Night Shift and Meal Timing

Hi everyone!

I know I have been MIA for a while, but I have been doing a lot of “me time” after the Arnold Sports Expo bikini competition.  The prep for that competition was the longest and most intense I have done so far and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a toll on me!  Over the last month I have been enjoying my time with my boyfriend and our furbabies– enjoying going out to dinner and cooking meals without weighing or measuring.  I can honestly say I haven’t truly tracked my macros since the competition.  I needed a break.  I am also now focusing on my career.  I have began studying (on a daily basis) to get my Certification in Critical Care Nursing, or my CCRN.   My exam is scheduled for mid-May, so wish me luck!!

Anyway, enough about me! I have had many questions and emails regarding when I would eat my meals on night shift.  I figured I would just address this question in a post.

My tips for night shift and counting macros or sticking to your meal plan is to treat the days the same as you would on day shift.  AKA: New day begins at Midnight and ends at Midnight.  I have found this the easiest because the macro tracking apps, such as MyFitnessPal, are designed this way.  Also, completely forget about “breakfast,” “lunch,: and “dinner,” just look at your meals as numbers.  Meal one, meal two, etc. Because on night shift, when you think you should be eating “breakfast”, You’re eating chicken and veggies. So My first night of work would look something like:

0830 wake up,  meal 1 pre-workout
0930 – 1200  workout
1230 – meal 2 post-workout
1300 – 1700  Nap before work
1800 – meal 3 before work
1900- WORK , meal 4/snack
2200- meal 5/snack
2330- meal 6

–So that’s one day of meals —  but, the shift consists of two days

0300 – Meal 1
0730 – END WORK , Meal 2/snack
0800 – 1500 Sleep
1530 – Meal 3 , Pre-workout
1600-1730 – Workout
1800 – Meal 4 before work
1900- WORK
2200- meal 5/snack
2330- meal 6

And I would work three shifts in a row, so I would continue that cycle. Until  I had a day off, which would look like:

0300 – Meal 1
0730 – END WORK , Meal 2/snack
0800 – 1200 Sleep/Nap
1230 – Meal 3 , Pre-workout
1300-1430 – Workout
1500 – Meal 4, post workout
1800- Meal 5
1930- Meal 6/snack
2200- Sleep

Like I’ve mentioned in my previous post regarding night shift and meals, I eat a lot of light, easy to “grab and go” type of meals– so don’t look at this and think I’m eating a meal of chicken, rice, and veggies out of tupperware for EVERY meal.  Some of these are just a quest bar.  Or a yogurt and almonds.  I find that multiple, small snack type meals get me through the night shift rather than eating a huge meal on my lunch break.  So, I hope this helps and answers a lot of your questions —  PS: I think it is AWESOME how many comments and emails I get from people in the same position!! Night shift isn’t for everyone and it sure isn’t what you think of when you think of a healthy lifestyle.. But you can make the best of it!  Don’t let it hinder your health and fitness goals!!

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4 thoughts on “Night Shift and Meal Timing

  1. Hey Rachael! Lindsay is my coach as well and I just competed for the first time since being full time nights adn it was definitely a challenge! I used more of an IF approach when my cals got lower. I actually ate my meals according to when I woke up and went to bed, which sucked on my first day of work because I had to stretch my calories out longer, but on my last day when I got to eat all my food between 1-2 pm and midnight or so when I went to bed it was awesome! Thanks for all the inspiration on here and showing me you CAN compete on night shift 🙂 Also good luck on your CCRN! Heard that’s a brutal test 🙂

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  2. Omg, Rachael! You have no idea how helpful this is! I have been following flexible dieting for a few months, about as long as I’ve been back on the night shift. I’ve been struggling a bit with how to best manage my macros, especially on that first day, when you’re awake for 24 hours! I had, this week, begun tracking macros from midnight to midnight, so your schedule is so good to see! Thanks for sharing your experiences!!

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  3. OMG, thank you for all of your night shift advice posts. I have been dying trying to find someone who actually works this into a night shift sleep pattern and doesn’t just say “sleep consistent hours.” I am totally going to incorporate your meal timing, sleep schedule and workout tips into my schedule. I kind of sleep like you do already, and I was soo tired of diets that say no snacks, etc. I feel like I have to do 6 meals too. Thank you thank you thank you 🙂
    I love nights but it’s taking it’s toll-totally betting this is going to make it so much better.

    this is a very sad request lol but someday would you be willing to share your get-ready strategies? I feel like I don’t have time for hair/makeup and workout and work on 12 hour days, but I know I look like a total zombie if I don’t take time. also do you have any tips for keeping everything from sliding off your face after 12 hours? your makeup looks so nice and natural and put together, would love any advice! 🙂
    thank you again!!
    Brittany

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