Do You Even Lift Bro: A Tradesman’s Guide To Nutrition & Fitness

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Working as a tradesman has both its perks and downsides in terms of physical fitness. There are plenty of tradesmen that have never had to step foot in a gym and due to the physical demands of the job, are still able to keep a great physique. The muscle toning from lifting, carrying and other everyday tasks can go a lot further than an hour in the gym every day pulling weights.

However, there are also a number of problems that come with the physical demands of typical tradesman jobs. For a start, if you do like to go to the gym after work to improve other fitness areas, you may find that you are drained of energy. Or maybe you play for a sports team and find your energy levels are always low. Do you wish there was a better way to manage your body?

Another negative is that you can start to get injuries that may affect you not just now but also later on in life. Working outside for years can take its toll, and you’re likely to suffer from joint pains at some point. So, there are quite a few physical concerns when you work in this type of industry. That is why it is crucial that you have a good nutrition and fitness plan to keep yourself in peak condition.

Here are just a few tips that will help you to have a more balanced, nutricious and healthy, lifestyle:


plan ahead

Plan ahead

When you require a lot of energy on a regular basis for your work, the one thing you need to make sure you eat well and get the nutrition you need is to get organised. Schedule weekly grocery shopping days to get all the supplies you need. Invest in a cooler to keep your lunches fresh and cook meals with plenty of vegetables, and be sure to make extra food for your dinners in the evening, when you’re likely to have run out of steam!

It’s also important not to give into the temptation of greasy food – while it may seem like a quick fix when you’re up early in the morning or coming home late at night, because it’s so high in fat, it’s not very good for replenishing your energy stores. Fat takes a long time to digest (upwards of 6 hours) before it can be turned into usable energy. Though if you’re really struggling, grabbing an energy bar is a great way to give you a bit of a boost when you’re lagging.

protein | tradesman saver

Protein powder may not be enough to build muscle

Build muscle with a high energy diet

As most people know, building muscle requires some form of muscular training and eating foods enriched with adequate protein, whether its protein shakes, meats and/or legumes etc.

However it’s important to remember that you’re eating enough calories to make up for the high energy required to keep building muscle. Not only that, but high protein-based meals can often have a deficit of essential minerals and nutrients, so ensure that meals contain a healthy serving of varied vegetables and fruits. These are not only essential for building muscle efficiently, but protect other parts of your health like your brain, heart and immune systems.

You might think that a high calorie diet would impede muscular growth, but its really excess saturated fats, sugar and a lack of exercise which really inhibits muscle growth and cause you to pile on the pounds. So train hard, eat well, and see your body gradually transform that of a greek god.


pack meals the night before

Pack your meals the night before

While it may seem silly, being sure to pack your meals the night before will alleviate some of the stress in the morning when you’re trying to get out the door at 6am. Get yourself into a routine and reap the rewards of being less stressed and calmer when you head off to work for the day.

Tradesman rest | Tradesman Saver

Tradesman asleep in a wheelbarrow

Rest plenty

For most tradesmen the answer to the question, “do you lift, bro?“, is a resounding yes. After all, even if you don’t hit the gym, the average tradesman is often lifting all kinds of materials, supplies and/or furniture to. However, not everyone gets the adequate rest they need to efficiently build muscle. Just as a sculptor takes takes time to carve perfection into their work, it takes time for your body to repair and build new muscle. Just have faith that you will inevitably attain that herculean body of steel sooner or later.


healthy snacks

Pack healthy snacks that are easy to eat for snaking between meals

Not eating frequently enough can be a big problem for most tradesmen. Since your job is incredibly physically demanding, its essential to snack, or “graze”, little and often on healthy foods (especially good protein options). Try and get into the habit of grazing on something every couple of hours, as it will help give you the energy you need to carry on doing your work. Having enough protein in your day to day will make a huge difference to keeping your energy up throughout the day.

If you have a particularly demanding week ahead of you, be sure to increase your portion sizes to accommodate for that. If your work is a bit easier, then ease back on the calories and limit any potential fat gain. You should be aiming for healthy, nutrient-rich food choices to make you sharper on the job, and maybe give you enough energy to finally hit the gym again!

Feeding window | Tradesman Saver

Time to eat

Limiting your feeding window between 9-12 hrs

New research suggests that not only what you eat, but the timing of what you eat has an effect on your overall health. From affecting your chances of getting diabetes, to increasing muscle mass, timing can have a significant effect on different aspects of your health. Studies show that eating within a 9 – 12 hour time-frame is best for your body and for giving your metabolism enough time to rest between feeding periods. So if your first meal is at 8 am, it’s best to get your dinner by 5-8 pm. If this is easy to do, try eating as close as possible to that 9 hr feeding period, since that seems to be the sweet spot for various benefits.


stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day

When you’re trying to keep your energy levels up throughout the day, it can be really tempting to reach for a soft drink, sports drink or energy drink to tide you through – but don’t do it! If you’re thirsty, water is the best thing for you, and you won’t believe the amount of extra energy you have if you increase your water intake. Although, if you do find yourself in energy-deprivation, coffee is a much better choice – provided you lose the sugar!

Keep your water bottle handy at all times and drink lots throughout the day, especially in the summer. It’ll help keep you energised and won’t cause you to sugar crash the way fizzy and sugary drinks will.


listen to your body

Listen to your body

It’s easy to get into the mind-set that aches and pains are all part of the job. Stop thinking this way! You only get one body and you need to look after it well. If your muscles are aching then have a long soak in the bath or take a Jacuzzi. If you have problem areas like you back or shoulders, treat yourself to a sports massage. Take supplements to help your joints take on the everyday strains, and see a doctor if you have any concerns about pains you’re experiencing.


What are your top tips for staying healthy as a tradesman? Share your opinions with us in the comments on Facebook and Twitter.

Tradesman Saver also provides insurance for tradesmen covering a wide variety of professions. For further information, please see our Tradesman Insurance or Who We Cover pages.


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