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How To Train When You Have A Physical Job?

How to Train When You Have a Physical Job

Nowadays it seems as though many of us have very little time to work out. Even though we know just how many benefits regular exercise provides.

What about if you have a physical job? Its all well and good making time to work out when you have an office job and are sat on your butt all day. But what if you are a builder and are constantly on the go?

Is it possible to find the time and the motivation to train when you have a physical job? Of course, you can. Here are some tips that should be able to help. [toc]

Can A Physical Job Replace Exercise?

You may think that the same benefits of exercise [1] would be seen in those with physical jobs, however, this is not the case.

Studies have shown that exercise is only beneficial when done outside of your job [2]. There are even studies that have shown that having a physical job can increase the risk of numerous health conditions, including heart disease [3].

With this in mind, it is important that you try to take the time to exercise outside of your job. Even when you are not motivated to do so.

Tips To Motivate You To Work Out

The following are some tips to get you in the mood for exercise outside of work.

#1: Reduce Training Volume

You know your own body, so if you find yourself struggling after a hard day at work then you are allowed to reduce the number of reps and sets you perform.

If you work out 5 days a week and perform 16 sets or whatever, try reducing the number to 12.

You are still getting a good workout, but are not overworking yourself to exhaustion.

#2: Reduce Number Of High-Intensity Sets

High-intensity sets are those that include a high percentage of lifts at your 1 RM (this is usually 85-95%). For example, if you usually bench press 100 kg for a single rep, then a high-intensity set would involve benching between 85-95 kg for 3-6 repetitions.

While heavy lifting has its proven benefits [4], it is also incredibly taxing on your body.

Of course, we want to achieve hypertrophy, after all without it you are not going to grow. But there is a limit that your body can take before it starts to break down.

As well as reducing training volume, you may want to consider reducing the number of high-intensity sets performed too.

#3: Have A De-Load Week

If you have been training hard for a few months it may be time to have a de-load week. This is a week where you do not train at all.

Doing this will give your body time to recover completely.

#4: Reduce Training Frequency

Those of us who work physical jobs may not be able to work out 5-6 days a week. Sometimes you may feel that 3-4 times weekly will suffice.

You may not need to do this if you have already reduced the number of sets, but if you have had a particularly tough week it may be needed.

#5: Change When You Train

When do you usually train? If it is at night after work and you are struggling perhaps you could change the time you work out to the morning?

We are all different, so it will be worth experimenting to see what suits you best.

There are pros and cons to when you work out.

For example, morning workouts may energise you for the rest of the day, but you may struggle to get up that extra hour early. While workouts later in the day may help you to unwind after a days work, but you may feel unmotivated and feeling tired if you have had a particularly hard day.

#6: Reduce Cardio

Of course, cardio is important and offers various benefits [5], but if you are already active throughout the day you need to ask yourself is it needed?

If you are already tired you may want to prioritise other forms of training that will benefit your end goal. 20-30 minutes of cardio a week should be enough really to experience its benefits.

#7: Rest, Sleep And Relaxation

If you have a physical job and are trying to work out too then you need rest, and plenty of sleep to recover.

Sleeping poorly or not getting good quality sleep will leave you in a sleep deficit that will bring your gym progress to a grinding stop.

I would aim to get at least 7 hours of good quality sleep every night, which may mean going to bed early if you have an early wake-up.

#8: Make Sure Your Diet Is On Point

If you want to build muscle and strength, or are looking to lose fat while maintaining muscle then you need to make sure you are eating the right kind of foods for your goals.

If your diet is full of poor quality junk food (looking at you builders) then you are not going to see the best results. Whether you are training or not.

Firstly, cut out the junk food, as well as those foods with refined sugars or “bad” fats (for example, margarine, hydrogenated oils and other refined vegetable oils) and replace them with the following foods:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Meat and fish
  • Dairy products

These are all unrefined foods so are easily digested.

If you are working a physical job then you will be using up plenty of energy and calories already. It is essential if you are planning on adding exercise to your regime that you are consuming enough calories.

Failure to do so could result in your body catabolising your hard-earned muscle.

I would work out how many calories you need daily. You should use the following formula [6]:

BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) + 5

As you are working at a physical job you should then multiply the figure by 1.9.

So, if you are 30, who is 180 cm tall and weighs 100 kg you would need 3,762 calories easily to maintain your current weight.

To bulk, you should aim to add 200-500 extra calories daily, but if you are looking to lose weight (cut) then you should aim to subtract 200-500 calories from your allowance.

In Conclusion

While there are certainly some benefits to be gained from having a physical job, there are still plenty of other reasons why you should also exercise outside of work too.

Hopefully, the tips given will give you the motivation you need to get at least some exercise every day.

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