T Nation

Working Out w/ FT Manual Labor?

Hey there… Long time listener, first time caller.

  I've run into a little problem; I was enjoying progress on a 3day/week full-body schedule, but I've just started full time concrete work for the summer. 
  It's very taxing, and I can't bring myself to lift after work; I also know that I wouldn't have nearly sufficient recovery time. I'm looking for opinions on how I should continue making size and strength gains. 
  I thought about cutting it down to one measley workout on saturday, or maybe upperbody-friday/ lower-saturday.

Or maybe heavy, yet very low volume fullbody workouts 3 days/week involving a few sets of major lifts.

Any opinions?

I’m kind of in the same boat as you… If i were you i would prioritize my life in order of most importance. For instance, is the money worth all that taxing labor and lack of energy to workout. You can always find another job im sure. But to me gaining weight is very important right now in my life so is weight lifting so if i was in your shoes id go job searching

[quote]Serd wrote:
I’m kind of in the same boat as you… If i were you i would prioritize my life in order of most importance. For instance, is the money worth all that taxing labor and lack of energy to workout. You can always find another job im sure. But to me gaining weight is very important right now in my life so is weight lifting so if i was in your shoes id go job searching[/quote]

If I were in your shoes I would forget everything that Serd wrote.

Unless you know that you can walk out of your job and into something less physically taxing, that you are going to enjoy and that is going to give you the funds to support your lifestyle I think that you should keep your job and work out how to work around it.

I have never done a manual labour job so I a little unqualified to give advice, however, I think that after a while your body will adjust and you will be able to work out.

There are plenty of guys that have construction / heavy manual jobs that work out. As long as they eat enough, they are quite often bigger than the guys with the sedentary jobs.

Work out what you want to do for a career and do what you have to do to get there. Your training can always be worked into the job that you do.

I am sure that there are plenty of guys who work heavy labour jobs on this site that can expand on what I have said and give you specific recommendations.

its tough,
i was working garbage for awile and on average threw 30 tonnes + a day, i was eating close to 6000cal and training 4x a week.

only thing i can tell you to do is eat alot of food, and make your time for rest count, because you will need it.

maybe you should suck it up.

im sure half the people on this site are tired after work, but they still manage. just listen to some music and pump ur self up for a good workout

you just started this job, give your body some time to adapt and eat/sleep A LOT! In 3-4 weeks your body will adapt to the job and you’ll be able to workout normally just take it easy for the next 3-4 weeks and focus on getting enough good food and quality sleep.

[quote]All2ez wrote:
maybe you should suck it up.

im sure half the people on this site are tired after work, but they still manage. just listen to some music and pump ur self up for a good workout[/quote]

They’re not exactly lifting FUCKING CONCRETE BLOCKS

To the original poster, take helga’s advice.

Lifting concrete all day will enhance your weight lifting, if you eat enough.

For example if you are picking heavy concrete from the ground and walking around with it, how could you not get bigger and stronger(legs, spinal erectors, arms, and grip)

Go for it!

like everyone else, i suggest giving it a little time and letting your body get used to the taxing days. manual labor? nahh, GPP :slight_smile: just look at mechanic’s forearms, or railroad worker’s backs. or win the lottery

Eat alot and get used to it or there are these very wise words:

[quote]altimus wrote:
… or win the lottery[/quote]

Like the others have said, you will adjust in a few weeks provided you get enough calories. Get lots of liquid meals in while at work. That said don’t expect to make the same amount progress as if you had a desk job, but you can still progress.

I do 10 hours of manual labour 6 days a week. When I first started I didnt workout for about 5 weeks. Once I had adjusted to work load I upped my cals even further and started lifting 2 days a week (full body workouts. 3-4 compound lifts per workout. No isolation work) and have been able to add 20lbs to my frame so far.

Get loads of sleep. Since I’ve started a second job doing labour 2 nights a week, 11:30pm-5:30am, my progress has stalled. I’ve been increasing my calories every week and have added a coule of lbs, but not sure how much of that is lean. I should grow like a weed once I become a police officer next year, seeing as I’ve become used to eating like a horse.

Hope you can learn something from my ramblings. Best of luck.

Your body will adapt. I work six days a week lifting heavy shit, and lift three days on a full body routine.

You might have to cut the volume for a while, or maybe just do bodyweight work until you get used to it.

Nowadays, it doesn’t matter how much I lift at work or at home- I never get sore. You’ll get used to it.

I feel your pain. I work a 8-4 office job and then go to a 5-10 unloading trailers and carrying funiture. I workout on twice a week on my lunch break and Saturday and Sunday morning and relax/eat all day.

What I did. Had to be on job sight between 5-6am everyday. Id get up EARLY 3:30 - 4 lift fully body brief and brutal three days a week All compounds get it done get out the manual labour will take care of the isolation stuff.

Eat a ton and rest when you get home. Its all about how important this is to you. Priorities. Oh and full body IMO is the way to go when working manual labor. doing splits and really nailing one BP and haing it VERY sore just didnt work for me at work.

Hope that helps,
Phill

For two months I had to unload containers 5 days a week, 8 hrs a day and it was a physically demanding job. After work your body is just aching all over and all you can think about is heading straight home for a shower a meal and into bed.

I got through this by having water and eating every break we had. During our break, most guys would head for a smoke I went straight to the car for a small feed. With training there is really no easy way around it, you’ll just have to motivate or even force yourself to get to the gym. I made it a habit to drive to the gym straight after work even if I feel like shit. Getting there was the hardest part. I found that just being at the gym gave me alot more motivation to workout, did my FBT for the day within 40-45mins and then head on out home for a rest. My lifts weren’t impressive but I trained with enough consistency and intensity to progress slowly from week to week.

The beautiful thing that no one has mentioned is that with all the manual labor, you have one hell of a lot of G-flux. :slight_smile:

I’ve done labor jobs for three summers during college, usually 4days/10-12hrs a day… Tiring for damn sure, but as everyone else has said, after a couple weeks of adjustment start forcing yourself to get to the gym after work.

With the amount of work you’re doing at your job (as opposed to the rest of the desk jockeys…), you better be eating like your life depends on a bulk. I was eating 3k - 4kcal a day and despite that was still dropping 2-3lbs of fat weight a week. Eat!

I work 6 days a week 8-9 hours a day unloading semi trailers of furniture. The stuff is about 100-200 lbs a piece and we use hand dollies. Physically demanding. I started a few weeks ago but have gotten used to it. I can only lift about 3 days a week now. I do full body workouts. Just hard to do huge volume. Just remember to eat alot when you get a chance, and try drinking gatorade or some other drink that can replenish some of the salts and stuff you loose during the day. good luck.

Some of the best mass gains I’ve ever seen were on guys who didn’t even lift, they just ate a lot and built foundations all summer.

I’m a Union Laborer, I can feel your pain.

Last week I found myself wearing:

  • neoprene waders
  • a lifejacket
  • normal clothing
  • hardhat, safety vest,gloves,safety glasses.

While cutting down trees, in the middle of a swamp, in 90 degree heat at 80% humidity, knee deep in muck and thought to myself…“FUCK THIS, lol”

I don’t recommend construction to anyone, no matter how honorable I believe the work to be. It’s tough on the mind, body, and soul.

I’d recommend eating something small every chance you get w/ a relatively even amount of carbs, fat, and protein. Stay away from junk food and empty calories. The healthier you eat, the better you’ll be able to recover from work AND lifting. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids especially water and gatorade. Get plenty of sleep, go to sleep the same time every night, and eat something before going to bed.

I’m not sure what to recommend as far as training goes, mostly because everyone responds differently. I think you need to let your body adapt to the new stressors as well as trying different workouts to gauge your body’s response. Start lighter on the weights and volume and work up from there.

At work, lift w/ your legs,not your back. ALWAYS wear your saftey equipment and wash off all concrete that touches skin right away so you don’t get “burned”.

Good luck.

Dan Gable, one of the best American wrestlers of all time, said he got much stronger (faster than he ever has) in the summer when he worked a manual labor job in addition to lifting. So yes, it can be done.