Night shift maneuvering

HypertrophyCoach Joe Bennett Forums Anything Else Night shift maneuvering

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  • #125533
    Stephen Geromette
    Participant

    Hello coaches!

    I am curious as to your thoughts on training/nutrition/recovery while working around a night shift-work schedule? I am a full time registered nurse and work midnights in the ICU, so I typically work 3, 12 hour shifts a week from 7pm-7am. Some nights I am able to meet my caloric intake, some nights i am severely under my target calories due to the acuity of the shift, which subsequently affects my performance in the gym of course.

    I am trying to maximize the results that I get with your programs (which, being fairly knew, I must say your app is top tier). In saying that, do you believe working out immediately following a shift, then going home and sleeping, is optimal? Or do you recommend sleeping for a few hours and then working out before going into work? I typically will work two or three night shifts in a row, sometimes four dependent on scheduling, and with only 12 hours in between shifts, I have found myself puzzled on how to maintain daily consistency. (As of late, I have been performing more of an on-one-off-one-on-one workout regimen). I’ve trialed a few different options to improve consistency with my work outs and have found both beneficial and detrimental aspects. I used to sacrifice sleep for consistency in the gym, for a long time, which I now realize is suboptimal lol. So I figured why not just ask the pros if I can?

    I apologize for the length of this, there are simply many variables that come into play (I didn’t even post all of them lol). That and I am currently halfway through a 4-in-a-row split of work shifts. So, ya know, brain fog and stuff LOL

    Thank you for your time!! You guys are great!

    #125957
    BryceBahm
    Participant
    #126365
    Joe
    Keymaster
    #126366
    Joe
    Keymaster
    #127672
    EBalage
    Participant

    Hello there!

    Former ER, currently anaesth/ICU doc here. While obviously Joe/Bryce will give you a much professional answer, I did a lot 12 hour shifts in my ER days, and pulling 24-hours currently; so if I may, I might chime in with some practical advice which worked for me.
    As for training, If I could, I trained in the morning or early afternoon the days on the night shift,tried avoiding trained in the horus before a night shift. If I trained exactly before the shift, post-workout nutrition was usually a problem; also that “relax” which you get a couple hours after a hard training usually hit me in the middle Of the night shift… if I could, I avoided training after a night shift, but if it was a must, I trained before going to sleep. So usually went directly to the gym after the shift, trained, ate and went to sleep. It was easier to “stay awake” a few hours more than to “amp up” after the sleep. (Also, it helps me mentally unwind after a shift). Maybe am cruising still on adrenaline but i usually feel more run down after I had my sleep than before. (Nowadays I work 24 hours in the icu, and no matter how much sleep I had, I usually feel the worst 2 days after the shift, the day after I had a good long night sleep at home. Dont know why. Maybe Joe/Bryce can elaborate on it?) also a word of caution: any stim, even “just a coffee” will take extra toll from your body after a night shift.
    Also if I had back to back night shifts, I never trained between or after the 2nd shift. Tried once, it was hell.
    The rules I had for training without sleep: cut the usual volume in half, and never try to beat the log book. Always went by “feel” for weights used. (Around 70-80% of my usual training weights felt like 90% and produced deep, long lasting soreness).
    As for nutrition: i never really ate during a night shift. I usually ate most/all of my meals before the shift, maybe drank a protein shake during the shift but thats all. (Getting back: if i trained earlier, not right before the shift; all my pre-intra-postworkout nutrtion was covered before the shift) Eating during the night was never good with my stomach either. I do think liquid nutrition is your friend if you must, but I avoided eating mostly.
    What I do want to stress most is drink water. I usually lost/lose a suprising amount of water during a night/24 hour shift which can easily go unnoticed.
    One last thing: if I had 20-30 minutes of rest/break/quiet during the shift I tried relaxing, maybe napping. Nothing professional but I beleive it helped in the long run.
    Anyway, nothing ground breaking, but hope it helps a bit. I may had it all wrong, but this was the easiest for me to keep up. Good luck!

    #127676
    EBalage
    Participant

    P.s. I read a quote from Dorian Yates that stressing about missing a workout is more detrimental than the miss itself. While maybe obvious, it helped me to remember this sometimes.

    #128077
    Joe
    Keymaster

    Hello there!
    Former ER, currently anaesth/ICU doc here. While obviously Joe/Bryce will give you a much professional answer, I did a lot 12 hour shifts in my ER days, and pulling 24-hours currently; so if I may, I might chime in with some practical advice which worked for me.
    As for training, If I could, I trained in the morning or early afternoon the days on the night shift,tried avoiding trained in the horus before a night shift. If I trained exactly before the shift, post-workout nutrition was usually a problem; also that “relax” which you get a couple hours after a hard training usually hit me in the middle Of the night shift… if I could, I avoided training after a night shift, but if it was a must, I trained before going to sleep. So usually went directly to the gym after the shift, trained, ate and went to sleep. It was easier to “stay awake” a few hours more than to “amp up” after the sleep. (Also, it helps me mentally unwind after a shift). Maybe am cruising still on adrenaline but i usually feel more run down after I had my sleep than before. (Nowadays I work 24 hours in the icu, and no matter how much sleep I had, I usually feel the worst 2 days after the shift, the day after I had a good long night sleep at home. Dont know why. Maybe Joe/Bryce can elaborate on it?) also a word of caution: any stim, even “just a coffee” will take extra toll from your body after a night shift.
    Also if I had back to back night shifts, I never trained between or after the 2nd shift. Tried once, it was hell.
    The rules I had for training without sleep: cut the usual volume in half, and never try to beat the log book. Always went by “feel” for weights used. (Around 70-80% of my usual training weights felt like 90% and produced deep, long lasting soreness).
    As for nutrition: i never really ate during a night shift. I usually ate most/all of my meals before the shift, maybe drank a protein shake during the shift but thats all. (Getting back: if i trained earlier, not right before the shift; all my pre-intra-postworkout nutrtion was covered before the shift) Eating during the night was never good with my stomach either. I do think liquid nutrition is your friend if you must, but I avoided eating mostly.
    What I do want to stress most is drink water. I usually lost/lose a suprising amount of water during a night/24 hour shift which can easily go unnoticed.
    One last thing: if I had 20-30 minutes of rest/break/quiet during the shift I tried relaxing, maybe napping. Nothing professional but I beleive it helped in the long run.
    Anyway, nothing ground breaking, but hope it helps a bit. I may had it all wrong, but this was the easiest for me to keep up. Good luck!

    #128184
    EBalage
    Participant

    Thanks Joe, appreciate the feedback 🙂

    #129033
    Stephen Geromette
    Participant

    Just as anticipated, you guys give the best feedback! Thank you so much for the tips and even for the external recommendation. It speaks volumes about your willingness to just help the members of this app. I will definitely make use of your teams recommendations and will get back to you as I continue trialing things. This app is the best purchase I have made! Thank you all, so much.

    #129043
    Stephen Geromette
    Participant

    Wow man! Thank you for this, truly. Having some practical application or even some anecdotal experience on what worked/didn’t work from someone who is obviously as serious about lifting/nutrition/etc as myself is uplifting (not to take away from the coaches feedback, by any means). It’s funny that you mention the “relax” that comes from a hard lift because that is one of the biggest hurdles that I find myself trying to get over lol. It’s like the constant battle of wanting to maintain my own physique and continue to grow, but also want to be running at 110% efficiency at work. It’s a struggle for sure! It’s also something to note about cutting down on volume. Something both you and the coaches mentioned. I get caught up in the numbers sometimes a little too much and find that my recovery is taking longer than usual. I will definitely implement your thoughts as well as the coaches. Thanks again!

    #129344
    EBalage
    Participant

    Wow man! Thank you for this, truly. Having some practical application or even some anecdotal experience on what worked/didn’t work from someone who is obviously as serious about lifting/nutrition/etc as myself is uplifting (not to take away from the coaches feedback, by any means). It’s funny that you mention the “relax” that comes from a hard lift because that is one of the biggest hurdles that I find myself trying to get over lol. It’s like the constant battle of wanting to maintain my own physique and continue to grow, but also want to be running at 110% efficiency at work. It’s a struggle for sure! It’s also something to note about cutting down on volume. Something both you and the coaches mentioned. I get caught up in the numbers sometimes a little too much and find that my recovery is taking longer than usual. I will definitely implement your thoughts as well as the coaches. Thanks again!

    Thanks for the feedback man, appreciated, and good luck to you. 🙂

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