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Dan Wolfe 02-04-2005 01:05 PM


This is my first post. I am looking for help, suggestions and guidance. I am 43 years old, male and work 2 jobs. I have 2 children and one on the way. My day job is as an attorney. I work at night at the FedEx Hub in Indianapolis (for the health insurance). I work at the hub Monday through Friday from approx. 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM. I usually get to bed around 4:30 to 5:00 AM. I get up around 8:30 to 9:30AM to work at my office and usually work until 6:00PM. After that it is dinner, time with the kids and grab an hour to hour and a half of sleep.

I am struggling with balancing all of this against working out. My night job involves a lot of lifting but not much cardiovascular effort. I have accepted that this schedule precludes a "regular" workout routine. I have to be very careful not to push things too far or I pay a pretty heavy price in fatigue.

Any suggestions regarding a workout schedule during the week? How much is enough or too much given the schedule?

Any suggestions for the weekend since that is my main time to worhout? What would be an optimal way to utilize those days? Can I get by on weekend workouts alone with some brief weekday workouts to keep from backsliding?

Any ideas for a weekend program? Ideas for the weekday workouts?

I have tried to keep up with the WOD but after a few days the build up of fatigue from the workouts and limited sleep seems to demand time off.

Anyone out there have a similar schedule and how do you deal with it?

I have been doing this for about 3 years now. I watch my diet and take a lot of supplements which does seem to help keep up with the pace.

Thanks for your time and input.

Larry Lindenman 02-04-2005 02:28 PM

Hope the end is in sight! Very admireable. I would think of bringing kettlebells, running shoes, power rings, a pull-up bar, jumprope, mini P-bars and a mat, to work (your day job) and get a 30 minute workout in during the day, and an additional few bouts of GTG. Ie. every time you leave your office, do 3 pullups or take a 10 minute KB break. You also have to have an exit stratagy from this existance or you are going to grind yourself and your relationships into the ground! On the weekends I'd throw a full WOD in. Good luck

Robert Wolf 02-04-2005 04:34 PM


I have to thank you...someone has it worse than I do! I can not add much to larry's great advice. You may need to keep training volume fairly low for a time to allow for more recovery.
Good luck!

Ron Nelson 02-04-2005 05:46 PM

Not much you can do when Larry hits it out of the park!!
My question is, what kind of suppliments are you taking to "keep you going?" My concern would be getting caught up in the "effects" of the suppliments when a good diet may do the trick, and do it even better.
If you are supplimenting outside of a good multi-vit and some fish oil, I'd be concerned.
I feel for your situation as a father of 4, also an attorney (practice out of the home, and very few cases), and a full time teacher/athletic director/coach, I'm pretty busy. I like the fat that you find time to spend with the kids each day. My dad worked himself into an early grave (39) and all I remember of him is coming home and passing out from exhaustion!
Follow Larry's advice and workout during the day, at the office. If you can, squeeze in a WOD; especially a high metabolic one. Good for lowering cortisol levels that you're likely building up with the hectic schedule.
As for those weekends, pick 2 WOD's that work areas of weakness or chippers that work everything. Then, go home and chase the kids around the house for extra cardio!
Good luck!! The board is here when you need us, so use it often when despair or boredom set in!!

Keith Wittenstein 02-04-2005 05:48 PM

Play with your kids. Make time with them fun and playful and get a little sweat in while you're at it.

It might not be WOD, but throwing the ball with them, running, biking maybe even some lifting is good for you and good for them. And you'll be a good dad to boot.

Maybe at night a grown up tabata workout with the wife. ;)

Keith Wittenstein 02-04-2005 06:14 PM

Let me expand on this topic a little more. I was having an interesting conversation with Lani from Crossfit and she reminded me that crossfit is a program for "Elite" athletes, the beauty of which is that it can and should be adapted to everybody. I train with some elite athletes and I train "like" some elite athletes, but the differences are obvious in terms of the performance.

When Dan, Ron and I went to law school and got jobs we made a choice that being an "Elite" athlete was not the top priority. When you add second jobs and families on top of that the priorities again shift and push "elite" athlete further down the list. That doesn't mean we can't be competitive and can't train hard and follow the protocol to the best of our abilities it means that when we have a choice between power rings and health insurance, health insurance wins.

Following the crossfit prescription of WODs, and zone diets and 3 days on 1 day off, and building your home gym is great and in an ideal world if you are seeking "elite" athleticism that is a great model to follow. For those of us that work 2 jobs and have other obligations, we can and should take it down a couple of notches. Maybe Workout of the Day becomes workout of the Week. That's not a crime. No you won't get the same results but you will get results. So maybe you can't follow the same calendar as everyone else. So what? The kind of mentality that draws many people to this program is also the mentality that is an all or nothing mentality. If I can't do it as prescribed, then screw it! However, that's just silly. If crossfit is really as good as it claims to be, then you should still make gains even if your schedule forces you to just do WODs on the weekends. It's not ideal, but then again, some of us aren't ideal athletes. We are just regular guys trying to find a way to get better.

You can still make some time here and there to do fun and challenging workouts. You can still work on fun bodyweight exercises. Maybe you can start going to gymnastics classes with your kids. Or maybe you need to just build yourself a small workout room where you can get away from everyone and have some time to just bang out some heavy lifts to releave the stress of it all.

Ron Nelson 02-05-2005 11:52 AM

Well said, Keith!!
Who knew us attorneys could be insightful and nice guys!!:biggrin:

Paul Theodorescu 02-05-2005 11:59 AM

Dan, training doesn't have to be structured to be productive. Run, jump, sprint, take the stairs whenever the opportunity presents itself. You'll get some cardio in and save time. I can't even fathom your situation. Best of luck!

Dan Wolfe 02-05-2005 09:18 PM


Thank you for the information, support and your time in responding.

Just a few responses and observations to the posts:

I did not mean to make my situation sound so grim. I like both of my jobs and am proud that I have a great family and work hard to provide for them. Working two drastically different jobs is almost like living dual lives. My schedule makes me aware of how much time I used to waste before all of this. It has also made me develop a tough mindset. If I wasted a lot of time dwelling on the negatives of my situation, I don't think I would be able to do it. Working at night at FedEx unloading freight from planes, I have seen hundreds of people come and go over the last three years. Many of them are the victims of their own negative attitudes. It really is a case of just doing it.

I don't have a short term exit strategy. I work at FedEx for the Health Insurance and benefits so my Wife is able to stay at home with our children. When all of the kids are in school, she will go back to work. Hopefully that will end the need for me to punch two clocks. That is a few years away.

Keith's post regarding choices and balance in life was very insightful. I have often been a victim of the mindset that it does no good to work out at all if you don't do it full tilt. That is something I have to work on and one of the things that drew me to Crossfit in the first place. The workouts were brief but very effective. I was able to work out for a short time but knew I had gone as hard as I needed.

Does anyone out there have much experiance following weekend only workouts? My night job is physically demanding and I have been taking breaks during the weekdays to do bodyweight exercises. If I lift and do workouts on the weekends does it make sense to have it be more structured because of the lapse of time between workouts? I understand that varying the stress on the body by doing diffrenet workouts is a principle of crossfit but I wonder if I need to stay to a more structured program on the weekends.

With regard to supplements- I take a Multi, C,E,CoQ10,B complex, L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-carintine, magnesium, Flax/Borage/Fish oil combo, Calcium, chromium and drink a lot of green tea. On some desperate occasions when I am running on 2 or 3 hours of sleep, I may take one of the "natural herbal energy enhancers" but I don't make it a habit.

I do have the luxury of having my law office in a seperate building on my property. My workout stuff is there too. I think I will start doing some brief heavy lifting during the weekdays in addition to some bodyweight exercises.

My main quandry is figuring out what is the most effective- and realistic- workout program for the weekend. Should I just pick two of the week's WOD and do them or should I rotate through some of the standard workouts so that I have more consistency?


Any examples of a high metabolic workout to lower Cortisol levels? Any sources of information to look at?

Thanks again to all of you for your time and input. I'm glad I posted!

Dan Wolfe

Keith Wittenstein 02-06-2005 07:01 AM

I don't think your circumstances sound dire or grim. I think it's commendable that you are putting in the hours to support the family. I think it's great. I would get yourself a pvc pipe and practice your oly lifts on workbreaks. I think I am going to have to do that myself because I feel like that is one of the things that needs consistant practice and I feel that even though I am improving slowly with my efforts once or twice a week. I think daily work with the pvc pipe would benefit me greatly. I dare say that's true for everyone.

Also Grease The Groove type training during the week is perfect for the man on the go. Doing pullups and HSPU throughout the day can only pay dividends in the long run. I was reading an article about pullups and the guy greased the groove during the week and tried to bang out a set of max reps on the weekends.

On the weekends I would just pick two of the WODs and do them. And if you have time work a lot of new skills or do some oly lifts.

Best of luck, Dan. Keep us posted.

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