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Old 04-09-2013, 09:35 AM   #1
Matt Szluka
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Eating Properly On Night Shift

Hey all, I'm currently working the night shift as a police officer, 5 days a week, from midnight until 8AM. I'm finding it extremely difficult to eat properly on this schedule. During the night on shift, I just have no real desire to eat. About 6AM, I'll start to get hungry, so I might go grab a banana and plain bagel with some orange juice. Then when I get home at 830AM, I'll have a bowl of cereal in milk, some fresh fruit, and a Casein protein shake in whole milk. I sleep from 9AM until about 330PM, and I'll always wake up feeling awful.

That's only if I don't have court in the morning, which means I'll get home around noon, sleep until 530PM, then go to CF at 6 or 7PM. I usually CF 4-5 days a week in the evenings. I'll come home, eat a large dinner, then take a short nap before getting ready for shift.

Any ideas on how I can try to work my sleep schedule, eating, protein supplements, etc. so I can see some better gains? I'm currently 5'10", 155 lbs, with about 8% BF. My focus right now in CF is strength, strength, strength. I just don't feel like I'm taking in enough calories or protein to effectively build mass. I just can't get over how awful I feel at night on shift, and how I'm not hungry until about 6AM. It's hard to eat grilled chicken at 6-8AM, and I'm not a huge fan of eggs.

On my two days off I have no issues taking in 3500+ calories.

Thoughts? Anyone been successful in making large strength gains while working an awful schedule like this?
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:49 AM   #2
Matthew Swartz
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

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Originally Posted by Matt Szluka View Post
Hey all, I'm currently working the night shift as a police officer, 5 days a week, from midnight until 8AM. I'm finding it extremely difficult to eat properly on this schedule. During the night on shift, I just have no real desire to eat. About 6AM, I'll start to get hungry, so I might go grab a banana and plain bagel with some orange juice. Then when I get home at 830AM, I'll have a bowl of cereal in milk, some fresh fruit, and a Casein protein shake in whole milk. I sleep from 9AM until about 330PM, and I'll always wake up feeling awful.

That's only if I don't have court in the morning, which means I'll get home around noon, sleep until 530PM, then go to CF at 6 or 7PM. I usually CF 4-5 days a week in the evenings. I'll come home, eat a large dinner, then take a short nap before getting ready for shift.

Any ideas on how I can try to work my sleep schedule, eating, protein supplements, etc. so I can see some better gains? I'm currently 5'10", 155 lbs, with about 8% BF. My focus right now in CF is strength, strength, strength. I just don't feel like I'm taking in enough calories or protein to effectively build mass. I just can't get over how awful I feel at night on shift, and how I'm not hungry until about 6AM. It's hard to eat grilled chicken at 6-8AM, and I'm not a huge fan of eggs.

On my two days off I have no issues taking in 3500+ calories.

Thoughts? Anyone been successful in making large strength gains while working an awful schedule like this?
Basically, force yourself to eat. Since that is going to suck to do, try and get the most calorically dense foods you can find. Whole milk, rice, marbled meats, avocado, eggs, etc. If you're paleo and worried about the rice, then eat 2-3 sweet potatoes per 1/2 cup of rice you would have eaten (disgusting, but equivalent in terms of #'s). 5'10" @155# is SKINNY. EAT MOAR.

I have a friend working night shifts right now and placed 28th in the central east. Given, he's a freak of nature and eats jelly beans and drinks soda and snatches 275. Just saying its possible.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:00 AM   #3
Joey Shishineh
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

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Originally Posted by Matthew Swartz View Post
Basically, force yourself to eat. Since that is going to suck to do, try and get the most calorically dense foods you can find. Whole milk, rice, marbled meats, avocado, eggs, etc. If you're paleo and worried about the rice, then eat 2-3 sweet potatoes per 1/2 cup of rice you would have eaten (disgusting, but equivalent in terms of #'s). 5'10" @155# is SKINNY. EAT MOAR.

I have a friend working night shifts right now and placed 28th in the central east. Given, he's a freak of nature and eats jelly beans and drinks soda and snatches 275. Just saying its possible.
haters gna hate.

yeah and rich froning jr WODs 6x/day on only 2000 cals. oh and btw, he snatches 300# in tennis shoes. Just saying its possible.

edit: Seriously though, meal planning, prep, and crock pots will be your best friends.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:19 AM   #4
Matthew Swartz
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

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Originally Posted by Joey Shishineh View Post
haters gna hate.

yeah and rich froning jr WODs 6x/day on only 2000 cals. oh and btw, he snatches 300# in tennis shoes. Just saying its possible.

edit: Seriously though, meal planning, prep, and crock pots will be your best friends.
Yeah those.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:56 AM   #5
Milton Brisson
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

If you don't feel like eating, yet know that you should, finding the motivation to eat will be difficult, unless you pack something that you will enjoy.

Just about any pre-cooked meat tastes good eaten cold - cook up a ham, or burgers, or some chicken (eating chicken cold is better with BBQ sauce IMO) or bacon, maybe not steaks - those gotta be hot, and pack them. Bring and apple or two, or banana or whatever fruit you like for carbs.

I don't have to tell a cop on the nightshift this, but coffee is awesome!

Good luck, stay safe out there!
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
Matt Szluka
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

Oh trust me, I do coffee. But I try to keep it under control. I had been drinking Monster for about two weeks, but that stuff messes me up.

I'll try to grill up some meat and bring it in. I'll just have to force myself. You are right... 5'10" and 155# is skinny. Hence why I'm trying to build up.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:14 AM   #7
Adam Shreim
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

I used to grill 2-3 steaks (or chicken breasts) at a time. One for Dinner and the others for the next day's meals. Then I would put it in a tupperware and dump an entire can of veggies (drained) into it. Take a big bag of almonds with me and boom - eating with a ratio on the go. You will need a fridge (or big cooler with good ice packs) and microwave, though.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:52 PM   #8
Joseph Smyth
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

Honestly it's going to be hard to see any significant gains on that sleep cycle.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:24 PM   #9
Chad Smith
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

I work the exact same shift and you just have to force yourself to eat. There's no real way around it. Even if you don't *feel* hungry, eat anyway. I pack a big lunch and take leftovers from the night before (usually eat around 4am) I've been on this shift for 6 months and just started seriously strength training a few weeks ago and I've seen good gains so far. Even when I did Crossfit I still saw progress, so its possible as long as you eat enough and get enough rest (I heard the min you should try to get is 6 hours but more then that is always good)
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:20 AM   #10
Chris Jones
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Re: Eating Properly On Night Shift

i work 11p-8a so i know how you feel brother. Luckily i have no problem eating but heres how i do it, i structure it like a normal day if you didnt work at night. I get up around 9pm and eat dinner between 9:30-10. I eat a snack (apple and cheese or almonds) at 12am and then another meal at 2am. At 5am i have another small snack such as fruit and almond butter, or apple and cheese like the first snack, then when i get home i have "breakfast" around 8-9am and go hit the gym. Have a shake after the gym and get in the bed around 2.

You can still gain weight doing this and see gains in strength as i have done both. Good luck man, find some foods you like and stick with it!
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