How Can You Balance Working Night Shifts And Lifting Weights?

May 23, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “how can you balance working night shifts and lifting weights?”. This isn’t easy for many people as your body’s natural circadian rhythm is interfered with. 

It takes some time to get acclimated to a night shift, but it is possible to balance working nights with a regular gym schedule. This article will aim to be an informative read and a good guide to help people in this situation. 

How Can You Balance Working Night Shifts And Lifting Weights?

There are various approaches you can take to balance working night shifts with lifting weights. What I would do if I was in this situation would be to train straight after the shift.

In order to do this successfully long term you would have to ensure that you are getting in a good flow of quality nutrients during your night shift. This may not be possible for some people.

The other option is more common. You would eat a quality meal after your night shift and then sleep for 7-8 hours. You would then eat again upon waking up and get ready for your workout.

Both approaches can work successfully. The key is to pay special attention to your sleep. It is not as easy to sleep during the day and you will have to find ways to make this easier. 

Sleep Before Training

For most people, sleeping after their night shift will be imperative. They simply won’t have the energy to go straight to the gym after their shift.

If you are going to sleep first, I would advise sleeping for at least 7 hours. Ensure that you get in a quality meal before bed. A good source of protein and carbs and some veggies would be ideal.

After sleeping you should have a meal before going to the gym. An omelette would be a good choice with some fruit. By sleeping before training you will find that you have more energy when you arrive at the gym.

Training Straight After A Night Shift

The option that I would choose in this situation is to train straight after the night shift. By doing this you get the workout out of the way and can go to sleep afterwards.

Not everyone will have the energy to do this though. If you fuel yourself with the right nutrients during your night shift, this option will become more feasible.

If you are able to get in some good nutrition during your shift then I would advise this option.

It is akin to the scenario that people who work a regular day shift encounter. Some people prefer to train straight after work, others go to the gym before work. In the end it is a personal preference.

How To Get Adequate Rest After A Night Shift

This is the biggest talking point when it comes to this topic. Because you are sleeping during the day your body’s natural circadian rhythm is thrown out of kilter.

It is harder to get adequate and restful sleep when you are sleeping during the day. This is the big challenge that people who work a night shift face. One solution is to black out your room completely so that you can get more restful sleep during the day.

Another thing to consider is using blue light blocking glasses when sleeping. Blue light carries more energy and is of a shorter wavelength. Wearing blue light blocking glasses will hep you get more restful sleep.

This is a life saver for night shift workers and will ensure that they feel less groggy upon waking. Having more energy for work and for workouts will be a big positive.

Can Caffeine And Pre Workout Help?

Can caffeine and pre workout prove more useful for night shift workers? I would certainly say yes. Caffeine is relatively cheap in the form of pills and can really help to boost your energy during the day.

Pre workout is also a good pick me up to help to give you extra energy for your workouts. It is important to remember that quality sleep is always most important. There is no substitute for the energy that good quality sleep can give you.

Previously on this site I have discussed whether it is a good idea to use pre workout.

Can You Make Gains Working Night Shifts?

Where there is a will there is always a way. You can make very good gains whilst working night shifts, but it won’t be the most optimal.

You have to make the best of the situation that you find yourself in. Marc Lobliner from Tiger Fitness made a great video discussing this point.

Ultimately he says that bodybuilding shouldn’t be the primary focus of your life to the detriment of other things. Life can get in the way and everyone has their own problems.

You just have to navigate your way through as best as you can and that is all you can do. Marc also says that “bodybuilding is a privilege and not a right”. 

Final Thoughts

How can you balance working night shifts and lifting weights? It can be done, the key is to ensure that you get in adequate nutrition and quality sleep.

You need to be committed and be able to stay consistent with your training. It is not an optimal situation but you can make the best out of it. Good gains are possible with the right focus and approach.

If you work night shifts and want to share your story about how you balance training, please leave a comment below!

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training.

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