T Nation

Training with a Demanding Job

Hi all! This is my first post, and I’m looking for nutritional, healing, training advice. I hang billboards. It’s a very demanding, fluctuating job. I’ve been at it for a year and a half now, and here comes winter again. My day always starts early, between 4 and 6am. We go to our shop to get our work. Billboards that you see on a highway are a stretched vinyl. The can range anywhere from 8x24, to 42x90 ft. Their weights range anywhere from five pounds to almost four hundred pounds.

My typical day is doing anywhere from 2 to 8 signs, which could be 5 to 220 ft. off the ground. These vinyls are manually pulled up. We normally do 14x48’s(60-80 lb’s pulled up by myself) and 20x60’s(120-160lb’s pulled up by myself and my partner). It’s hard to find time to eat, let alone stay hydrated.

There’s a lot of climbing involved, and lets just say that holding down a 20x60 ft vinyl, blowing in the wind, trying to lift you off the deck and blow on a highway becomes a full-body workout. I work 8 days a week with the random day off here and there. Will anyone help me break this down in to what I may need to work on with sleep, supplementation, nutrition, etc?

Well, you’ll have to adjust your intake to compensate for your job and training. So upping the cals a bit will help.

Other than that, it’s time to experiment. Can you handle doing full body 3x/week? Will you be able to recover training a body part that frequently? You’ll need to work on it a bit, change things around and keep what works. That could be training two days a week or training five; it could be doing full body training or doing body part splits.

You’ll have to experiment for a while and find a balance between your recovery ability and training. Don’t forget to tweak your diet to account for your physical job.

PS: that sounds like a bad ass job and very tough.

I agree experimentation is the key to finding what is going to work for you. I had to do the same thing when I was turning wrenches. I just didn’t have the gas at the end of the day to lift so I learned to wake up early and hit it.

I hated lifting in the morning, the weights I moved were sub par compared to doing it when it feels “right” later in the day but I figure doing the most you can do at the moment is better than not doing.

Figure out what will work for you, with a job like that, you obviously aren’t lazy and being concerned about it you must have some drive.

You will get it covered if you really want it.

Thanks for the replies. Yes it is a badass job, at times, unless you go three weeks without a day off, or you gotta deal with the wind. Like today in Chicago, 25-35 mph winds gusting to 40mph and i’m hang on to something that’ll throw me around like a rag doll. Anyway, i was really interested in the calorie intake. I know some days i don’t eat enough.

I’ve been packing lunches recently, and it’ll consist of a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat bread, a piece of fruit, various nuts, some string cheese, and I have at least four bottles of water with me at all times. I always eat something for breakfast, be it a bowl of cereal, pop tart, protein shake, whatever i have the funds for at the time.

I currently take an o.n. multi vitamin, green tea extract, beta alanine, creatine, and occasionally some nitric oxide. All but the latter are taken daily. When i get home at night, i try to eat healthy, like chicken and brown rice, but sometimes, i did much more work than usual, and i’ll be at panda express getting a three entree meal cause i feel the need to eat my arm off.

Do i need to up the calories a lot during the day? Obviously if i don’t do that much in a day i wouldn’t have to eat as much, but i don’t know how many calories i burn doing these things everyday. Also, i don’t know if i could handle three days a week right now. I’m mainly concerned about overtraining my back and arms with manually pulling this stuff up. If you look at my pic, you’ll see a front deck in front of the sign. I basically lean over that and pull the thing up hand over hand, so my triceps and back get a good workout daily. And the climb up the pole works my legs and arms well too. Thanks again for the replies!!! Sorry about the long reply, i think i ramble a bit;)

[quote]jbedow wrote:
I work 8 days a week with the random day off here and there. [/quote]

Just as the above statement is truly impossible, it is truly impossible for us to evaluate your caloric needs from the information given.

What are your goals with your body? What is your current diet/exercise level doing to your body right now? Are you gaining muscle? fat? losing weight? As stated above, an experimental approach is best. You need to evaluate the results of your current experiment, tweak the variables and give it a go.

Like the above poster said, we need more info:

Current training if any:
Are you gaining or losing wt at the moment? or staying the same?

Eating wise you need to make sure you get some protein in with each meal. It doesn’t have to be solid food every time, but it does need to be on a regular basis like every 2-3 hours. There are lots of things you can take ‘on the road’ and stuff in quickly without having to have a proper meal break.

If you post more specific info you’ll get more specific answers. Job sounds knackering by the way…glad I don’t do it :slight_smile:

Thank you for everyone’s assistance:) Here’s my info:
Height: 5’6.5"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Goals: I want to be in good physical shape. I don’t want to be huge and ripped, just some good definition and mainly wanting to lose my gut, which I’ve had since 6th grade.

Current Training: just the job, unfortunately, the scheduling is very difficult and morning workouts could never happen. I meant 8 days a week jokingly because I get no scheduled days off. The “work” is like a pie and you grab as many slices of it as you can before it’s gone, but there’s always more.

I’m currently at 200lbs and i know i have more muscle now than i’ve ever had in my life. When i started this job, i was 220lbs, and my gut was very big. That was a year and a half ago. I still have a gut, but it’s much smaller, but nowhere near flat.

I’d say my main goal is weight loss, but i can’t afford to not have energy, so i’m always worried i’m not eating enough or too much. I don’t know if i should be hitting 2k,3k,5k calories on the days where i’ve climbed the equivilent of a thousand ft, or pulled up 12 80lb vinyls by myself in one day, just to have to go do another batch the next day.

I do feel that when i lose my gut, without losing too much, hopefully no muscle, that i’ll be able to eat extremely clean and bulk up a bit more. This picture is from 5-2-2007 @ 215 lbs, a month before I left my office job to persue sign hanging.

Here’s a pic as of right now, not too much of a difference, but my gut is smaller, and there’s muscle under the fat now, instead of fat under the fat…haha.

Well, after a bit more searching, I found the articles for Tailor Made Nutrition on this site. It seems to be what i’m looking for so far. Haven’t read too far into to it yet as to figure out how many calories i should realistically be putting in my body for this kind of exertion. I think i’ll be on the right track with eating much more often and getting more protein in:)

Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. It’s much easier to give advice when you know what you’re starting with.

Training wise you need to think seriously about when you will make the time to train.

You don’t need to train for hours and hours. If you’re not doing any training at the mo, then starting with 3 sessions a week would be a good goal right now.

Find yourself an hour 3 x wk and commit to doing it regardless of what kind of day you’ve had. You need to establish it as a habit and part of your routine. Once you start you will actually probably find that doing some exercise will give you more energy at work. Your body will begin to work even more efficiently and, as you lose fat, you will find it easier because you won’t be lugging excess bodyfat around all day!

To begin with you will probably be best doing a combination of weight training and some kind of energy systems work (cardio) as you want to get your heart in better shape as well as your waistline.

Yes the nutrition is important and you will have to figure out how many cals you need based on your daily activity level. Read up on some articles and find a baseline figure, you will then need to do some trial and error to tweek it exactly to your needs. I recommend reading articles by Berardi like the ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs’ etc which will give you a good understanding of the right kinds of foods.

Start to think about good quality snacks you can take with you to eat on the go. Nuts, cold meats, container of salad stuff etc.

If you can afford it, buy a tub of whey powder and a shaker. Then you can at least mix some whey with some water and chug it down when you are really tight on time. One thing you don’t want if trying to lose fat and keep muscle is to let yourself get hungry or miss meals. You need to eat the right stuff at regular intervals.

Anyway thats enough stuff for you to start to think about right now. If you seriously want to change your body you will find a way to do what you need.

Thank you Lift and Eat, I appreciate you taking the time to give advice! I definitely want to change my body, and I’m looking foward to implimenting these changes!