate exercise) if you’re working those hours…no fucking way. I used to work, attend college, take care of my mother, etc. and try to train…hardly any sleep, and all it did was make me sick all the time. What kind of work are you involved in? If working this hard means that you can retire early, then just work your ass off now and resume a healthy lifestyle at retirement.

I think that it will be very hard for you to make any gains, I would try to do mostly body weight stuff at your house. Push ups, pull ups abs in a circut type work out through in some plyometrics for lower body.

I work 9 am to 6 pm. I come home, pick up the things I prepared for the gym the night before (you know, the clothes, MRPs and stuff) and go to gym. I work out from 8 to 10 pm every day, come back, prepare my meals for tomorrow, put them in a Tupperware container in the fridge, check my email and crash in bed. You have to force yourself to do that. With the time, when the abs start showing, you understand why you do all that. I don’t have the time for anything else except the work, gym and food preparation due to shitty working hours, but I keep holding on. No way I am going to give up as long as there is any life force left in me. Be proud of yourself. Anyway, you might want to get some time off, like ten days… it can do wonders for your recuperation…

Banshee, rather than just throwing your hands up and give up (not saying that you are doing that…), I’d say do what you can to to just stem the tide. If you only have time for one workout per week, then do that. Just do one set per body part. Then if you find that there is time for another workout, then just do another whole body workout. Sometimes you gotta take what life gives you and make the best of it. I would also look for ways to get into a better situation. Some people have the luxury to just quit, but many of us do not. I hope this helps.

Can you make your own hours or are you stuck on someone else’s schedule? I also have a high stress job with long hours (usually 60 - 80 a week, but they’ll go up to 100 every once in a while) but i can make my own schedule.
60 hour weeks aren’t that bad, and I can get in 3 times a week without much of a problem.
80 hour weeks - ugh. I’ll take off from work at 4:30 (before the gym gets crowded) once during the week and work out for 60 - 90 minutes on the basics and work 2 hours late. Then I’ll hit the gym again on the weekend before or after i go into work for the same kind of workout. Once it gets over 80,i usually don’t make it in. At that point I’ll do bodyweight exercises at home and I have a set of cables at home for some light resistance work (yeah, yeah, yeah, rubber bands don’t build muscle, I know, but its maintanence so back off). I get even stricter with my diet and up my vitamin and water intake. If you’re always working 80+ hours, you’ve got an uphill battle. Do what you can, because every little bit counts. Remember, success is relative. You may not get jacked with 19" arms, but you won’t turn into that fat slob sitting at the cubicle next to you either. And that is a victory.
And anyone who thinks he should quit should pick up a newspaper and read about the economy. Now is not the time to be quiting any type of job.