Are you a tradesman? Is your busy day beginning to hold you back in the gym? Take these 5 simple steps to regain control!
1. Plan Ahead!
Are you under eating? Are you over eating? Don’t know? – monitor your weight, and increase or decrease calories respectively. If you know you a have a particularly demanding week ahead of you then consciously increase those portion sizes! Examples would include a week ahead of ground work or plastering. If you know you have an easier week ahead of you compared to normal then ease back on the calories and limit any potential fat gain…
2. Eat Smart?
Acknowledge you have a busy day and plan around it! Accept that you’re not going to get 5 hot portions of chicken and rice and then exploit that situation to the best of your ability!
If you know you can’t guarantee that you’re going to eat every 2-3 hours then take the pro active approach and eat in a way that minimises the damage. Opt for Protein Blends. Something that will provide an instant hit of protein, whilst also providing a slower digested protein to be absorbed in the period between now and your next meal.
Opt for Lean Red Meats (Salmon, Mince, Pork, Mackerell) – due to the higher levels of fats these proteins take a lot longer to break down in comparison to lean white meats. This results in a ‘blend’ like effect – a slow digestion protein with a high amino acid profile that will fuel your muscles and encourage growth.
3. Keep Anabolic!
Tradesman and builders have an incredibly active day! In most cases the typical tradesman will do more work in the first few hours of their day then the combined physical exertion of the typical office worker throughout his whole day (including his gym session). The is a credit to all those tradesman out there!
You need to fuel your day. You need to make sure that you consume enough energy (carbohydrates) to;
1. Provide all the energy you need to work
2. Have enough surplus energy to allow your muscles to prepare.
It’s not always going to be possible to have a hot meal. Where it is opt for quick, low GI solutions that don’t dent the wallet – packets of microwave rice or re-heated rice cooked the night previously are good options. Where only hot water is an option consider using Sport Kitchen QSMs; then all you have to do is take a flask with hot water. You can also look at batch cooking pasta, adding a little chopped spinach, garlic, and crushed almonds to make a tasty low GI, high fat meal that can be eaten cold.
4. Still feeling achey and lethargic?
As the age old saying goes… “There is no such thing as over training, just under eating”. To some extent I agree, but more often than not there is a lot more contributing to the ‘run down’ feeling than not taking on board enough quality calories.
Are you getting adequate sleep? Your body grows / repairs itself whilst you rest. Since your on the go all day you need to get the most ‘bang for your buck’ whilst you sleep. Whilst sleeping you move in and out of shallow and deep sleep. During periods of deep sleep (known as REM sleep) your body releases human growth hormone (HGH) – this is responsible for growth and repair. Supplementing with Vitamin B6, Zinc, and Magnesium is proven to assist deep sleep and encourage increased natural testosterone levels. These supplements are known more commonly as ZMA, ZMK products.
If you’re still feeling achey are you taking on board optimum amounts of Branched Chain Amino Acids? These are the building blocks of muscle. BCAA’s come in either pill or powder form. There are several flavoured powder forms on the market now that can be mixed up with water and drank throughout the day as a replacement to squash. Swapping your cans of fizzy pop for a flavoured BCAA will assist muscle growth and repair, whilst leaving you feeling less bloated – making it easier to cram in those good quality meals.
Persist and you will succeed. I empathise as any tradesman is on the go all day, every day – for this reason alone they probably have more in common with professional bodybuilders than most aspiring bodybuilders. The likes of Phil Heath, Jay Cutler or even strong men such as Mark Felix are used to the sacrifices of eating on the move, and regimentally sticking to a planned diet.
For those of you, who want the gains you deserve, PERSIST! Stick with your meal plan and make it work for you. Consider incorporating a mini cheat meal on a Wednesday to help keep moral high, and a second on a Friday / Saturday. In the long run you’re likely to do minimal damage through using 2 smaller cheat meals then you will through diverging from your diet several times a week to satisfy that craving you have!