Tucson firefighter Justin Buchanan helps his health while he helps others.
For many people, it’s hard to find time away from their jobs to be vigorously active.
Others are vigorously active on the job.
And while the desk-sitters might enviously think an active job means unlimited doughnuts, it doesn’t.
“I have to eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables to keep going,” says Ryan Garrity, 30, of Youngtown. He works four days a week as an industrial painter, building scaffolding and using a sandblaster, often while wearing protective equipment. On his days off, he paints houses.
“With industrial painting, you’re using every muscle in your body,” he says. “But even with the house painting, it helps to be fit because you work faster and can keep going.”
Sue Ayersman, a certified nutrition specialist at Kronos Optimal Health Centre, says people with very active jobs still need to maintain caloric balance. They can’t eat more than they are burning.
“Snacking is very important,” she says. “It’s a way to get the fuel the body needs. And smaller meals would be better for digestion.”
Garrity agrees. He eats a light breakfast, maybe a granola bar and some fruit, then a light snack and maybe a turkey sub for lunch.
“You’re hot and you don’t want to eat too much,” he says. Then he eats a good dinner, although “you don’t want to gorge.”
Janis Weinke has to be careful about what she eats. She is a physical education teacher at Palo Verde Middle School in Phoenix and a coach for seventh-grade girls and eighth-grade boys volleyball. She’s also a referee for high school volleyball and basketball and junior college basketball.
“I might be coaching girls basketball in the morning before school, then after school I’ll coach a game before I ref a game,” says Weinke, 43, of Phoenix.
“Breakfast is definitely important, as is eating throughout the day. I make sure I get more fruit that day and more water.”
Ayersman says the best snacks are not carbs that will give a quick boost, such as jelly beans or soda pop.
“After that quick spike, the blood sugar will fall and they’ll run into fatigue,” she says.
Better snacks are bananas, raisins, trail mix, apples with peanut butter, cottage cheese, lentils, a protein shake using water instead of fruit juice and whole-grain bread.
On busy days, Weinke likes lunch to be her main meal.
“I grew up in Oregon and my dad was a cattle rancher so I still like to eat steak and vegetables, and I eat salmon every two weeks,” she says. “Growing up, at harvest time our main meal was at noon and dinner would be light.”
Hydration is also crucial, and Ayersman says anyone planning an active day needs to start drinking extra water the day before.
Garrity, who drinks water and sports drinks, says that slow and steady is best.
“If you drink too much or too fast, you get sick.”
Weinke finds that even with her active job, she needs to work out to maintain her energy level.
WORKING OUT AT WORK
Joseph Ughi, massage therapist at Westin La Paloma, works out kinks and himself.
JOBS AND CALORIES
Approximate calories burned per hour by occupation, based on a 150-pound person:
Scuba diver (Navy SEAL) 748
Physical education teacher 442
Road construction worker 408
House remodeler 374
Massage therapist 204
Police officer directing traffic 170
Standing worker (bartender, store clerk) 156
Seated worker 34
Sources: www.calorie-count.com and www.calorielab.com.
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