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Staying In Shape vs. a Busy IT Job Schedule? 865

Posted by timothy
from the no-not-the-regular-hacker's-diet dept.
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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Staying In Shape vs. a Busy IT Job Schedule?

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  • by acon1modm (1009947) * on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:23PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by acon1modm (1009947) *
      Also...

      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.

      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:37PM (#28547863) Journal

        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.

        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:07PM (#28548475) Homepage

          Fiber will flush calories.

          This is something that a lot of people don't seem to know about when they say, "More calories will add more weight if you don't burn them." Your digestive system isn't 100% efficient, and the human body will, at times, dump excess calories.

          So in effect, your body is capable of saying, "I have enough food for now, so I'm going to poop out the rest." Some bodies seem to do this more readily than others, and science doesn't yet know all the factors. It could be genetics, emotional state, the kind of bacteria living in your gut, or what you're eating rather than how much you're eating.

          But the point is, yes, someone else can have the same diet and exercise routine as you have, and still weigh a very different amount.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by sexconker (1179573)

            "Dump" being the operative word.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sarkeizen (106737)

            True your digestive system isn't 100% efficient which is why you have waste products. However you seem to be implying that this means that everyone does this at significantly different rates. I.e. Given a group of people with identical diets (or possibly simple caloric value) and identical energy expenditures will have an inefficiency that is significantly different. i.e One person absorbs only 60% of what would normally be the bioavailable calories.

            Two things:

            a) One doesn't imply the other - people ca

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by nine-times (778537)

              One doesn't imply the other - people can be inefficient but within a small margin.

              I wasn't using one to imply the other, I was stating both as true. Now, I don't have any scientific studies on hand to show that either is true, but I have read about studies into this, besides having observed anecdotal evidence of my own.

              If there was really a significant variance - it would show up in a bunch of places

              Yeah, and it does. It shows up all over the place where there are people who are rather strict about their diet and are still heavier than others who overeat. It even happens for particular people over time-- someone who's thin at 20 eating whatever he wants may need to

      • Re: Mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:50PM (#28548141)

        There is no mystery to weight loss. Turn in your geek card if you believe you spontaneously gain weight while eating less than your energy requirements.

        3500 kcal (aka Calories) above or below your your BMR + activity level corresponds to 1 pound gained or lost, respectively.

        If you're 30 years old and 5'10" at 200 pounds, with a sedentary lifestyle, then your BMR is about 2000 kcal/day, and your activity level brings that to about 2400 kcal/day. If you eat 100 kcal/day more, you'll gain a pound in about a month, but if you eat 100 kcal/day less (or just run 3.5 miles/week), then you'll lose a pound in a month. If you do light exercise a couple times/week, you'll probably burn about 2750kcal/day and lose 3 pounds/month.

        That feeling you get that you're "starving" yourself is a product of the fact that you've conditioned yourself to eat when you feel stressed. Learn to tell the difference in hunger and stress. Drink lots of water, take your vitamins, and get plenty of fiber. Focus on eating "filling" foods with little caloric value.

        I'll leave it as an exercise of geekdom for you to figure out the rest. You have to earn back your geek card, OP.

        • Re: Mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

          by vlm (69642) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:26PM (#28548835)

          That feeling you get that you're "starving" yourself is a product of the fact that you've conditioned yourself to eat when you feel stressed.

          Actually, its a very common symptom of type2 diabetes, along with dehydration that gets worse when you drink sugar-soda, thirsty all the time, tired out, heavy central body buildup of fat, perhaps you have foot problems to some extent, etc... Conveniently the treatment for type2 boils down to lower carb diet, exercise, and lose some weight, at least at the start, which seems to be the treatment plan everyone else is suggesting for merely being fat. There are of course expensive pills that may or may not help you, but would absolutely make someone a lot of money.

          Needless to say I'm not a (medical) doctor, although I can diagnose that anyone asking for medical advice on slashdot is obviously showing clinical indications of mental insanity. A MD can quickly and trivially check your blood sugar levels to either prove this or rule it out, more or less. Probably worth checking out. Probably a good idea to visit your MD before beginning an exercise routine anyway.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by GameMaster (148118)

          A true geek would know that anything like BMR (such as BMI) is based on a statistically calculated average value. In this case, the BMR is based on the 3500 kcal value which is calculated based on what experimental results show to be the metabolism of the average person. The problem is that not everyone is even close to that average value. There will always be people that stray towards the extremes of humanly possible values. People with hypoglycemia can eat like crazy and never gain weight. People tha

      • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:14PM (#28548613) Homepage
        I agree dieting is as simple as counting calories.

        (Calories Eaten - Calories burned)/3500 = weight change [lbs]

        figure out how many calories you burn in a typical day, and eat less than that, the amount less than that you eat will determine how fast you lose weight.

        I put on A LOT of weight when I first started working in IT and I was busy enough that I rarely made it to the gym. I THOUGHT I was eating less, and eating healthy and even tried all kinds of stupid diets that never seemed to get me anywhere. About 4 months ago I decided to look for a diet that was specifically tailored to a programmer's lifestyle (I figured there are enough smart people out there that someone must have come up with something) After about 2 minutes of searching I found The Hackers Diet [fourmilab.ch]. I read it and it made a lot of common sense... I decided to try it. and so far I've lost 35 lbs and I haven't set foot in a gym since I started.

        in short it's just calorie counting in a way that makes good logical sense... I don't even follow the diet plan that closely, I weight myself every day so I can plot my change, and the first week I took a closer look at how many calories the foods I typically eat contain. The first few days I had some crazy hunger pains but after that I don't feel hungry anymore than usual and I the only time I even really think about how many calories I'm eating is when I break away from my normal daily eating habits (ie: family BBQ, or a party, etc.) and even then I just make a rough guess and eat a little less during my meals earlier in the day.

        I still go out for ice cream, have pizza at lunch, etc. I just keep a mental tally of roughtly how many calories I'm taking in so I can adjust my other meals accordingly...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dasunt (249686)

          I agree dieting is as simple as counting calories.

          (Calories Eaten - Calories burned)/3500 = weight change [lbs]

          figure out how many calories you burn in a typical day, and eat less than that, the amount less than that you eat will determine how fast you lose weight.

          For me, it doesn't always work that way.

          Below a certain point, my body decides that instead of getting the missing 3500 calories from burning fat, it would rather decrease my metabolism. Drastically, if necessary. I'm still losing small amounts

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Knara (9377)

            Sounds like you need to increase your energy expenditure more, to me. As you say, unless you go anorexic, decreasing caloric intake only goes so far.

        • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:19PM (#28549929)

          This is so true. I too have an incredibly long sedentary job stuck behind a desk.

          While metabolism does adjust based upon various factors, which alters how efficiently you burn calories (as opposed to flushing them out) the body is remarkably efficient; if you can digest it (i.e. not fibre), you will either burn it or store it. If you can't adjust how much you burn by substantial exercise, then the answer is to reduce how much goes in at the front end. Most people, like myself, who think they have a slow metabolism simply don't realise how much they eat.

          Lets say you do an hour of moderate exercise in the gym a day; that's maybe 500-700 calories. If you work really really hard, that's 1000, absolute tops. 500 calories is the difference between a medium meal and a big meal; or a couple of cans of energy drink. Or a slice of cake. Or even just little snacks between meals. 130 calories a day over how much you expend (a can of coke), and that's 14 pounds weight gain a year.

          I've read the hackers diet and it's good advice for guys like us. I've started counting how much I eat. You know what? I massively underestimated how much I was really eating. All the little stuff really mounts up. Even when I thought I was being good, I wasn't.
          So now I count my calories (reasonably roughly) mainyl by weighing my food when I'm cooking it. I've cut down my portions by around 30% - which sounds like a lot, but honestly isn't considering I was eating past when I was full. I've substituted my crap snacks with fruit, and cut out the sweets, second portions, junk food and normal desserts. I record my weight daily on physicsdiet [physicsdiet.com] (which has a nice smoothing function for when you go up or down a few pounds due to water weight - it shows the overall trend very nicely)

          I still have three proper meals a day, and even have low-calorie desserts. I can put my hand on my heart, and honestly say I do not feel hungry. I'm eating 1700-odd calories a day, which is about half of what I'm expending. I don't go to the gym, and have only slightly increased how much exercise I do - parking at the far end of the carpark and walking the extra two minutes, a short stroll at lunch, that sort of thing.

          Going by the scales, I've lost 21 pounds in 6 weeks. According to the bodyfat it's almost entirely fat. I'm under 280 pounds for the first time in years. I can certainly wear trousers I haven't been able to wear for years. I've lost 4" off my waist. While I may not look much different, I do feel better - I certainly never feel starved. I'm going to try to fit some time in the gym a few days a week, but that will be in addition to the 1700 calories I'm already dieting.

          So my advice to you, original tnok85 - estimate how much you eat in a day. Then keep a food diary, and record how much you eat, in full detail. Record your weight daily on physicsdiet (which is basically an online version of the hackers diet spreadsheets), or even just in excel. I bet you'll be surprised at the difference between what you think you eat, and what you do eat.

          Then work out how many calories you'd likely spend in the gym, and see if you can cut that from your diet with low hanging fruit - the no-S [nosdiet.com] diet may help here. Keep recording your weight daily. And see how you go.

          Me? I'm going to lose all this weight I've put on in 20 years through inattention, whether it takes 6 months, a year or 3 years. I'm likely going to have to keep a close eye on how much I cook, and weigh myself regularly for life. But the diet? It's not a diet. I'm just eating like a normal healthy person, instead of a normal healthy person who eats big meals and has the odd slice of cake.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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.

    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:29PM (#28547665) Homepage Journal
      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.

    • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:40PM (#28547951) Journal

      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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rawr_one (1474675)
        You're ignoring the significant health risks, though. It is simply not healthy for him to be working that much and working out any significant amount of time each day. He can do one or the other, and he has to make a choice. Otherwise he will just be grinding away years of his life.
        • by mike260 (224212) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:04PM (#28548401)

          Disagree. His job (the hours in particular) sounds stressful, and if stress by itself is ungood then it's doubleplusungood if you're not getting any exercise. Recipe for an early grave, basically.

        • by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:36PM (#28549061) Homepage

          12 hour work days + 1 hour of exercise basically describes my entire time in the military, and I was never in better shape or felt better. I'm pretty sure I've shaved more off of my life expectancy as an 8 hour desk jockey and couch potato in the years since.

          It's pretty much like the First Post'er said: Either you make time, or you don't. The OP said he can't get up early or work out before bed, which is nonsense. Everybody's a little different, but I found that I actually needed less sleep, slept more soundly, and felt more refreshed in the morning, when I exercised regularly, particularly when I did so shortly before bedtime. Exhausting my body also helped to keep it more in sync with my mental state, whereas after an 8 hour day I can feel mentally drained, but not get sleepy for hours after a normal bedtime.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm as lazy as anyone, and I will probably go home tonight and do some 12 ounce curls on the couch instead of hitting the weights or going for a run, but I know that's a choice I make every day. On the other hand, maybe I've just talked myself into making better choices.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by lawpoop (604919)

            The OP said he can't get up early or work out before bed, which is nonsense. Everybody's a little different, but I found that I actually needed less sleep, slept more soundly, and felt more refreshed in the morning, when I exercised regularly, particularly when I did so shortly before bedtime. Exhausting my body also helped to keep it more in sync with my mental state, whereas after an 8 hour day I can feel mentally drained, but not get sleepy for hours after a normal bedtime.

            I get migraine headaches if I wake up before 7 AM. I have a regular headache, all day, if I wake up before 8 AM.

            I'm a night owl, and my period of peak alertness and energy is 10PM to 2AM. I can exercise and do any chore at that time, and it doesn't feel taxing or draining at all. You sound like you might be a morning lark.

            I've tried for 10 years ( the 10 years since I was 18, had control of my life and schedule ) to "buck up" , discipline myself, stop being a complainer, and all that other bullshit. It

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mstroeck (411799)

          That's bullshit. That's just not how it works.

          -) If he begins to work out, he will start to sleep way better almost immediately, very probably more than making up for the hour of sleep he might lose.

          -)If he keeps at it, his resting heart-rate (along with recovery time, triglycerides, and many other things) will go down significantly, while his musculature and nervous system will get more efficient. His breathing will get deeper and more relaxed which again positively affects heart rate and the autonomous ne

      • by torkus (1133985) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:05PM (#28548427)

        Actually I'm going to have to strongly disagree with the content, though the idea is on the right track. You do need to stick to it, get over the initial 'oh this hurts/sucks', and not make excuses why you're too tired/busy/etc.

        That said...
        Cardio is the WORST way to work out - especially in this situation. Cardio trains your body to efficiently use calories (how else can a person run 20+ miles or 4-5 hours straight). In this situation you do NOT want that. You get the short-term benefits while you're running than then nothing else. In the end it actually works against you. To use an extreme example - take someone an anorexic that eats less than 1000 calories a day yet runs on a treadmill for 2 hours a day. The raw math seems impossible but yet there are people who do this for years. (unhealthy, extreme example but it does make a point).

        *however* 30-40 minutes a few times a week *IS* all you need. Replace that job with weight training every 2-3 days. You don't have to compete with the bench-pressing muscle heads but if you do the math, lifting 100lbs from floor to above your head takes a LOT of energy. And your body can build muscle to make it easier, but all the muscle in the world does not lessen the amount of work it takes to lift that weight. PLUS (and this is HUGE for sedentary people) your body needs to recover from lifting those weights. It needs to rebuild the micro-tears in your muscle (which, btw, is how you build more muscle too) and that takes MORE energy over the next 1-2 days. So if you have a good muscle training session you're metabolism is elevated for a DAY OR TWO AFTER your work-out. Cardio? Meh. Hardly a few hours later and your metabolism is back to where you started. In addition, you don't need a big set of weights. A couple dumbells, a step, and a yoga ball (while kinda gay) can give you a shockingly difficult workout.

        If you're the type who likes to run then skip jogging. Alternate sprints (as fast as you can for 15-60 seconds) with walking to recover (easy pace to partially recover heart rate for 30-60 sec). This will, of course, vary greatly from person to person but it helps avoid training your body to use minimal calories over long-term but low impact work.

        An equal body weight that's mostly muscle mass will burn significantly more calories than one that's largely fat.

        Oh, and yes - drink water not soda. Avoid junk food as much as you can and go for protein over sugar. A bag of peanuts is WAY better than a pack of MnM's even if the calories say differently.

      • 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.

        Jesus fucking christ. The attitude of some fitness nuts frightens me sometimes.

        You do not, do not, do not need to waste 45 minutes of every day working up a sweat and sore muscles if you just want to stay "in shape". If you're looking to win some medal, then yes, but be prepared to deal with the after effects of such extreme exercise in later life.

        If you want to stay in shape, you just have to cut down on junk food and get an outdoor hobby that keeps you mobile for an hour or so on the weekends. Swimming, soccer, cycling, jogging, gardening. That's all most people will ever need. These health nuts who spend who torture themselves daily, spend weekends doing yoga or karate and who subsist on treebark and goat's milk are not some physical ideal everyone should aspire to!

        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.

        What the fuck?! Going for a walk in the woods is actually fun in my experience. You get great views from the top of hills too. Sailing? Maybe you could try horse riding, I don't know. The point is, if exercise isn't fun, then no one in their right mind will keep it up. You have to find an activity that keeps you healthy, not a penance.

    • You may also want to look at this:

      http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/can-you-get-fit-in-six-minutes-a-week/?em [nytimes.com]

      Even 6 minutes a week, with the breaks described and the equipment, may be more than is possible for you. But you're going to need to find some kind of optimization obviously.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rgviza (1303161)

      LOL Yep. Dude if your personal fitness is a priority, get a new job. I used to work like that. It's not worth it. It will lead to an early death. I found a job that pays a little less where I work 40 hours a week. I work out 2 hours a day, 4-5 times a week.

      You need to figure out what you want. Working 60 hours a week is completely fucked and not worth your health. If you think they won't hesitate to lay you off you are sadly mistaken. So why should you be loyal to them? Hard work and dedication buys you _no

  • CrossFit (Score:4, Informative)

    by Officer Friendly (1002686) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:24PM (#28547563)
    http://www.crossfit.com/ [crossfit.com] - works very well and can be done almost anywhere with little or no equipment.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:24PM (#28547569)

    Get a treadmill for a desk. [treadmill-desk.com]

    • by cabjf (710106)
      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.
      • 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.

    • by qoncept (599709) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:34PM (#28547783) Homepage

      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.
    • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecransNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:50PM (#28548145) Homepage

      I have been working night shift in a NOC lately, myself. Deep into my 12 hour shifts, there is almost nobody in the building, so I can do laps. I carry my blackberry which will yell if I actually have to respond to an outage. I'm never more than 30 seconds away from my desk while I do laps. It's also easy to do jumping jacks, pushups and situps while with line of sight to my desk. Add in the occasional jumping jacks, and I'm oddly enough probably getting myself in better shape since having started this schedule. Go figure.

      Of course, there is also the days off. I could theretically use those for excercise. I used to be in the habit of jogging when I had a working iPod because I could listen to education audio books while I ran. Now I can be at work while I run. I think I feel silly if the only thing I'm doing is running. As much as I know it is important, I don't really feel it is an accomplishment on its own.

      Also, be careful with what you eat. Quantity is obviously a concern, but quality is a huge factor as well. On this schedule, I never really have time to cook the days that I work. The result is that I eat more burgers than would be ideal since that's the most convenient thing. When I'm at work, I often microwave frozen TV dinners or cans of soup with enough sodium to preserve an elephant. I'm trying to make a point of sticking to fruit juice instead of energy drinks, making the TV dinners the 'healthy' option, and at least squeezing in enough time to eat something better than a burger on my way home from work.

  • 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.
  • Walk (Score:4, Informative)

    by scubamage (727538) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:25PM (#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.
  • In a bind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by riceboy50 (631755) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:26PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by halsver (885120) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:36PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mcgrew (92797)

      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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:26PM (#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.

  • Madness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hibiki_r (649814) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:27PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tnk1 (899206)

      Note to OP: Start looking for a new job now.

      I worked a shift like that, for a couple of years. Luckily I lived close by, but it was enough.even with that. I gained like 10-15 pounds, I was as bored as shit, and really had few opportunities to do anything. Happily, I was anything but fat to begin with, so I didn't blimp up, but I am still living with the extra weight years later.

      For my part, I took the job because I was younger, less experienced, and they had rate cuts at the old place which were likely

    • Re:Madness (Score:5, Funny)

      by pjabardo (977600) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:40PM (#28549145)
      With his kind of life, cutting years off his life is an advantage!!!
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:28PM (#28547631) Homepage Journal

    Try it.

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

  • 2 solutions (Score:5, Informative)

    by WilyCoder (736280) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:29PM (#28547655)

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

    -get a new job

    -move closer to your existing job.

  • by VeeCee (693453) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:29PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:30PM (#28547679) Journal

    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.

    • Waaay too much. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zippthorne (748122) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:13PM (#28548591) Journal

      With the schedule he's laid out, he barely has enough time to sleep. By my count, he's got just one hour a day to prepare meals, read a book, date...

      You're going to get fat and lonely with a schedule like that, and the loneliness is only going to make you fatter as you try to fill the void with food, and the kind of food you'll have access to with only an hour to prepare and eat is not going to be very slimming, even if you use peapod.

      If he can't change the 12-hour days, at least get a small apartment near the business, or even on premises. I guarantee that a company of any decent size is going to have an executive apartment somewhere that goes mostly unused. Even if he has to clear out half the time, that's still saving three hours of commute on every evening he can avoid going home. That's three hours you could be cooking, relaxing, working out, working out with a partner, keeping up on professional development, getting drunk, learning to sing... the list is literally endless.

      Check the classified ads, also. Sometimes people are looking to rent a room, and the price is therefore pretty good (well, crappy for the sq. footage, but fine for "a place to get some sack time") They'll love you, because you won't even be around half the time, let alone making noise or commotion. Obviously, you need to be careful there, but it's not like you just start renting without even meeting the people first.

  • by mcgrew (92797)

    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.

  • by modi123 (750470) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:31PM (#28547695) Homepage Journal
    If you are looking for some basic things the 100 pushups [hundredpushups.com], 200 squats [twohundredsquats.com], and 200 situps [twohundredsitups.com] 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.
  • 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
  • Watch what you eat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Albanach (527650) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:31PM (#28547709) Homepage

    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.

  • by MikeRT (947531)

    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 an

  • 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 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JerryLove (1158461) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:32PM (#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.

  • Somebody already mentioned CrossFit [crossfit.com], which I've been considering doing. But then I also came across this very interesting [nytimes.com] 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.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:33PM (#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.

  • NOt rocket Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobertNotBob (597987) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:33PM (#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)

  • Self defeating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pagey123 (1278182) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:34PM (#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.

  • 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 m

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:35PM (#28547793)

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

  • 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.
  • by axjms (167179) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:35PM (#28547801) Homepage

    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.

  • Cycling to work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:39PM (#28547921) Journal

    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.

  • One word... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:39PM (#28547933)

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

  • by MetricT (128876) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:43PM (#28547983) Homepage

    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.

  • Move or Die (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bloodstar (866306) <blood_star@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:48PM (#28548109) Journal
    But "Move or Die" can mean many things. First you can move your body: exercising in the simplest ways. Walk a mile when things are slow. If you have time to do push ups and sits ups at work, then you have time to walk as well. Work out every day you aren't at work. Accept that your life is about Work and working out and that you don't have time for anything else. If something else is getting in the way of working out, then accept that working out isn't important enough. unless you're willing to do the second or third move.

    Next "Move where you work": you have to decide if you wish to continue working at a company that appears to have no concern about your physical or mental health and well being. The Company may not care if you're burned out and dying from heart disease in 20 years, but you should be. If you can't do the first or third "Move" you have to decide if the loss of physical health is worth the financial compensation you get.

    Finally: "Move where you live": If the first two options aren't viable, then perhaps you should consider that a 90 minute commute is insane under these circumstances. I personally have an hour commute after a 9 hour day. And I'm seriously considering moving much closer. If you're in a house that's devalued because of the economy, then it sucks, but you have to decide if the financial hit you take from moving (and remember, you'll save a ton on gas every month not driving that 100+ mile trip every day).

    In the end if your health is that important for you, you'll have to figure out what sort of move you want to make, and if none of them are viable, then accept you'll be slowly dying until you change your mind.
  • by aitala (111068) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:02PM (#28548347) Homepage

    Bicycle + generator + power cables + workstation = full shift work out...

    Eric

  • Wii Fit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dark_requiem (806308) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:10PM (#28548551)
    Seriously, I bought this thing when it first came out, and I lost 20 pounds in a couple months. I know it seems silly to think that such a non-game will hold your attention and keep you working out, but if you have a desire to work out and lose weight, it will help. If you don't really have an interest in working out, it probably won't hold your attention long. But if you do, it will teach you some basic workouts, and the videogame-esque style may give you that extra ambition to get to it.
  • Easy way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tiro (19535) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:11PM (#28548561) Journal
    The easiest way to avoid gaining fat is to decrease insulin production by avoiding carbs; no bread, pasta, or sugars other than those naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. Then, eat more legumes and greens.
  • EAT LESS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:16PM (#28548659) Homepage

    Jesus Christ. And I definitely have the problem too so I am not pointing fingers at "everyone else but me." It is HARD to eat less, especially as you get older. I used to shut down pizza buffet restaurants in my 20s. But when I hit my 30s, things started to change and I should have paid closer attention but the change was gradual. So while I continued to eat the amounts and types of foods I was accustomed to, my body was changing the way it handles things.

    Initially I compensated by placing a weight bench next to my bed. Every morning after waking up, I would almost literally roll over onto the bench and start doing reps. The results were good. Not only did I wake up better getting the heart moving and being more alert, but immediately following that, I took my morning shower and was fresh as anything without any serious interruption of my morning schedule. That didn't last long after I got married. A weight bench in the bedroom did not go over well. But let's face it; if it wasn't for being convenient, I NEVER would have done it in the first place.

    So now, I simply make a concerted effort to eat LESS. And believe me, it is HARD. For those who know what "Whataburger" is, who could say no to a double-double with bacon? NOT ME!! That is a hard habit to break let me tell you. But my body reminds me a lot lately when I am overeating -- I get FULL and uncomfortable... but that is only because I am actually making the effort to eat less and my stomach has literally shrunk allowing less food at any one time.

    Changing habits is a really hard thing to do, especially when it's something as pleasurable as food. But that's what it means to be human -- smart enough to know better. Just make the effort to eat less. Just do it.

  • by Provocateur (133110) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:40PM (#28549133) Homepage

    ...where there normally isnt. For some people, it's just a kitchen, but to a workout freak like me, I practice the refrigerator door pull, about 3 sets of 12 reps each, burn those calories. Open the door, you think it's just a 6 pack, but each one in that pack for the workout fanatic, means a hectic fast paced 24oz wrist curl for each wrist, about 3 sets of 12 reps each. Practice restraint by tensing the muscles to prevent unnecessary rushed gulping. You get the idea; just take another look around at the house...

  • by hackus (159037) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:13PM (#28549817) Homepage

    I hope you have excellent health insurance because your going to need it.

    Otherwise, dump the 12 hour schedule and the job, and let some other poor sucker get heart disease or diabetes.

    Not only that, your skill sets are declining.

    When you go to a I.T. job you deal with the same equipment and same issues everyday. That is OK if you are just starting out, but if you are 2 years into the job, start looking for a different job once you get the idea of this one.

    After you get some experience start your own private practice and make your own time to exercise.

    I can't remember the last time I worked 12 hours, and if I did it was because of some disaster, or a boss that could not plan his time correctly, which I fired. (Got a different boss.) I usually work 10 hours with lunch.

    I hope to god you are only working like 4 day weeks as even blue collar people I know do not work those sorts of hours and you better be making huge amounts of cash.

    I bill out at $120 an hour right now for a typical 40-50 hour week.

    -Hack

  • by Kintanon (65528) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:29PM (#28550089) Homepage Journal

    Most of them are going to give you advice you can't implement. I understand where you're coming from and I can actually help you as long as you don't mind the possibility of looking slightly foolish at work.

    You work 12 hours a day. I know that you aren't continuously engaged in productive work. No one is. So start there. Every 3 hours take a 15 minute break and do the following:

    Set a timer for 5 minutes then do:
    100x Jumping Jacks
    50x Pushups
    50x Bodyweight Squats
    50x Leg Raises
    50x Crunches,
    50x Russian twists (Russian twist is going halfway up in a crunch, then turning left to right, each direction is one)

    When you first start out you will probably not finish this in 5 minutes. It doesn't matter. Stop at 5 minutes. Go get some water, walk around for 5 minutes and catch your breath.
    Now go eat an apple and a handful of peanuts or sunflower seeds or some other healthy snack.

    When you eat lunch eat a sandwhich, or a big salad, or a chicken breast, not a bigmac or a whole cheese pizza. Keep a GENERAL IDEA of how many calories you are eatting and keep it somewhere in the 1600-1700 range. You don't have to be precise here, just don't knock down the Triple Whopper and you should be ok.

    Do NOT drink sodas. You drink WATER. Nothing else. Vitamin Water or Life Water is acceptable, Powerade and Gatorade are not.

    Coffee is acceptable, but not recommended.

    Eat every 3 hours, a smallish meal, approximately 6 times a day. Your target is an average of 300 calories per meal, but it's flexible.

    And if you want to know what makes me qualified to give this advice and why you should listen to me:

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kintanon&search_type= [youtube.com]

  • by TheCage (309525) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:30PM (#28550097)

    You list about 10 disadvantages in your question. Why not focus on your advantages instead?

    - You have 2-3 days off per week (Great time to exercise!)
    - You work in an office (Every one I've been to has a fridge/microwave that can be used to store healthy foods).
    - You probably have a lot of down time at work (Why not do push ups or run around? I used to think this would look silly in the office until I realized that being fat looks far sillier and letting others determine my success was foolish.

    I bet you could list a lot more yourself, like maybe you really enjoy playing a certain sport

    You will NEVER be succeed with your current attitude.

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