So you want to be fit, happy, and healthy while working those tough 12 hour shifts, but don't know where to start? It's not always easy, but it is entirely possible. For the purpose of this blog, I will be sharing my workout routine and give yall some pointers on how to keep up with your fitness while being a traveling healthcare professional!
I try to workout 4-5 days a week whether it's weightlifting, cardio, or even light stretching/ yoga sessions. Whatever you do, it's most important to make sure you are just staying active and moving your body. By doing so, your body's metabolism stays as high as possible. When I workout, I mainly weightlift using dumbbells, barbells, and machines. Besides performing cardio or H.I.I.T, weightlifting is the best way to burn calories in a limited amount of time while strengthening your muscles. So on days I go to work I typically workout at 4am. Sometimes I do get lazy or go to bed late so on those days I sleep in more and just go to the gym after my 12 hour shift. I prefer to work out before my 12 hour shift because I feel I have more energy and it's an awesome way to get your body and mind alert to start the work day without using coffee. Whenever I try to workout after my shift my joints all are sore/hurting from standing, pulling, and bending all day in the hospital while taking care of patients. When I start my workout programs I like to do them for anywhere from 4-12 weeks and either alternate with upper/lower body exercises or push/pull exercises. Usually after 3 or 4 weeks I have a deload week which is where you decrease the amount of weight you lift with each exercise so your muscles have time to recuperate while still staying active and staying with the workout program. When I say I alternate with upper/lower body exercises, I mean that one day I focus on my upper body which is my chest, arms, back, and shoulders. The next day I focus on my lower body which is my quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and I add my abs in with this workout. When I get tired of doing that type of workout program, I switch to push/pull workout programs. That means I do push exercises such as bench press, squat, shoulder press, tricep pushdown, leg press, and bench dips. Push exercises typically focus on the chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, and calves. While pull exercises focus on the back, biceps, forearms, hamstrings, and glutes. You do push exercises one day and the next you do pull exercises. You do four total workouts with two being push exercises and 2 being pull exercises. If you want a fifth exercise day you can do cardio, abs, and light stretching to keep you limber, strengthen your core, and improve your endurance.
The hardest part of staying active and staying fit as a healthcare worker is just getting motivated to do your workouts. Sometimes you may be too tired, too busy, or just not motivated. Luckily there are different strategies to get past all those things! Eating well balanced meals low in sugar during the day gives you consistent energy throughout the day and you won't experience any crashes from lack of energy. If you feel that you are too busy, you can get yourself started with working out by doing bodyweight exercises, and light stretching every morning that you wake up or right before you go to bed. All you need is 15-20 minutes each day to do this and you increase your repetitions by five each week to increase your strength in this exercise. Last, but not least if you do not feel motivated to work out you can download apps that text you motivational quotes to inspire you, watch videos or reels of things that really motivate you or follow me on Instagram @mursetobe because soon I'll be releasing a personal texting service that will send texts to your phone to help you stay motivated. I also offer personalized workouts/ meal plans for a nominal fee, if interested email me at email@example.com.
Written By Tobe Ezimora, Travel RN, MedVenture Ambassador, & Health Enthusiast