T Nation

Strength Training with Laborious Job

Hi, I graduated a year early only to find myself with a laborious job at a Sawmill. I am waiting to get into the RCMP. I need to keep the job, so how do I work my training around it? I don’t know how I can train without overtraining or being extremely sore and miserable during the work week? Any advice?

Your recovery is obviously going to be affected by your strenuous job, so I would cut your training back to 3 days a week, focusing on the big lifts and cutting out isolation work for the time being since you need to be thrifty with your ability to recover. Something like Starr’s 5x5 would be an excellent choice. You are going to need to eat A LOT of food just to keep yourself in a positive energy balance (calories in > calories out). Get as much sleep as you can every night (think 10 hours if you can) and maybe get some ZMA to help you sleep. Load up on the BCAA’s around your workouts and make sure to put down a lot of carbs post workout. Hope this helps.

If possible, lifting in the morning before work would be something you could try. You could also try scheduling two of your sessions on the weekend.

You could also try doing lighter variations of your main barbell movements, for example power cleans instead of deadlifts or overhead presses instead of bench.

Or hell you could simply lift only once a week on the weekend when you’re fresh and focus on whatever lift you need to improve the most. It would suck to leave other stuff behind, but it’d only be temporary anyway.

I never really trained while doing laborious jobs, so I haven’t tried these ideas. They just came off the top of my head. At any rate, good luck.

Autodiadect gave you some solid advice.

When I was roofing, I was the grunt. It was my job to tear off, load the tear off into the dumpster, and load shingles/tar paper/equipment onto the roof. I tell you what, loading 6 tons of tearoff into a dumpster and carrying 2 tons of material up a 3 story ladder over the course of a 4 day job is pretty taxing. Add in 3 days of lifting… talk about spent. But, your body will adjust - just gotta eat as much as possible, and get good quality sleep.

If you feel you’re getting burnt out, cut back on your training. Some things are more important than lifting heavy shit. Heresy, I know, but you gotta take care of yourself.

I’m going to go against everyone else:

keep lifting like you are, the work is like recovery. I got a guy at my weightlifting club who does landscaping and does 2 a day sessions of lifting. If anything, its helped him get stronger (the landscaping) because his work capacity is higher.

I’m pretty sure he knew he had to eat a lot and sleep well. With laborious jobs that’s gonna come naturally anyway.

I guess in the end you just cut down your training some and try working back up as you get used to the job.

Hey. I tried to keep at it, but it was to much to lift 4 days a week, so I backed off from training for three weeks and then did Full Body Workouts Friday and Monday Morning. I ate lots and slept well. I actually gained weight.

I did Squats, Deadlifts, Benchpress, Pullups, and Rows. I also did Pavels GTG program every few weeks which helped as a method of active recovery. I am done at the sawmill and spending one month prior to my training to prepare more. I expect that the strength earned in working will carry over into strength training, I have more muscular endurance and grip strength from moving 1500+ 25 pound boards of lumber every day.

I want to build my VO2 Max and develop a better running economy with tabata and long runs. I think It would be good to do forearm work to keep the strength I have gained at work. Thanks for the advice.

if you decide to do straight sets with the same weight, do a 3x5 instead of a 5x5 with the same intensity and you should be alright. Otherwise, do the bill starr intermediate 5x5 program like someone else suggested as it works just as well.

Willie,

You should feel lucky that the boards were only 25 pounds a piece. I too worked in a sawmill. I had the 3 1/2 x 6’s 10-12-14-16 feet as well as boards 6,7,8 feet, 9,10,11,12 13-16 and line bar boards that needed cut down some more the biggest boards were suppossed to weigh 250 pounds but some were much bigger. I’m glad you are done that was by far my hardest of my 28 jobs

[quote]biggun7997 wrote:
Willie,

You should feel lucky that the boards were only 25 pounds a piece. I too worked in a sawmill. I had the 3 1/2 x 6’s 10-12-14-16 feet as well as boards 6,7,8 feet, 9,10,11,12 13-16 and line bar boards that needed cut down some more the biggest boards were suppossed to weigh 250 pounds but some were much bigger. I’m glad you are done that was by far my hardest of my 28 jobs[/quote]

Having been born, raised, and still earning my living in the sawmill; I can say the skinniest fellas can handle the heaviest widest boards. A 2" piece of gum weighs a heckuva lot more than a piece of 2 " oak. It�??s no different than lifting. There is a lot of technique involved. The mindless monotony of sawmill work is the thing that drains you. Keep training like you normally do.

I was just guessing that it was 25 pounds. it probably was alot more. it was cedar and sometimes pine (its mostly pine now) . and i piled on the oversized side of the chain for most of the time. so everything larger then 16 feet i piled. haha. I didn’t know so i said 25. I still don’t know how much it really weighs. I dont think it was a good guess. Your right about technique, there is a good trick to doing everything you have to. My first and only job was at a sawmill. I think i wanted to quit everyday for the first month ahaha. I think they only let me give it a try because i went to the weight room lol and looked like it.

i did Rippetoe’s Starting Strength Program (i might have spelt his name wrong) . I took a week off after finishing my job and then started it again. I wasnt making gains vary well after a while doing it while working. However, now that I am done and trying it after rested I am back making good gains so I am going to stay on that for as long as I can. Now I might do something like Defranco’s West Side for skinny bastards but a bit different with Tabata implemented if I can figure out how to do that.

Is skipping catabolic? It would be cool if it wasnt, then I could build aerobic endurance without getting myself into a catabolic state and tiring all my muscles? Of course it can be argued that training your VO2 Max will peak your aerobic endurance, and then the repetitive effort of running the distance with the strong lungs that you have is about running economy by how long and fast your muscles will let you go right? So then to run long I need to run long? and not skip long? So that my muscles can carry my body as far as i potentially can with good trained VO2 Max. VO2 max is better trained at about 70% of your max and better? And it will be hard to train VO2 max at that level without any experience skipping before? right? lol… I have no idea about different kinds of cardio. i guess i better start and scour the forums and articles to no end for an answer.