Our bodies work best when we can settle into a routine. Go to bed at the same time every day. Wake up at the same time every day. Eat at the same times every day. Workout at the same time every day.
But life doesn’t always work out like that, does it! Some of those things we can control, and some we can’t. I have several teamRIPPED members that are in the tough situation of variable work schedules, such as shift work. They may work nights for a couple days, then a day shift, then a day off — it’s like muscle confusion on their brains!
Is there an easy solution to help them stay on track? Unfortunately no! There isn’t a sure fire solution. It’s not ideal. And there’s nothing that we can do to make it ideal. But just like Tony says, “do your best and forget the rest”.
Accept the fact that some days are going to be short and some are going to be long. This will throw off the daily nutrition guidelines some. If you are up for 24 straight hours, you don’t want to just keep eating every 3 hours that whole time because your body really doesn’t need food during the time you would otherwise be sleeping. In other words, if I were to follow my normal day’s routine, and then decide to stay up all night, I would still stop eating after dinner. I shouldn’t compound my sleep deprivation with overeating.
And the same is true for a short day after a shift. Try to eat more calories in the fewer hours that you are awake to get as close as possible to your target numbers. Will it be right on the money? Probably not. You may go over a bit on the long days and under a bit on the short days, but still have a goal to fuel yourself as consistently as possible.
And will your workout schedule be ideal? Again, probably not. Some days you may need to workout when you first wake up. Other days it may be after work. Since your work schedule is in flux, everything else will have to adjust as well to fit it in.
Like I said before, a set daily routine is best, but that doesn’t mean you are doomed to failure because of chaotic work hours. DO YOUR BEST AND FORGET THE REST!
I know some shift workers who have been bringing it as long as I have — members of teamRIPPED — and they are in phenomenal shape now! They made no excuses and overcame the obstacles.
And while I’m on the topic of shift work, what about folks who simply work nights every night. Well, that’s simple. Do exactly what I do, and everyone else does. Sleep at the same time, eat at the same time and workout at the same time. “Breakfast” for you may be in the evening when you wake up, but it’s no different than my schedule. The trick is if you try to revert every weekend to a “normal” schedule for 2 days — that’s hard on your body. I’d recommend trying to be as consistent as possible with your sleeping, eating, and working out schedule.
But ultimately, we are all in different circumstances and we all have the power to BRING IT if we really want to . No excuses!
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