T Nation

Training and Shift Work

Not sure the best place to start this thread, but since I train for combat sports I thought this seemed logical. The dilemma that I currently have is that I am starting a new job that works on a twelve hour shift rotation. This is totally new to me.

All in all it is consisent over a 6 week period, but the overtime has a habit of turning these days into 13 and 14 hours at a time. There is some irratic downtime during the shift, but I am still exhausted by the end, and sleep poorly. I’m hoping that I can adjust quickly but I feel nauseated all day at work.

I don’t really like the thought of not getting to the gym or training camp for 5 or 6 days at a time. On the otherhand, I’m not sure if I could train at my regular pace anyway.

Any feedback from those that have managed to find a solution to the shiftworker problem (Fire, EMS, Police, etc.) and still maintain strength, mass, and technical skill?
Thanks in advance.

during my time in the military i worked some shift work for about 3 years…we only did 10 hour shifts…but like you said that had a tendency to run a few hours longer than that…

for me when i was working nights i just didn’t have the energy to train right after work so i would go to sleep immediately after work and train when i woke up…don’t know if that’ll help you at all…but that’s what i did…

[quote]agr117 wrote:
for me when i was working nights i just didn’t have the energy to train right after work so i would go to sleep immediately after work and train when i woke up…don’t know if that’ll help you at all…but that’s what i did…[/quote]

Agree completely. I would work go home sleep wake up hit the gym and have the rest of the day. or you can hit the gym on the way home. I always felt I had alot more time when I did Shift work.

I have worked 3rd shift for sevral years as a police officer and I’m a competitive powerlifter. those guys are right. Go to sleep then go train. I don’t know how the swing shift thing is will be but get your rest then go train.

Yeah, do it before work, first thing in the morning, and keep it short but sweet, maybe 30min. I used to do my stretching after work. Helped me relax. Your sleep pattern will adjust, just go to sleep and get up at the same time every morning.

Thanks for the input fellows. I knew this was going to take a period of adjustment. So far over the last week I have managed to throw together a template that will allow me to plug in the workouts, but stay flexible if I feel poorly. I usually do well with AM sessions, so I’m on track there

The day shifts I have just worked were a hassle, but I have managed 4 solid days of training out of the past 5. Not sure how the night shifts will work yet. Luckily the gym I go to is 24 hour, but I know the sleep patterns are going to be the killer. Usually I am sleep drunk for at least 30 minutes when I wake-up. Anyone have any tips or tricks for shuteye during the day?

I’ll try the aftershift stretching and see if that helps with the sleep quality.