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NLUCKETT90 SparkPoints: (1,746)
Fitness Minutes: (856)
Posts: 17
8/10/14 6:39 P

Hi there! I also work the night shift in an acute psychiatric unit a few times a week (1900-0700). I am part time therefore my shifts are very scattered. I work a mixture of days and nights. My manager is great for sticking my shifts together (ie. 2-3 nights, off for 5, 2 days). Some days I get short changed and I have to go from nights to days in a day and a half.

Anyways. For my first night shift, I sleep a regular 8-10 hour night (going to bed at 1030 the night before). I get up, have a regular breakfast, go to the gym, run errands, and come back home. At the gym, I usually do light cardio on those days because I know that I'm running on minimal sleep. I'll add some lunges, squats, dead lifts, bridges, push-ups, and planks. I've tried the whole staying up late and sleeping in, but it has never worked for me. I'll have a small lunch at about 1pm. I nap from 3pm-5pm. When I get up at 5, I make a regular dinner, but I put it away for my shift. I keep the other half for my SO for when he gets home from work. This way we can still enjoy the same meal, just at different times. Some of my meals for work include salmon, roasted asparagus, and sweet potato. Quick and easy to make. I have a container that has 2 small compartments and 1 large compartment, making it easy to have a balanced meal of veggies, carbs, and protein. If I am hungry at that time, I'll grab a piece of fresh fruit.

Once I get to work, I have a coffee with 2 milk. at around 10pm when most of my patients are gone to bed, I'll grab a quick, on-the-go snack, such as a banana, lara bar, homemade granola bar, etc. At about 1-2 am when my charting is all done, I'll sit down and have my "dinner". To keep my energy levels going throughout the remainder of the night, I'll grab a 100 calorie pack of almonds with a yogurt and fruit. Or some chopped up veggies with hummus. When I get home, I'll eat a bowl of cereal or make a toast and head to bed right away. I have to do this otherwise I will be up at 12, starving. It seems like I am eating a lot but I am up for a longer period of time and I'm not starving when I get home.

On days off, I would suggest going hard at the gym if you can. Or increasing your cardio to 30-45 mins per day. Lifting weights 2-3 times per week is very beneficial. Feel free to use some of the ideas I use. Best of luck!

JLMARTIN922 SparkPoints: (1,684)
Fitness Minutes: (1,110)
Posts: 31
12/3/13 12:23 P

I'm also a night shift nurse :) I never really have gotten an actual routine down because, like you, I alternate sleeping days and nights depending on my days off. On days I work I will usually alternate working out when I get off and when I wake up, that way I'm not staying up late every day or getting up early every day (I like my sleep!) and on work days I do a short at home video (right now it's Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred) On my days off I sleep in as late as I want and will go for a walk/jog, bike ride, hike, anything to get me outside and prevent me getting burned out on the videos. You just have to tell yourself that it's only 20 minutes out of your entire day and you deserve that time for you! Anytime you want another night shifter to talk to and motivate feel free to send me a message! Maybe we can be accountability buddies?

KJEANNE SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (31,713)
Posts: 2,093
12/3/13 11:49 A

When I worked the night shift I always went to the gym on my way home. If i went home without doing a workout, I never got it done.

WOW! a free gym??? I pay $21 a month. I would love to trade with you and maybe that will help you to feel better about your gym situation.

Try mixing up your routines and is there anyway you can ride a bike home from work a few days a week? If it's too far to ride try using transit part the way.

FLAGLINDA Posts: 501
12/3/13 9:59 A

Boy this could have been written by me!. When I was working nights I found a gym that had a water aerobics class at 730 so I went 3 times a week. My only problem was I was so tired that I was cold so I stood next to the hot tub to do it. The hot tub water spilled out into the pool area. I have to admit it was scary driving home after though. because by then I was really sleepy. I would suggest that you could do some videos at home either before you go to bed or when you get up.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
12/3/13 6:52 A

You don't have to work out for a long time to get the benefits of exercise. Particularly if you pursue intensity, you can get in a great workout in just 20 minutes. Combined with longer workouts on weekends (when you have more time), you should be able to have a pretty good activity level overall.

Also, working out at home (eg. exercise videos) can make constructive use of time that would be otherwise be spent travelling to and from the gym. Walking, running or cycling round your neighborhood is another exercise option without travel time.


CARRIENIGN SparkPoints: (99,729)
Fitness Minutes: (82,742)
Posts: 493
12/3/13 4:18 A

I am a night shift nurse. Sometimes, I do my workout in the afternoon before work, and sometimes after. On my days off, I do it whenever I feel up to it or have time. As far as what workouts I do, I go to a Pure Barre studio and do that workout most days (it's 55 minutes) and run most other days. My Barre classes are available at 8:15 some days, and those are great because I can go to them straight from work. I always take one rest day each week, too, because there's always a day where either I can't fit a workout in, or I just feel like my body needs the recovery. My Barre classes are available at 8:15 some days, and those are great because I can go to them straight from work. It's so hard and has taken me so long to get something figured out that works. I know how hard night shift makes for eating healthy and counting calories, too. I'm very excited to say that I'm going to day shift later this month, but I have been doing the healthy lifestyle on night shift since February, so trust me when I say I understand!

SMSWATZEL36 SparkPoints: (166)
Fitness Minutes: (45)
Posts: 3
12/3/13 12:15 A

Hello. I am an LVN and I work in Post Partum. I have a Freshman in HS and a Middle Schooler (7th grade). I work night shift. My kids are pretty independent so they are no longer my excuse for not working out with the exception of an occasional volunteer session at my daughter's school with the PTA. And my husband is in the Army. My biggest obstacle is night shift. I have tried working out in the afternoon after I get up, but I also have to drive to pick my daughter up from school and then when I get home, I have to make dinner and get ready for work. My husband can make dinner, but if I don't make it, then I don't get to eat with my family before I got to work. I will end up taking it with me and then it could be 10pm before I eat dinner because it depends on how busy we are. We have gotten to where we eat around 5:30 so I can eat with my family. I have also tried working out in the morning after work but I'm so tired by the end of my shift....And I have to drive my daughter to school in the morning. Right now, she is able to ride the bus, but that will stop after the holidays. She is a transfer student to another school because the school she is supposed to go to is not good. There is a big bullying problem there, so for my daughter's safety, I transferred her. And the transportation will stop unless that bad school has bad test scores (highly likely). I won't know until after the holidays.

Anyway, I just don't know what to do for my workouts. I get bored fast. I have free gyms available to me due to my husband being in the military, but I don't like the way the cardio room is set up at the gym closest to my house. The machines face white walls and the treadmills are really close to the white wall. There are NO windows in the cardio room to look outside. The military gym I really like is about 7 miles (15 min drive one way) to get to. And when you are tired, that's a long drive, especially after having to drive your daughter to school after a 12 hour shift. I'm willing to get over the white walls. But I need help finding the motivation and the time to workout.

what are other night shift nurses (or other careers that work nights) doing for exercise? Are you going before you work? Are you going after work? Are you going when you get up in the afternoon after sleeping? do you work out at home? I'm looking for ideas and motivation. Let me hear what you do. I want to spend time with my family, sleep, eat healthy...

Another thing I struggle with is eating. When I'm at work at night, I eat snacks. I try to make sure my snacks are healthy, but.....

Another thing I do is I switch back and forth between day shift and night shift. I sleep during the day when I am working, and I sleep at night on my nights off. And say for example...I work this Thursday night and I'm off Friday. So, I will sleep on Friday after work for about 4-5 hours and then I will be up the rest of the day and I will go to bed around 9pm and sleep all night Friday night. I will also sleep Saturday and Sunday nights because I'm off. Monday night, I work, so I'll take a nap Monday afternoon so I'm not tired when I go to work that night.

I would like to switch to day shift, but I cannot do that for a year and a half when my daughter starts high school, unless her bus service continues....My husband cannot pick her up or take her to school because he is an NCO and has to do management and army politic stuff like meetings and stuff. He also has PT.

anyway, I look forward to hearing things that you all do. I want to know how you night shifters face your workout challenges. I need to lose weight. I am 36 yrs old. No thyroid gland (born without it). I'm 5'3" and weigh 207. I really need help and ideas.

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