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  1. #1
    Registered User Ogie1's Avatar
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    12 hour rotating shift work strategy

    I need help!!! I'm new to the forum so first a little about me and my situation. I'm 39, married with 2 kids and I work a 12 hour rotating shift. My schedule keeps me switching from nights to days, 4 nights, 3 days off (72 hours), 3 days, 2 days off (48 hours), 3 nights, 3 days off (72 hours), 4 days, 7 days off. Everything I read is for people who live normal lives. All the nutrition guides say eat this and that at this time, take this suppliment at such and such time so forth and so on. For me I have to leave the house at 5 (AM or PM depending on the day) and I get home at 7. that leaves me 10 hours for sleep and usual dad/husband things. When working weeknights I meet my wife in the driveway when she gets home from work, I say Hi then give her and the kids a kiss and then I'm off to work. I get home at seven with just enough time to see them off at 7:30. When working weekdays I leave the house at 5 AM get home at 7 with just enough time to eat, shower, and visit with the family till bedtime around 9:30. How in the world can I set up a routine around this? Could someone please help me figure out a schedule for everything from when to workout, when to take what suppliments and when to eat meals. It seems to me that the best time to workout is before work on days (4 AM ish) or after 7:30 AM when working nights. I still have to leave time for the family and rest. I can do this but what about nutrition with this schedule? I hope my post isn't too confusing but any insight would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Fifty+'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ogie1 View Post
    I need help!!! I'm new to the forum so first a little about me and my situation. I'm 39, married with 2 kids and I work a 12 hour rotating shift. My schedule keeps me switching from nights to days, 4 nights, 3 days off (72 hours), 3 days, 2 days off (48 hours), 3 nights, 3 days off (72 hours), 4 days, 7 days off. Everything I read is for people who live normal lives. All the nutrition guides say eat this and that at this time, take this suppliment at such and such time so forth and so on. For me I have to leave the house at 5 (AM or PM depending on the day) and I get home at 7. that leaves me 10 hours for sleep and usual dad/husband things. When working weeknights I meet my wife in the driveway when she gets home from work, I say Hi then give her and the kids a kiss and then I'm off to work. I get home at seven with just enough time to see them off at 7:30. When working weekdays I leave the house at 5 AM get home at 7 with just enough time to eat, shower, and visit with the family till bedtime around 9:30. How in the world can I set up a routine around this? Could someone please help me figure out a schedule for everything from when to workout, when to take what suppliments and when to eat meals. It seems to me that the best time to workout is before work on days (4 AM ish) or after 7:30 AM when working nights. I still have to leave time for the family and rest. I can do this but what about nutrition with this schedule? I hope my post isn't too confusing but any insight would be greatly appreciated.
    The simple answer is, you do what you can. If you have a rotating schedule, rotate the workouts. As far as nutrition, you eat when you're awake. You set up the best schedule you can. Your workouts can be brief, but intense enough to make it worth while. Sit down and map out a 30 day (diet & w/o) schedule. Work it until a problem arises. Then revise the schedule. Treat it as a living entity. Eventually you will find a happy median.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Ogie1's Avatar
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    So true!

    You are exactly right. I guess it's easier to see the simplicity when you hear it from someone else. I guess it really boils down to me being a lazy wuss. A couple of years ago I went from 205 to 180 and was really on fire, then Hurricane Katrina hit and that really messed up my momentum having to work 12 hour shifts an average of 23 to 27 days a month for a year and a half, then a motorcycle wreck had me down for six months then about a year ago I shattered my collarbone doing a trackday preparing for my first motorcycle race. What I really need is for someone to kick sand in my face, so to speak, and call me out.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Fifty+'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ogie1 View Post
    You are exactly right. I guess it's easier to see the simplicity when you hear it from someone else. I guess it really boils down to me being a lazy wuss. A couple of years ago I went from 205 to 180 and was really on fire, then Hurricane Katrina hit and that really messed up my momentum having to work 12 hour shifts an average of 23 to 27 days a month for a year and a half, then a motorcycle wreck had me down for six months then about a year ago I shattered my collarbone doing a trackday preparing for my first motorcycle race. What I really need is for someone to kick sand in my face, so to speak, and call me out.

    You could stop getting injuried... If you want it bad enough, you'll make it happen. Stop fretting and just do it.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Ogie1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Fifty+ View Post
    You could stop getting injuried... If you want it bad enough, you'll make it happen. Stop fretting and just do it.
    Stop getting injured..... where's the fun in that!
    Seriously though, you're right. I can't wait till tomorrow, it's gotta start now!!!!!


    Thanks, Feel free to pop in occationally and kick some sand.(I may need it)
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  6. #6
    Do it or don't do it... tomdana's Avatar
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    I would echo the others. You do what you can when you can and consistency over time yields the returns!! I just finished a 53 hr shift and have off until tomorrow am do 2 twelve hour shifts then a 33 hr day and then the weekend off, the first in 3 weeks. I am psyched. I eat pretty much every three hours while awake and try to train in the evening after I put the kids to bed. My rest days are when I do the long shifts, LOL. REst means, not training here. Good luck and read what others do and then do what you can when you can. Nothing like a good read of M and F to make you feel like you can't do it right if you have shift work like you do. Good luck !!
    Do it or Don't do it, There is no try
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  7. #7
    Registered User dcamnc's Avatar
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    I've worked rotating 12 hr shifts for a few years now. I like lifting before work but after sleep when working nights, and lifitng after work and before sleep when working days. Everyone's different though of course. Just find something that works for you.
    Last edited by dcamnc; 03-22-2010 at 03:59 PM.
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  8. #8
    Radioactive NuclearArms's Avatar
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    I already wrote the book on this, or rather articles. Read the following:

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sub1.htm

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sub2.htm

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sub10.htm


    I work pretty much the same schedule, nuclear power operations, so I can tell you that you just have to have the right priorities, good dedication and a will to make the right things happen.
    My famous work quote:

    I can live with a little pain and 18+" arms,
    I can't live with the pain of having little 14" arms
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  9. #9
    Registered User tankbird's Avatar
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    I work the exact same schedule. Are your kids in school? I have no problems getting in the gym on my off days and with shiftwork, you have at least 14 off a month, right?

    When I work days I will try and squeeze in a 40 minute workout before work on my 4 day shifts as the gym is not far from my work..

    IMO shift work can be much easier to get workouts in than working days. The only challenge is the days you work, but it can be done.
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  10. #10
    Work in progress K26's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Fifty+ View Post
    The simple answer is, you do what you can. If you have a rotating schedule, rotate the workouts. As far as nutrition, you eat when you're awake. You set up the best schedule you can. Your workouts can be brief, but intense enough to make it worth while. Sit down and map out a 30 day (diet & w/o) schedule. Work it until a problem arises. Then revise the schedule. Treat it as a living entity. Eventually you will find a happy median.
    Yup, that's it.

    I work on call with rotating shifts, thankfully only 8 hour shifts. I just eat and work out like everything is normal. Except whenever I wake up is morning. Kinda funky at first, but you get used to it.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Ogie1's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice. I decided to just start over and get back in the swing of things. I originally started with the Body for Life program and it worked really well. I went to the gym this morning for my first workout, Boy was my left shoulder weak compared to the right. The doctor did tell me to expect that but wow! I cleaned up my diet drastically and have eaten clean all day, no tea or sweets at all. Tonight at work will be the real test, sitting here next to the coffee pot for 12 hours and everyone heating up their food right next to me.

    I told my wife I was planning on doing the B.F.L. challenge and when I did she said her challenge packet should be arriving any day. I was really axcited about that.

    Again, Thanks Everyone,
    Ogie
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  12. #12
    Do it or don't do it... tomdana's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ogie1 View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. I decided to just start over and get back in the swing of things. I originally started with the Body for Life program and it worked really well. I went to the gym this morning for my first workout, Boy was my left shoulder weak compared to the right. The doctor did tell me to expect that but wow! I cleaned up my diet drastically and have eaten clean all day, no tea or sweets at all. Tonight at work will be the real test, sitting here next to the coffee pot for 12 hours and everyone heating up their food right next to me.

    I told my wife I was planning on doing the B.F.L. challenge and when I did she said her challenge packet should be arriving any day. I was really axcited about that.

    Again, Thanks Everyone,
    Ogie

    Good luck. I was teased for clean eating at the office for a long stretch, but now I can say nobody eats the much more rare Krispy Kremes in front of me and my birthday cake this year was a bunch of protein bars taped together to form a sheet cake with a happy birthday sign on it. LOL
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  13. #13
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    Hey Ogie,
    You've gotten some good advice here. I'm a shift worker with long hours. As others said you just do what you have to. I would like to eat on a "schedule"-but sometimes I'm sleeping during the day, or evening...and sometimes I have a "normal" day person schedule.

    I eat approx every 3 hours when I'm awake. Whether that be @ 3AM or @ 3PM. Yesterday I worked a day shift, so I was at the gym at the crack of dawn when the doors opened. Today I am off, so I will go to the gym after I get the kids off to school and take care of the pets. Sometimes I go to the gym late afternoon after a "power nap" if I worked an overnight shift. I think the most important thing is consistency-no matter what schedule you are on on a particular day-eat right and make time for training and the results will come.

    The only thing that gets me mixed up is when I enter my calories-If I get up @ 10PM and have a quick bite before going to work-which "day" do I put that meal on......today or "the tomorrow" which kicks in after midnight....
    You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your brow.
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