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Staying In Shape vs. a Busy IT Job Schedule?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-not-the-regular-hacker's-diet dept.

Medicine 865

tnok85 writes "I started a new job ~7 months ago at a very large company working a 12-hour night shift (7PM-7AM) in a fairly high volume NOC. Our responsibilities extend during the night to basically cover everything but the most complex situations regarding UNIX/Windows/Linux/App administration, at which point we'll reach out to the on-calls. I live 1.5 hours away as well, so it turns into 4-5 15 hour days a week of sitting still — throw in almost an hour to get ready to leave, and a bit of time after I get home to unwind and I'm out of time to work out. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure I have a very slow metabolism, ever since I was a pre-teen I would gain weight fairly quickly if I didn't actively work out, regardless of how much or what I eat. (Barring starving myself, I suppose...) So, how does somebody who works a minimum of 60 hours over 4 days, often adding another 12 another day, and sometimes working 7-10 days straight like this, stay in shape? I can't hold a workout schedule, (which every person I've talked to in my history says is necessary to stay in shape) and I can't 'wake up early' or 'work out before bed' because I need sleep. Any thoughts/opinions/suggestions?"

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Its not rocket surgery... (5, Insightful)

acon1modm (1009947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547537)

What kind of miracle solution do you want? Its easy...

For a given workday, after N hours work and M hours sleep, is anything left? if yes, make the decision to work out or to fuck off. If not, then wait for your days off and work out hard. Also decrease caloric intake.

There is no other solution (aside from changing work schedule).

Re:Its not rocket surgery... (3, Informative)

acon1modm (1009947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547605)


regardless of how much or what I eat

Thats bullshit. Yer doin it wrong. There is nothing magical about the metabolic process. More calories will add more weight if you don't burn them.

Re:Its not rocket surgery... (4, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547863)

Not entirely true.

Ok, yes, you can't just eat what you want. However, it's not as simple as just "more calories".

Fiber will flush calories.

Protein builds muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat.

Small snacks throughout the day, and especially a proper breakfast, help your metabolism go faster.

Re:Its not rocket surgery... (1, Informative)

hemp (36945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548005)

And stay away from carbohydrates, they get turned right into fat.

Re:Its not rocket surgery... (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547929)

Some people have fast metabolisms and some have slow ones. I was badly underweight most of my life, and I ate three times as moch food as my fatassed ex-wife, who had a hard time losing it.

Re:Its not rocket surgery... (1)

mike260 (224212) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548021)

A very inefficient digestive system would also do that.

Re:Its not rocket surgery... (2, Insightful)

LuvlyOvipositor (1578009) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547651)

There is no other solution (aside from changing work schedule).

This is what I would recommend. Productivity drops off anyway past 8 consecutive hours of work. If the company needs 24/7 coverage, then get 3 techs per 24 hour period. You get better results from your workers, and promote a healthier work environment.

Re:Its not rocket surgery... (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547665)

Oh, lawdy. I hope submitter knows what they're getting into. They'd better be receiving a lot of money. That said, here are some tips for submitter:
  • Find another job. If you can't,
  • Move closer. If you can't,
  • Drink lots of coffee - working that shift will turn you into a zombie. Coffee (and tobacco, not recommended) keep you alert, give you something to look forward to, and supress the appetite so you...
  • Don't eat out of boredom - stay away from that snack machine. Bring healthy stuff to eat, because you will not be able to stay "in shape". As long as you moderate your munchies you won't gain weight (and you will probably lose weight as you'll be perpetually exhausted). You'll receive no excercise unless...
  • You make arrangements to exercise locally. Use the company gym or use your lunch break to find a local 24-hour gym and get a membership there. At least half an hour every day will be adequate. If you have only a half-hour for lunch then make an arrangement to use your mandated breaks in conjection with your lunch break to buy you some time. If your boss dosen't understand that then he's a sadist and you're better off working elsewhere.
  • If no gyms are available then bring gym clothes and spend your lunch break taking a night jog. Bring music. Night jogs are peaceful and will clear your head. Most places have at least one bathroom with a shower. If you don't have other options then it's exercise vs. stink.

But those are only suggestions as I've never lasted more than 5 months on that shift without going crazy. You got balls, my man.

Re:Its not rocket surgery... (5, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547951)

Ditto what the OP said. Either you are serious about wanting to work out for a little bit becauase it will improve your life, or you aren't. If you are serious about it, you will find time to do it. If you aren't, you will come up with excuses not to.

As a completely antecdotal experience, I've been training martial arts for seven years. At this point I train five to six days a week for an hour or two each day. I'm in pretty good shape, but could still make a lot of improvements. I don't do any weight training, and I work out at a moderate intensity.

If all you want to do is "get in shape" you can do it in 30-45 minutes a day. The most important thing is to start out with stretching, and once you're stretched out, do some cardio (jogging, jumping rope, etc) for AT LEAST 20 minutes. If you can't jog, walk. Work up to walking with short periods of running. Then run more and walk less. You really don't need to get up to any more than two or three miles a couple of times a week to see some real results after a six to eight months.

The hardest part about working out is getting started. It feels counter-intuitive. It hurts. There is pain associated with it. Your body will tell you to stop doing it. The lazy voice in the back of your head will talk you out of it. The first couple of months are the most difficult part. Developing a schedule AND STICKING TO IT, is the most difficult part.

Be realistic with yourself. Realize that being healthy is a lifestyle choice. It isn't something that you do for a few months and then quit. It takes a while to see results. I'm not going to lie and tell you that it doesn't suck in the beginning because it does. It is much easier to sit in front of the computer and sleep than it is to set aside an hour a day to exercise.

The only other advice I have is to cut out drinking anything besides water. Soda is especially bad for you. Anything with high fructose corn syrup in it (most anything you'd get at 7-11 or the like) is tough for your body to digest. If you are out of shape, working out is going to burn a lot of fat. That fat is stored garbage. Your body is going to be working hard to get rid of that garbage. Water will help that process.

CrossFit (4, Informative)

Officer Friendly (1002686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547563) [] - works very well and can be done almost anywhere with little or no equipment.

Re:CrossFit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547613)

Or no arms or fucking legs!

Re:CrossFit (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547927)

Crossfit certainly has the right idea. Workouts don't have to be long to be effective. For example, I have a 56 pound kettlebell in my office. Taking a short (1-2 minute) break every hour or so makes a noticeable difference in the long run.

Exercise while you work. (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547569)

Get a treadmill for a desk. []

Re:Exercise while you work. (1)

cabjf (710106) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547633)

Either that or strive to be extra active on the weekends. I would look for a different job or move closer. Those extra two hours can make all the difference.

Different job or move closer: downsides (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547715)

I would look for a different job or move closer.

In this recession, "a different job" would likely pay less than half the hourly rate, and "move closer" might be difficult if the significant other commutes in the other direction.

Re:Exercise while you work. (3, Funny)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547783)

Want to lose up to 57 lbs in one year?
Can't find enough time to get to the gym?
Spend lots of time in front of a computer?
Are you a stupid douche bag with no sense for practicality?

If you answered Yes, Yes and Yes and Yes and Yes and Yes, then welcome to the solution...the Treadmill Desk.

Re:Exercise while you work. (1)

jomegat (706411) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547917)

This is an idea I have been toying with for a couple of months now, but I think a recumbant exercise bike might be a better than a treadmill. My hair-brained scheme is to use the bike to drive a car's alternator (cheap and used), and use that to drive a power inverter & battery. Then use that whole Rube Goldberg contraption to power my laptop. If I get too tired to keep the laptop running, I could switch to AC power. If I find I can't generate enough power to keep the lappy running all day, I could always power the uh... iPod instead? No exercise = no music. I would HOPE I could generate enough power to keep an iPod running.

Green and lean, but mostly... geek.

There is no silver bullet (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547583)

I have tried everything and the only thing that works is to workout at least 4 to 5 times a week and watch my diet. And if I don't exercise at least an hour two days a week I don't lose any weight. Long commutes are tough, but you could take workout clothes and go at lunch or have extended workouts on the weekends.

Re:There is no silver bullet (1)

HasselhoffThePaladin (1191269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548029)

Replace your chair with one of those inflatable balance balls. Make yourself work to sit upright. Also, if you drink ice-cold water throughout the day, your body burns calories to keep your body temperature constant--it's not much, but the little things like that you can do will add up to keep the weight off.

And don't use metabolism as a cop-out, God knows more than a few of us have done it in the past. It's all about how much you really care to lead a healthy life.

Walk (3, Informative)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547585)

Seriously, walk around. Get up, and stretch. Take a walk at lunch. Take the long way through the halls. Eat properly - high fiber, high protein. Sneak into a side room and do wall pushups. Use your imagination - imagination and intelligence is what makes geeks awesome. Use your gifts.

Re:Walk (2, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547683)

And wear ankle weights and such [] so that your simple motions are more workout-like.

If you wear wrist weights, then simple typing will be a bit of a workout. Though I imagine you would be more likely to suffer from ergonomic problems in that case.

Re:Walk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547687)

On good days, I set a timer to remind me to stand up every 45 minutes or so, look away from the computer, stretch, do jumping jacks, pushups, whatever.

On bad days, I sit for hours on end staring at a screen. I like the good days better.

Re: Walk (5, Funny)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547953)

From what I hear, you can do kegel exercises nearly anywhere at any time.

Exercise bike at work? (1)

gum2me (723529) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547587)

I know that sounds weird, but if anyone can figure out how to put a keyboard on an exercise bike, it's this community.

In a bind (4, Insightful)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547607)

You have certainly painted the situation in such a way that you feel you have no time to do anything except sleep, eat, and work. If working out is a major priority to you, perhaps you should be looking for a less demanding job?

Re:In a bind (5, Insightful)

halsver (885120) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547817)

At the bare minimum, you need to move closer to where you work. Your commute is costing you your health and is eating your paycheck. Looking at the money you are making versus the costs, you might be better off working at the 7-11 down the street.

Where does your social life fit in to this? I know when I work a 60+ hour week I need the weekend just to unwind, let alone see friends or do things I enjoy.

My solution, get an apartment within 5 miles of your work and then ride a bicycle there.

Re:In a bind (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548003)

What had me wondering was if he didn't have time for anything but working, sleeping, and eating, why does he want to be fit? Gees, he should start smoking; he already doesn't have a life.

Move and Bike (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547609)

Move closer and/or bike into work.

It's rewarding and fun, and a little bit of biking every day goes a long way toward staying in shape.

Well, the biking is fun, the moving sucks.

Re:Move and Bike (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547947)

Move closer and/or bike into work.

I don't want to discount the moving possibility or the benefits of biking... but they may not be possible here. There are plenty of reasons that the submitter could want or "have" to stay where he is now.

And if he does, and he's commuting 1.5 hours presumably by car, I don't exactly have high hopes for commuting by bike leaving time to, say, sleep.

Madness (4, Interesting)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547615)

Working those hours, in a night shift, that far from home, seems to me like a terrible long term arrangement. You'll cut years off your life. It'll make sure you can't get even a semblance of a social life. As a support job, it might not even pay enough as to allow you to see it as a temporary sacrifice for a better lifestyle later.

Look for another job, pronto.

Re:Madness (1)

kievit (303920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547979)

I agree with that, but I also wonder if the work times that he quotes are really the ones specified in his contract. 60 hours per week, really, for a support job? Could it be that he is just adding some extra hours before and/or after, every day, out of some social habit, to make a good impression maybe? If that is the case then he should break that habit. Having physical exercise during those salvaged hours will make his regular working hours also way more productive and effective, so his employer and colleagues should be happy with this more health behavior as well.

Plus: would it be negotiable to telecommute one of the working days? That saves travel time, which can be spent on exercise.

Work / Life balance (2, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547631)

Try it.

The excuse of "I work too much to stay in shape" is just an excuse to not work out.

Re:Work / Life balance (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547973)

Yeah, what a lazy asshole, wanting to do things like sleep after a 14 hour work session!

Unusual workout... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547645)

Is viewing porn in private considered "working out"?

Find a different job (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547647)

Yeah yeah, easier said than done, but you're working an unhealthy schedule even without considering the lack of exercise. Is the money good enough that you can retire your burnt-out, fat body in 5 years and recover before you drop dead?

2 solutions (4, Informative)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547655)

I've been in your situation and there are only two possible solutions:

-get a new job

-move closer to your existing job.

Re:2 solutions (0)

cellurl (906920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547943)

Get a hot girlfriend. That will motivate the workout. (lose the wife)

eat less (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547669)

If "get in shape" means essentially "lose weight" you need to eat less. Substantially less.

Don't eat anything which you find delicious -- too stimulating. Stick to stuff that is just OK.

From the sound of it, you can't (3, Insightful)

VeeCee (693453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547675)

Honestly, those are hellish hours and frankly I think you're insane for working that much. My honest answer, as someone who works out 6 days a week but works a pretty normal 9-5 is that, if I had your job, I wouldn't work out either.

Working too much (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547679)

You are working/commuting too much. IMHO, you should be looking to first reduce your hours spent working/commuting. With the schedule you have laid out, you dont have time to properly work out and its not good for your mental health either. The body and mind need rest to operate well, by throwing in physical exercise, you are only going to become more fatigued.

If you cant change the situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547681)

Drop from your desk and crank out a small set of push ups/ sits ups, etc aka "The prison workout." Throughout the day this can really add up.

Also, very large companies sometimes have on-site gyms or some relation with a local gym.

I assume you get a lunch hour? Bag a lunch and have a workout during this time.

If you are not getting a lunch break, I don't see how you can make a job situation like this last for any length of time.

BS (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547685)

If you work a 12 hour shift in a non-physical job, you're not going to have time to stay in shape, let alone get in shape. However, you COULD take out a subscrption to the YMCA and work out half an hour a day every other day - but you're not going to want to; working a 12 hour shift wears you out.

The Subway diet, of course! (1)

RemusX2 (726167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547691)

Hey, if it worked for Jared, it can work for you too!

A few simple things.. (4, Informative)

modi123 (750470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547695)

If you are looking for some basic things the 100 pushups [] , 200 squats [] , and 200 situps [] work pretty well and do not require much. Even a bike trainer to use while watching tv de-stressing at home would be great. Outside of that you will need to fight for some of your life back. Get time from your boss, make time! Most companies have small gyms at work see if you can get one floated past committee.

Sugars (0)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547699)

Avoid refined sugars. I decided to go off of anything with corn syrup for about a month, just to see what happened. I lost about 30 lbs. It is amazing, the stuff we put in our bodies.

Re:Sugars (2, Interesting)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547885)

So you were consuming 3500 calories a day in corn syrup?
All that matters is calories in vs. calories out.
The calorie source doesn't matter for weight gain unless you don't get the minimum requirements of a given macro nutrient.
30 lbs in 30 days just by cutting out corn syrup? I call BS.

Re:Sugars (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548035)

So you were consuming 3500 calories a day in corn syrup?
All that matters is calories in vs. calories out.
The calorie source doesn't matter for weight gain unless you don't get the minimum requirements of a given macro nutrient.
30 lbs in 30 days just by cutting out corn syrup? I call BS.

I was thinking the same thing, but its also possible that by "not eating anything with corn syrup" the GP ended up being more aware of what they were eating, and eating more nutritious/healthy food that filling them up (more salad?) without the carbs of the crap they WERE eating.

That was just my take on it though. :)

Re:Sugars (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547919)

And how many Calories did this end up cutting out of your diet?

read this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547703)

read a book called "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" and stick to it. sounds like your body type is an endomorph and your most likely carb sensitive. eat 5-6 meals a day with more protein, less carbs,and stay active any way you can.

Metabolism? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547707)

Metabolism isn't static. It can go up or down, depending on how you eat and move.

Make sure you eat breakfast, then throughout the day eat enough to keep your energy levels up. If you are skipping meals, your metabolism will drop to compensate. Eat a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat (and green vegetables, not lettuce) to keep your body on edge and ready to operate when you need it. When I say body, I include brain as well, since it is very much part of your body.

As far as exercise, if you do it right, it will help you unwind. If you're feeling like all you want to do is go sit on the couch and do nothing, it's because you've been not eating a balance or not moving for so long, your body doesn't have the energy or desire to move anymore. You have to help it wake up and become alive, because seriously, who wants to waste all their non-work hours relaxing doing nothing?

Watch what you eat (2, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547709)

Do anything you can to move about - look for a further away parking spot, rather than one close to the door. Take the stairs. You do get breaks, yes? Walk during them.

And watch what you eat. I can imagine that on such a shift the temptation will be to nibble on high calorie snacks and drink lots of soft drinks.

Try and take healthy snacks that you can nibble through the night, and get a water bottle, keep it full and drink lots.

Could you turn some of your unwinding time into exercise time? Maybe stop at the gym even for thirty minutes on your way home? Or go on your way to work, and use the showers there to get ready for your night-time shift.

Fiber (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547725)

Take your meals and snacks with you, and make sure that they are rich in fiber, not in simple carbohydrates. Fiber is very filling and takes a lot of energy to burn. My wife recently started making tex-mex soup/stew out of chili powder, beans, corn and ground beef. My stomach isn't bothered by it, and it generally gets me through the day on a serving size that is about 450-550 calories. If you take snack bars, it's important to make sure that you buy the more expensive onces that are mainly complex carbs and protein, and not just simple carbs and candy coating.

Another vote for "you don't" (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547731)

Find a job that isn't killing you first. Done the night shift. Done the long hours and commute and 4.5/hrs of sleep/day. Never done the two together and don't recommend either.

Some obvious ones (2, Interesting)

JerryLove (1158461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547739)

Not to be obvious but: do whatever you can do on your breaks.

I used to go out with someone I met at a work location and do TaiChi. Yoga comes to mind. Crunches/Push-ups/curling a freeweight comes to mind as well.

After every call (or every 30min without one) drop and do (say) 20 of any of the above. Even if that ends up being once an hour (hour long calls?) a 10-hour-day will have 200 push-ups/stomach crunches (for a freeweight, working it while at your desk isn't bad; but remember to switch arms from time to time).

Durnig your break, go for a run.

Stairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547751)

Welcome to IT. Find yourself a chick that likes chubby guys. I myself work in a large office building and use my hour lunch (when there is time for a lunch) to walk up and down the flights of stairs in the building. Won't do much to keep the buffness but keeps the waist down a bit.

Very interesting article on this subject (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547753)

Somebody already mentioned CrossFit [] , which I've been considering doing. But then I also came across this very interesting [] article about a new study about exercise. Bottom line, it's possible that you really need very little time exercising every day. It's the *intensity* of the workout that matters, not the amount of time.

This fit very well with the Crossfit philosophy, which is a single exercise per day, but very intense.

Bicycle!! Definitely Bicycle!! (4, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547755)

Get a bike rack, a bicycle, a good headlamp and some very reflective clothes.

Map a bike route from your worksite to a terminus about 6 to 10 miles away (where you can park your car). Optimize the route for safety and speed.

Drive your car to the terminus every day and ride your bike into work in the morning and back to your car in the evening.

Re:Bicycle!! Definitely Bicycle!! (1)

buddhaunderthetree (318870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548025)

Seconded. You would be surprised how commuting by bike can change your outlook on work and your health. Consider the benefits of getting your daily workout while commuting to work.

NOt rocket Science (4, Insightful)

RobertNotBob (597987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547757)

Your current job is incompatable with a healthy lifestyle.

This isn't rocket science; pick one or the other.

(I suggest you pick the health, and loose that job)

One Word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547767)

KETTLEBELL! What is it you ask? It's a cannonball with a single handle on it.

I'm in a similar boat, in that my metabolism had been stuck in park since my mid-teens. Approaching 30, I started doing something about it.

I started working with a kettlebell in march, and promptly lost almost 30 lbs by mid-may. I've fallen off the wagon with a new job, and need to start working out regularly, but it's incredible. The workouts are Short (15-20 minutes) but very intense, keeping your heart rate high.

Do a search on Youtube (or better yet, my account has a bunch of good training vids favorited: Look for "Enter the Kettlebell" by Pavel, and get yourself a kettlebell. You can take a look at my blog (again, fallen into a state of unlove since I started my new job 6 weeks ago) to get some ideas for how I built my routine.

WARNING: This is one of the most intense exercise programs you're going to find. It's what the USSR used to train their Spetnaz. Check with your Dr, especially about your heart and/or asthma. This is a fast and effective way of working out. That does not mean it's easy.

Self defeating (3, Insightful)

Pagey123 (1278182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547775)

I realize that you have a relatively insane schedule, but go back and read your comments. They are nearly all self defeating. Working out regularly is like quitting smoking - it's something YOU have to want to do for yourself and your own benefit. You'd be amazed what a simple set of adjustable dumbbells and a weight bench will do when used for only 20 minutes a day 3 to 4 days per week. Throw in some form of cardio on your days off from lifting, and you're doing far better than most of the general public.

Also, if you are truly serious about staying in shape, take a good look at your diet. Years ago I switched my diet from overly processed starches and red meats to include more whole grains, skim milk, water, whole fruits and vegetables, and green tea. My energy levels easily doubled. The amount of time I spent sick dropped.

Seriously, if you truly want to get in shape, you will make time for it. All it takes is making it a habit, which will probably require a 2 month investment on your part, whether you feel like it on a given day or not. There are days when I don't feel 100% like working out, but once I get about 5 minutes into my routine, I am up to the challenge.

set up to fail (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547785)

Any thoughts/opinions/suggestions?

(1) Try living closer to your work. That long commute is more draining than you realize.

Assume you need 8 hours of sleep a night. Working a 12-hour shift, you are using three quarters of your free waking hours commuting. This leaves you one hour for eating, exercising, and anything else you want to do.

So probably you're not getting enough sleep...which means you are more stressed, which also leads to weight gain. Add in the lack of exercise, and your cortisol levels must be getting pretty high. So not only do you have little free time, you are gaining weight, and you are slowly reducing your life expectancy.

My suggestion is to move or find a new job. Seriously.

I did the long hours + long commute routine for years. I can't believe how much better I felt, and how much healthier I was, when I moved and got a new job with a reasonable commute and slightly fewer hours (50-55 instead of 60+). That's even though I was hardcore about ensuring I got 30 mins of aerobic exercise 5 days a week when I had the long commute & hours.

Of course, then I started having kids, so any time savings I had are out the door, and I've packed quite a few pounds back on due to lack of exercise.

But seriously, something's got to give with your schedule. You can give up your health, your commute, or your job. Pick one.

You're going to have to make it work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547791)

You have to decide if you can create a situation where you CAN work out for 30 minutes a day on the schedule you've described, or, you're going to have to change your schedule. I imagine you take time for lunch? Eat at your desk and spend 30 minutes on a bike or treadmill or something. I suggest this because it seems like people don't just get up and run outside anymore. If you're at a weight where running is bad for you, start with walking. You also say you 'unwind' when you get home. Make that time exercise time too.

You've really put yourself, though, in a position where all you CAN do is work this sort of job with the hours you say it demands and the distance you live from it. If you truly want to be fitter, you will have to make necessary adjustments. There's no quick fix here and you'll have to understand and accept that. I might also say that as an engineering consultant, I work the same hours you do and live an equivalent distance. I make the time.

Easy Solution (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547793)

Meth. I have yet to run into a fat meth-head.

Re:Easy Solution (5, Insightful)

sabs (255763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547957)

Or an old one

Work, sleep, eat (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547797)

That appears to be your entire (current) life. You can't sustain that.

But in the short term, for exercise, look into biking. No, it doesn't have to be ALL the way to work. Split the task. Drive, and bike in for the last 8-10 miles or so. At the end of your shift, bike back to the car and drive home.
Or do the same but walking. Walk the last mile to and from work.

Workout over your lunch break. (2, Informative)

axjms (167179) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547801)

Do what I do. Bring a workout bag and run or crossfit during your lunch hour. Find a shower in your building or nearby and use it. Or use wet paper towels. Don't laugh it works. Eat your lunch back at your workstation after you workout. I was in a similar situation to you about two years ago and was slowly turning into a slug. I made friends with some one in the building who ran every day rain, snow, or shine. I hurt for about two months but it got better.

Wait, you say you don't have a lunch hour, work in a city can't run, or a myriad of other excuses. It's all B.S. and I used them all too. If you are working 60 hours a week and being productive you get at least an hour break in there unless you work in a gulag.

It's worth it, and life is short. I wouldn't trade the fitness I have earned for just about anything.

Meth (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547805)

Meth will help you lose weight and stay away during your long work hours. It will also help lessen your dental bills in the long term.

I love to work out before bed (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547819)

Often times my brain is tired before bed, but my body is not. If that makes sense. This makes it hard for me to go to sleep. Lifting some light weights (dumbbells that can easily be put in a corner when not in use) and doing things like pushups and situps before bed makes me more tired and lets me go to sleep better.

Also, doing weight training in any form helps you burn more calories when you're just sitting around doing nothing. Your body has to support those muscles and that takes energy.

You'd be amazed how much you can do with just a chair and a pair of dumbbells.

Calories (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547841)

Count them. If you don't know how much you are eating, then you don't have any clue if you are eating too much or not. Figuring out how much you are eating is the first step.

Simply counting the calories you consume may be enough to make you realize an easy way to cut out a few hundred calories; remember, 115 extra calories a day is equivalent to about 1 pound gained a month.

Quit (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547843)

You only live once..

Is this really worth the money?

Its easy to forget that we only get about 30,000 days.
If we're lucky.

A few tips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547847)

Funny to read your post I was just thinking about this before going on Slashdot. I've found it very difficult to find time the past year. I normally like to exercise in team sports but found it difficult to work since not being flexible if I also want a bit of social life and time for the misses ;-) I work between 50 and 60 hours a week and find myself drained at times. The first thing was to recognize that I need to prioritize this in order to function properly and secondly tried to minimize the time by combining activities or finding something more appealing than just working out (tried that and ended up quitting after a month). Here's what I've come up with: 1. I bike to work (12 km each way) 2. I go for a walk/run/threadmill early in the morning (6:30-7:00). Hate doing it that way but enjoy listening to podcasts. 3. I found a sport I really enjoy. In my case kite surfing, but it could be anything. What I like about it is that it's individual, but at the same time very social and I can do it when I have time - or when the weather allows it. 4. And more sex ;-) Hope it helps.

What facilities are near where you work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547849)

Is there a swimming pool near by? How about a park?

Excercise is a good way to wind down and can also help you sleep better.

I'm lucky the building where I work has a shower, so I can cycle to work 45 mins each way.

What are the options for moving closer to cut the commute time?

Move closer to work, or get a different job. (1)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547855)

There is no way that you are being paid enough working first level support at night in a NOC to justify a three hour daily commute. I know the economy is in the shitter right now, but you are simply abusing yourself. Your question doesn't say what your personal situation is like (do you have a spouse/significant other, what does she do, etc...), but your first priority needs to be to relocate as close to work as possible, or, alternatively, to find a job in the same zip code where you currently live. That three hour commute is essentially three hours a day of unpaid work. Over the course of a year of 4 day weeks, that is almost an entire extra man-month dedicated to your job, for free. Don't be a sucker.

Do what you can, not what you want. (1)

Javaman59 (524434) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547873)

You are in a bad situation, with respect to fitness. You are quite right that work and sleep, and a bit of down time, must come before an exercise regime.

The danger will be that as weeks of this turn into months, and you haven't exercised, that you'll become so lethargic that you can't bring yourself to exercise when you get the chance

My recommendation is that you make a point of each week doing at least some exercise, however light. Better to go for a walk around the block, than to resolve to run a mile, and not do it.

Even better, would be to get some small exercise every day. If at all possible, try to go for a 20 minute, or even 10 minute, walk at lunch time. It will keep you in shape (somewhat), and clear the head for the rest of the day.

Eventually, as your body clock adjusts to your new schedule, you will be able to do some more demanding exercises, but that time will come a lot sooner if you keep doing regular light exercise.

Best Advice? C.L.A! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547883)

I have the same problem and I must tell you all what I discovered 3 weeks ago. C.L.A. is an Omega 6 oil that makes your body burn more fat MAINLY around your belly. It also slows degradation of muscle if your work-outs are farther between. It's only $10-$15 a bottle. Then there's arginine; although most sites boast it as a "Herbal Viagra" you should check wikipedia. It has an amazing list of health benefits. Take it for 8 weeks on, 4 weeks off, etc. Lastly, Green Tea works really well in combination with CLA, because it gently speeds your metabolism, helping CLA burn your belly fat. DO NOT take anything else that speeds your heart, ephedrine, etc. I've tried all of these in the past and the gentleness yet effectiveness of CLA is unparalleled. I hope this helps. If you only take one of these three, make it CLA. And keep weights near your desk. I use them during wait times, keeps my energy up, and keeps me lean.

6 minutes a week (1)

trb (8509) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547887)

Do you have six minutes a week? []

Quick remedy (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547895)

Might as well just keel over and die.

Sorry. ;-)

Hacker's Diet - 15 Minute Plan WFM (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547899)

Look up Hacker's Diet, in that book, there is a 15 minute workout routine that works great for me. It starts out easy, but it gets much more difficult as you progress, however it only takes 15 minutes, ever, if you do it right.

Get rid of the commute (1)

ShortRound (113945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547907)

I used to commute 70 miles to work daily. I found it soul crushing. IMO life is way too short to lose 3 hours of it every work day in a car. If this is your dream job, find a way to move closer to it. If it's not, then spend whatever time you have worrying about finding a closer job. Once you've eliminated the commute you can find a way to live more actively. Maybe you can bike to work like I do.

In the meantime just try to eat the best you can, lots of raw vegetables is my suggestion.

Lunch? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547913)

What about working out during lunch? At my old job (that had a fitness center) I'd spend the first 30 minutes of my lunch working out, then the last 30 minutes to run somewhere to get lunch and eat it at my desk when I got back. That worked out nicely for me. As an added benefit, the endorphine rush you get from working out does wonders for making the remainder of your shift more pleasant.

Cycling to work (3, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547921)

I commute to work on a bicycle almost every day. That's 2x11 Km each day. Some of my colleagues have longer commutes.

I enjoy it a lot, and consider that in Finland there is a ton of bicycle paths, so one doesn't need to risk his/her life while cycling.

Of course, if you're in most of the US or Canada, you're shit out of luck, but there are some cities that are cyclist-friendly even in North America.

BTW, as a general comment about your life: I think your lifestyle is deeply fucked. You basically don't have a life. If you are married, you are sacrificing not only yours, but your wife's and your children's life as well. You'll die just like the rest of us, buy you'll wonder where did your life go.

Re:Cycling to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28548027)

I bike between two American cities, one of which is somewhat cycling-friendly, which means the overall commute is somewhat bicycle-unfriendly. If you don't get run over by a car, it's actually not that bad.

One word... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547933)

TAPEWORM...These little suckers will keep those pesky pounds off with minimal effort.

incorporate exercise into daily routine (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547949)

1. No elevators, no escalators - ALWAYS take the stairs if you can.
2. Go out to lunch, don't bring your own. This might be hard when working at night; at least walk to a convenience store to buy coffee on your food breaks.
3. If you drive, park in the farthest place on the parking lot. Walk fast or even run from/to your car if you can't spare the time to walk.
4. Exercise while at your desk. Get those "stress balls" to exercise your forearms. Do some sit-ups when no one's looking. Go to the bathroom or another floor so you have an excuse to use the stairs. I made a habit of walking up and down 4 flights of stairs every day at work (in addition to using stairs for legitimate things like getting to work)
5. Drink black coffee, tea, or diet soda. Caffeine increases your metabolism.
6. Do fast but intense workouts at home: push-ups, sit-ups, stuff that will tire you in 5 minutes if you can't spare more time.
7. Make up your lost workouts on the weekends.

beeb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28547969)

I workout during lunch. If it doesn't happen during lunch for me then it doesn't happen at all. Find a workout place close to your job.

Creative Exercising (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547977)

Schedule some maintenance work or emergency preparedness exercises where you have to move 2U+ servers around the facilities. Work yourself up to 4U+ as you go along.

Or you could just bring a couple dumbbells to work and lift while at your desk.

It's all in what you eat (4, Informative)

MetricT (128876) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547983)

Weight loss is a matter of willpower, but it's also a matter of having the right technique. All the willpower in the world won't help you if you're doing the wrong thing. And weight loss isn't about exercise (at least for me), it was about eating right.

I spent two years running 30 miles a week, and eating bad foods. I lost 15 pounds in 2 years (and wore my knees out in the process).

I spent six months eating healthy food and weightlifting 2 days a week. I lost 30 pounds in 6 months.

Notice the difference.

1. Cut out sugar, flour, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes from your diet. They spike your insulin and give you that gnawing hunger.
2. Give yourself 3 skip meals a week where you violate the first rule, but not too much. Only a bit.
3. Eat a portion of white meat two meals a day. It slows your digestion, and keeps your body from starving itself of protein.
4. Eat salads, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts until you are full (but only after eating your protein.

That's really all there is to it. No secrets. For the first two months, my "exercise" was reading the newspaper in the sauna and I lost 15 lbs in that time. I did start weightlifting after a few months, and have almost doubled my benchpress and legpress weights in only 4 months. My waist has gone from a fat 40" to a loose 34". I feel like a million dollars.

After Surgery (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28547987)

Maybe after your condition necessitates back or heart surgery you'll re-think how much you value this job.

I did for mine.

stronglifts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28548011) 5x5 strength training program []

I started this program 4 weeks ago. If you can take a 1 hour lunch, you can do this program. I was struggling with a 12 hour day 5 days a week, wanting to get in shape but not sacrifice my precious time with my wife and 2 small children for a workout routine. I was also finding that I was very slothful and lazy on my time off on the weekends because I was so out of shape and worn out from the week...

I now work out 3 times a week, 1 hour at a time, over my lunch break. It is an effective workout that encompasses a great range of muscles and brief cardio (which I intend to supplement with runs over the weekend). I feel tremendously stronger and more energetic on the weekends, much more ready to tackle those home improvement projects that come with owning a fixer-upper...

The workout is short, but terribly hard, and always getting harder and moving towards heavier weights. You alternate between 2 different sets of 5 exercises per workout. It includes squats, deadlifts, press, benchpress, and other bodyweight exercises...

I highly recommend it...

You need to make time. (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548017)

As someone that experiences back pain if I don't exercise regularly, I will tell you this.
You have to make time for the things that are important to you: exercise, spending time with your children,
spending time with your spouse, etc. If I let my job work me during every second of the day, that is my own fault.
I am entitled legally to x amount of minutes for lunch and breaks and I use those to exercise at a gym during
my lunch hour. The more I exercise, the better I feel, so it is always worth it to make time. My company offers
these benefits, and I would be a fool to not take advantage of them.

24/7 Gym or Think Opposite (1)

smackenzie (912024) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548033)

I understand this predicament all too well. And working out substantially is critical to your mental and physical well-being. Try asking yourself what you can do at the gym in order to save time at home (or the office). Here is what I recommend:

- Find a 24/7 gym, or at least a gym with very good hours. Preferably on the way to work.
- If, for example, you shower in the "morning", then don't shower at home. Wake up. Bring a change of clothes on way to work. Use gym. Shower / shave. Head to work.
- Do this for 2 or 3 of your work days per week. And work out on the 2 days that you get off. Obviously, this varies.
- Plan on working out for an hour or so.
- Bring the paper if you typically read this at home.
- Or bring journals, reading edification, potentially email on a smartphone, etc., -- anything that gains back a little time for you at work or home. - I'll leave the specifics (cardio, weights, stretching) up to the professionals.

I know it's obvious. But nothing is going to give you a good concentrated workout quite like 60 to 90 minutes at the gym. And since you shower there, you are discussing 4 to 6 hours / week... well worth it. I gained back about 1 hour of that time per week reading the paper in-between sets. And I do answer critical, quick emails on my iPhone. Yes, get up and walk around and stretch at work and all that, but it's going to be hard to come anywhere close to this regime using any off-the-cuff or "creative" solutions.

Get A Different Job (1)

rawr_one (1474675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548037)

Period. Even if you could find a way to manage to work out around your current schedule, you wouldn't be keeping yourself healthy. You would simply be wearing yourself down even faster.

Talk with your supervisor or whoever you can about getting a shorter work day (8 hours) and being able to work more often (say, 6 days a week, if you need to work around 50-60 hours a week). If they can't understand why that is a good idea (seriously, this is actually even better for your company due to the productivity boost and overall morale boost), then you should not be working there. Go find a job somewhere else, preferably somewhere closer to home that follows some sort of ethical guidelines about human labor.

It is not worth the years of your life you will kill off by trying to work out and keep up a 12-hour work schedule at the same time. You'll just be throwing away your life if you do.

What a loaded submission - find a new job. (2, Insightful)

stastuffis (632932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548043)

You work a 60-hour work week. Apparently, you also get a poor amount of sleep. Working out involves recovery time. Adequate sleep is paramount to a sound body and mine.

You can't do a workout program? You can't wake up early? You really can't do anything outside of your days off. You want a magic fit pill? You want longer days? You want what does not exist.

The answer is blatantly obvious: find a new job or face the fact that your mental and physical state will erode over time.

It is comforting to know that IT doesn't require common sense.

I've done this, and it sucks.... (1)

whistlingtony (691548) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548051)

Night shift all by itself will greatly degrade your health. If you want any semblance of normality, don't switch back to days on your weekends! Of course, this will destroy your social life, which is very important to your quality of life. Either way, you're screwed.

Your job sucks. get a new one, or demand to go to days.
Move closer and bike to work.
Consider that your exercise and your unwind time can be combined into one. See biking to work.
Take your lunch break and go to the gym. Every Night. Do It.
Get really good sleep.
Bring your own healthy food to work. This will take extra effort. Don't eat out of the Spinning Wheel of Death (vending machines).

You're pretty much screwed unless you can get a treadmill attached to your cube. If you can, then a nice slow walking pace through the day will take care of most of your problems. Good Luck getting your boss to OK that one....

Seriously... Get a new job. It's not worth it. I did it for 8 years and it turned me fat and grouchy. It had a good part to play in my divorce. Oh, and I lost touch with all my friends who didn't work nights. All for fleeting money.....



One simple idea... (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548059)

Ask for (or purchase yourself, if need be) a keyboard and monitor stand that will allow you to work while standing up. If your employer is likely to balk, couch it in terms they can understand. Let them know that the sedentary nature of the job may lead to poorer health, and that poor health costs more (in health insurance and lost work). Note how a very inexpensive accomodation (some sort of podium/stand) would allow you to model healthy behavior at the office, and that healthier employees cost less to insure. It may seem like a pain when you first start out, but you'll grow accustomed to it, and your body will burn more calories just because you are standing. In the course of a week, that can add up to a significant amount.

If you can eventually add a cordless headset, you'll have greater mobility, too, allowing you to keep moving while working (when possible).

Electro-muscle stimulators (1)

virgil Lante (1382951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548061)

Get a portable EMS unit or 5. With an ample supply of batteries you can twitch youself back into shape. If your really strapped for time you can throw an electro ejaculator in the mix which would help with the social aspect of your slavery.

Do you want to live? (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28548081)

Do you want to stay alive or do you want to die? Work out.

Make your day harder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28548083)

I keep a 45lb dumbbell in my cube. Anyone says something I ask them to preacher curl it. That shuts them up quick.
The body will adapt to it's lowest activity threshold.. Just make that harder and your body will adapt. Also watch the junkfood.

standing desk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28548101)

Seriously.. get a workstation that you can stand at and work from there for four hours a day.

Just the act of standing for say four hours a day will help your metabolism. The extra activity will help burn away mental cobwebs too.

Rumsfield had a standing desk in the pentagon. He did a lot of his work from it. If that 70 year old guy can stand most of the day you can stand some of it.

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