How To Work Out If You Have A Physically Demanding Job

I received a question from a Musa today, which I thought some of you might find helpful.

Here’s Musa’s Question

Hi Garry I recently started working at a warehouse that contains a lot of lifting heavy boxes. At lunch time I crave for an energy drink or other sugary foods. I wanted to know is it because I’m working too hard and it increases stress hormone and I’m also on your Chest Sculpting Blueprint 12 week program would this type of work affect it. Please get back to me.

Thank you?

My Reply

Hi Musa

A physically demanding job does complicate things, because there's more of a chance you'll be overtraining with your workouts. Pay attention to your body for signs of overtraining, here's a list of overtraining signs and symptoms:

If you feel you are overtraining, then I suggest you reduce the volume of your Chest Sculpting Blueprint workouts. You might, say train just 2 days a week, or do two sets or even one set per exercise instead of three sets.

Over time your body will get used to your level of activity at work, and you can then increase the volume of your workouts to the level suggested in the book.

If you want to reduce body fat, it's best not to give in to the sugar cravings. If you don't, your body will release growth hormone, which will burn fat, and your body will use that fat for fuel. Over time your sugar cravings will go away as your body becomes more efficient at burning fat for fuel.

If you MUST give in to your sugar cravings, at the very least, eat something healthy like a piece of fruit, rather than chocolate, a soda, or one of those energy drinks. Usually, a craving for sugar is just as much a craving for nutrients, and a piece of fruit will serve both needs, while junk like chocolate, sodas, and energy drinks only serve the need for sugar, which is an almost surefire path to disease, obesity, and man boobs.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes,


Extra Notes

Musa’s situation with a new physically demanding job is similar to my situation when I started training in the grappling martial art, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

When I first started my BJJ training, my BJJ training was so intense that I was always in a state of overtraining, regardless of whether or not I was doing any resistance training.

However, the good thing about having a physically demanding job, or starting something else that’s physically demanding, like BJJ, is that over time your body gets used to it and you no longer find yourself overtraining, to the extent that you can put in a full three-day-a-week whole body resistance training program, and still not overtrain.

This happens because of two changes that take place in your body:

1. You get stronger and become fitter so you’re better at handing that physically demanding job or activity.

If you are lifting boxes at work, those boxes aren’t getting any heavier with time, but your muscles are getting bigger and stronger and your heart and lungs are becoming more efficient. When this happens, your body is much more capable at being able to exert, say, 500 calories of effort per hour at work.

If you're into cars, here's an analogy. I drive a lowly 2004 Honda Civic with 108 break horse power. My girlfriend has a 2009 Mercedes Benz with 153 break horse power. When I try to accelerate to overtake someone in my Honda, or when I'm driving over 70 miles per hour, I can feel my car working really hard to the point where I'm afraid the engine might eventually give out. In my girlfriend's Merc on the other hand, the same rate of acceleration to overtake someone is a breeze. I can easily go at 100 miles per hour and it doesn't feel like the car is even trying.

When your muscles are bigger and stronger, and your heart and lungs more efficient, doing the same level of activity at work will be a lot easier.

2. You become more efficient at those actions.

Your body has this great ability to become more efficient at things you do repeatedly. If you are lifting boxes, your body activates and strengthens neural pathways that make you more efficient at lifting those boxes. When this happens, you no longer have to burn so many calories per hour at work. Where on your first day at work you might have been burning 500 calories per hour at work, a few weeks or months later you might only be burning 250 calories per hour.

The best example of this I can think of is in BJJ. The first time you learn a new move, you’re moving your whole body like crazy, trying to get that move to work. A newbie will be totally out of breath just trying out that move one time. But when you watch a black belt do that same move, it seems like it was effortless. He can do the move 10 times and not be out of breath. This isn’t only because the black belt is stronger and fitter than the newbie, it’s more because his years of training have made him super-efficient at doing that move. He can pull off the same move by activating fewer muscle groups and using less strength than the newbie.

So there's a double-whammy effect at play here. Not only do you become more capable of exerting the same amount of energy, you also become more efficient so you can do the same amount of work with less energy.

The bottom line: if you’ve started a new physically demanding job or activity and it feels like too much work to do any extra resistance training or HIIT, think about either reducing your volume of training for now, or even quitting your training altogether, while waiting for your body to get USED TO your new job/activity. Once the job/activity starts to feel easier, start training and you’ll find the new strength and fitness from your training makes your job/activity easier still, thereby boosting your quality of life.

I hope you found that helpful.

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