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A Day In the Life: Balancing Shift Work and Fitness Goals, Part 1

May 08, 2015 2 min read

As mention in my Personal Profile, I work as a paediatric nurse on a very busy surgery (pre and post operative) ward. We are required to typically work 12-hour shifts, either from 7 am- 7 pm or 7 pm- 7am. It is known on my unit that I compete in fitness competitions and am in the gym year-round. I get asked almost daily: "Are you still going to train today (after work)?" or "How do you manage to get to the gym after your shift? Aren't you so tired?" The answer to both is almost always yes; and I'm here to say 'how' :) Balancing shift work and a consistent training schedule is an art that I feel I have mastered over the past 6 years. 2 points worth mentioning: I don't have kids (yet) so I only have my own schedule to worry about; I am a person that functions on 6 hours of sleep, generally. I do try to make up for some hours on my days off. I used to work day and night shifts, though now I have the ability to only work day shifts- which is fortunate. I typically like to train 5-6 days/week, and I dictate my 'rest days' (absolutely no physical activity) around my shift stretches. For example, if I am scheduled 2-3 shifts in a row I will make at least one of those days a rest day. This gives me the opportunity to get to bed at a decent hour and be more energized for the next day. I also try to gauge my training 'split' around my shifts. My shorter workouts I try to save on work days (shoulders, arms and chest, cardio/circuit day) and longer workouts (legs, back) on my days off. Here is a look into a typical work day for me, followed by training: 5 am- Wake up 5:45 am- Eat breakfast (Meal 1) 7:00 am- Start of shift 9-9:30 am- 1st break (Meal 2) 12:30 pm- Lunch break (meal 3) 5 pm- Late break (meal 4) 7:15 pm- end of shift 7:30 pm- Take pre-workout energy supplement 8 pm- Begin training 9:30-10 pm- Come home, drink shake (meal 5) 11 pm- Meal 6 11:30 pm-Bedtime It's a long day, but it works! It isn't easy, but I have been living this way for some time and it's become a solid routine. On days that I'm really tired or exhausted I keep in mind how much better I'll feel once my training is done. I do allow for extra rest when I'm feeling under the weather. Because my work days are tightly jam-packed, I reserve time for my family and loved ones on days off. The key to any kind of consistency is finding out what works for you- to ensure you'll KEEP GOING. e87ad78289ccd3a2ea95df36459833e1

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