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Need advice on meals + work outs with work/school schedule

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Old 09-07-2011, 01:32 AM   #1
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Question Need advice on meals + work outs with work/school schedule

Since starting school back, I've screwed up my schedule big time.

Over the summer, when I still took classes but only one at a time, I was able to go straight from work to the gym. Not so now.

Now, I eat breakfast at 8 a.m. I eat lunch (~250 calories) at 12 p.m. I work from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., but I also go to class during the afternoon on my lunch break. By the end of the day, I am so hungry (not because my meals don't fill me up but because it's been 6 hours since I've last eaten) that I want to go home and eat my big salad, not go the gym. I eat, inevitably get tired, and take a nap. I wake up at 9 p.m., get dressed, and go to the gym for 75-90 minutes. Then I come home, do chores, do homework, and go to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. (For example, 2:30 a.m. yesterday.) At least I'm still making it to the gym, but this schedule is not working for me.

I think, if I could somehow better manage my meals, I could correct this. Maybe if I ate a small 100 - 150 calorie snack an hour or so before work ends, I wouldn't be so hungry and could go to the gym before going home? I don't want to eat dinner at work because one of my favorite parts of the day is coming home, curling up with my big salad, and watching SVU.

I'm hoping that tomorrow helps me break the cycle because I'll be going to visit my nephew straight after work. Then I plan to go straight to the gym before coming home to eat dinner.

Anyone else have these kinds of issues? All advice welcome!
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:30 AM   #2
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I go for the small 100 - 150 calorie snack an hour or so before work ends I think you can maybe make it 2-3 hours before also.

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Old 09-07-2011, 07:22 AM   #3
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I don't think that schedule would work for me either! I teach at university and I think if I had to regularly stay up till 2:30 and still work out the next day there would either be murder or collapse (but then I am much older than you, I suspect.)

I pack lunch and snack from home because I don't have time to buy it in between classes, and the options are pretty junky anyway. I eat a lunch which I try to make 20-30% protein, 40-50% slow carb calories (including at least 10g fiber from things like whole grain bread, bean salads, fruit and cut up raw vegetables) and that helps my stamina through the afternoon. I prefer my breakfast, lunch and dinner to be about 400-500 cal each, because I often don't have time to eat between classes, and I don't really have the snacky habit (if I did it would probably be a slippery slope to the Dunkin Donuts or candy bowls on the secretaries desks).

I do eat a small snack protein/fiber snack like almonds and dried fruit, or a peanut butter cracker with apple or banana in between my two afternoon classes (usually at about 2-3:00) and also drink a small coffee if I can. My biggest problem is remembering/having time to drink water, but that helps too although then I somehow have to find time to pee. (Yes, teachers have to pee too.)

This perks me up enough that I can go to the gym when I'm done at 5:00, although I don't go as long as you, usually only 45 minutes. I'm usually pretty hungry by the time I get home, so I try to have a dinner ready to go right away within 15 minutes after I get home — pre-prepped salad ingredients, leftovers, or something prepared on the weekends and put in the freezer or fridge that I can just microwave or broil quickly in the oven. I also have a couple of emergency non-perishable things in my gym bag -- a fiber bar, a plastic baggie with almonds and dried fruit. There have been a couple of times that I literally had to stop in the middle of my workout and get the snack out of my locker before I could go on.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:13 AM   #4
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Oh, boy, do I admire you for consistently going to the gym after work. I would never make it. I would think of every excuse in the book to avoid it. So, for years when I worked an 8:30 - 4:30 schedule, I would work out in the a.m. This meant that I had to get up at 5 a.m. at the latest. So, one option is to work out in the a.m.

However, I think your solution of having a snack is the best. That way, you won't be too hungry to go straight to the gym. Let us know how it works out if you choose that option.
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #5
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I prefer to eat several small meals/snacks each day so I would definitely advocate going that route, or at least eating a snack before going to the gym. I have weird hunger/workout interactions so I pretty consistently eat something 1.5-2 hrs before working out.

Another thought: How many calories have you eaten by the time you get to the gym? You mention your lunch is 250 cals but not breakfast, and I know from your other posts you eat around 1200 calories/day. Assuming your breakfast is similar to your lunch, maybe you should try frontloading more of those calories so you won't be so hungry by the end of the day. I try to get nearly up to 2/3 of my daily calories before the end of my workday.

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Old 09-07-2011, 11:27 AM   #6
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between dropping my son off for school and then commuting to my job and then the same thing in reverse, on a typical day, I leave the house at 7:15 am and get home at 6 pm (although it's often 7 or 7:30 by the time we get home depending on other activities). I try to always have a snack about 4 pm - usually a couple of hardboiled eggs since they are quick and easy. I find it makes a HUGE difference for me in terms of not getting too hungry.

I work out at home and depending on my mood, I can do that either before or after I eat supper. I'm trying to convince myself to get up early enough to do tht in the mornings, but so far that hasn't happened! lol!
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:16 PM   #7
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I sympathize with that schedule! It would probably do me in completely!

I have two thoughts:
1. I agree with the idea that you need a snack before the end of work to fuel your trip to the gym. That seems like the easiest fix. The whole going home for dinner, falling asleep, getting up, working out, doing home/house work bit seems like sheer madness to me!

2. Could you spend a bit less time at the gym? 75-90 minutes is quite a long time and it makes me wonder whether you aren't doing fairly low intensity stuff in order to do it for that long. I'd think that 45 minutes of hard core, kick *ss exercise would be plenty for a person with a schedule like yours who is eating only 1200 calories a day. Could you tell us more about your exercise?
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:25 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I'm going to try to snack before going to the gym next week, and I'll let you all know how it goes! (I'm not trying this week because I first need to fix my dang sleep schedule. These post-dinner naps are killing me!)

EHRH Ha, it would make so much more sense for me to front load my calories. With 2/3 of my meals eaten at work, I should be 2/3 of the way through my calories at the end of the work day. In reality, I've had about half my calories by the end of the work day, and I eat a decent-sized supper before my workout with a snack after. Thanks for the suggestion! I do like eating a "big" meal for dinner, but I also like the idea of eating small meals/snacks throughout the work day to keep my energy up. And our office kitchen is stocked with low calorie snacks, so this is totally doable.

DietVet Thanks for the suggestions! I do 30 minutes of high intensity cardio with a 2 minute cool down. (This is one point that I push myself on every day because my level of output is so measurable. I'll push myself to go at a faster speed or a higher incline just a little bit longer than I did the day before.)

The majority of my time at the gym is spent in weight training. I do 3 sets of 15 reps with the highest weight I can handle. I'm working on endurance, so I like the high reps routine. But I try to do every weight machine in the gym, not counting free weights. On leg/ab days, I'm usually only there for 75 minutes because there are fewer machines. But on arms/shoulders/back days, I'm there for 90 minutes because there are so many machines to do. Obviously, this would be easy to cut back - simply use fewer of the weight machines. But I've had such good results in toning my body up via weight training that I'm hesitant to do that.

lin43 The above is one of the reasons I don't work out in the mornings. Our gym opens at 6 a.m. and with the time I spend weight training, I wouldn't have time to shower and get to work by 8 a.m. :-/
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:43 PM   #9
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So... That didn't go as planned!

I decided today to go ahead and try working out right after work. I ate 5 crackers and a cheese stick at 4 p.m. (160 calories). I felt great through my work out.

There's just one problem... The gym is PACKED at 5 p.m.! (I left work early today.) I would much rather go at 9 p.m. if it means having the weight machines (mostly) to myself and not having to wait all day for a machine to open up.

So my new plan is to come home right after work, eat dinner, do my homework and any housework that I want to get done, go to the gym at 9 p.m., come home, shower, and go to bed. Basically taking the nap out of the equation in favor of going to bed earlier. I hope that works!
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