Working on a job site requires a lot of physical activity – whether you are a welder, plumber, fabricator, drywall taper, scenic artist, carpenter, etc. – you are working muscles in your body every single day.
As a scenic artist, I’m typically working 8-10 hours a day on a concrete floor doing things like using a bamboo pole to paint, climbing up and down ladders and scaffolding, pushing around Genie lifts, lifting and moving scenery and paint buckets, and generally moving my body around to paint things. And I love it. I’ve realized over the years that if I don’t stretch before work, I feel sore and tired sometimes before the day is over. As a scenic artist especially, the repetitiveness of the work can get really taxing on my forearms and quadriceps in particular.
Note: I’m not a doctor or nutritionist or physical trainer, nor am I qualified to be giving medical advice. Please consult your doctor or a physical trainer before hopping into my advice.
Here’s what I do before work:
+ 10-15 reps of incline push ups on the paint table
This is my favorite warm-up and mobility stretch (if you’ve worked with me before, you’ve probably seen me doing this during breaks…). Ever since I started doing this, my back isn’t as sore after work. I say 10-15 reps because you’re not trying to sweat and workout, you’re just trying to warm up your muscles for the day. Side note, the paint shop can be a great place to get some strength training/workout moves in, maybe I’ll write a blog post about that someday. High knees on some 5 gallon buckets anyone?
+ 5 second suspension between two tables, 2-3 reps
Our paint table is within arms distance to our paint sink, so I’ll hoist myself up between them and hover for about 5 seconds. Just make sure your tables won’t roll easily! This is a great way to focus on strength training and mobility – which can help us so much as a scenic artist.
+ 4-5 minutes of yoga stretches
If I know the day ahead of me is going to consist of starching a drop upright, I’ll take a couple minutes to go into cat/cow yoga stretches to make sure I’m “warming up” my spine, back, and shoulders. If I know I’m going to be using a bamboo all day, I’ll incorporate some tricep dips using 5 gallon buckets.
All of that really doesn’t take that long and has been a major improvement for me. One of the major things to consider is incorporating stretches and mobility work throughout the day. Find something to break up the monotonous muscle movements you’re doing. For example, if I’ve been standing up for 6 hours straight painting something upright, during my break I’ll try and do a couple squats to make sure my knees get some mobility.
Over time, you can build up tension in your muscles which makes it harder to release with just stretching. If you’ve got chronic pain in your back or shoulders, schedule a chiropractor appointment! I think chiropractors get a bad rap because we may associate them with the elderly, but there’s a reason why athletes go to physical therapy and see these specialists. It’s something to consider if you can’t seem to find a solution with feeling sore or in pain.
The big takeaway here – stay on top of your body’s needs and do everything you can to increase longevity of your mobility. Why do scenic artists use bamboos in the first place? Be self aware of your posture throughout the day. If you’re in a situation where you’re going to be crouched for a long period of time, get knee pads and take frequent breaks! Your well being is so much more important than the project at hand.
How I Make My Protein Shakes
Here’s the thing most people may not realize. Nutrition and how your body feels go hand in hand. If you’re feeling sore all the time, you may look into your diet and water intake and see what you can improve there. We all know things like eat your vegetables, drink water, and get protein – but take some time to understand how these things affect your body. It’s important to empower yourself with that knowledge so you can be the best version of yourself at work.
Before I get into the recipe, I want to make sure it’s clear that I’m not suggesting you jump into making protein shakes every day. I think you should consider your personal balance between your main macros (protein, carbs, and fat) and make a decision from there about how you should be handling protein intake.
I’m pescatarian – so I rely on plant based sources and fish for my protein. The main reason I wanted to share this here is – making a protein shake is what I do after work sometimes to tide me over before dinner. I’ve noticed right after work, I get borderline hangry (let’s be real, just hangry) and sometimes I don’t have the patience to cook something healthy. Having a protein shake after work has helped me curb my carb cravings, suppress my appetite for a little bit while I make/heat up dinner, and also has helped me make sure I’m getting enough protein. It also makes it a possibility to hit the gym after work without feeling burnt out or too weak.
I use the Ninja Blender with the single serve containers to make my protein shakes. It’s a great blender, I highly recommend it (also can be used as a food processor!).
For the protein shake:
+ 2 scoops Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder in Chocolate
+ 10-12 oz. almond milk
+ 2 scoops PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
+ 1 banana
I like the Orgain brand of protein powder because it’s one of the few that doesn’t have a lot of Biotin (my dermatologist told me to avoid Biotin because it can clog your pores). I have also tried Nature’s Bounty Protein Powder and that one is really great too – it has minerals and vitamins in it, which is great if you’re like me and need the extra iron.
I also use PB2 instead of real peanut butter to cut down on fats and sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some peanut butter – but it’s all about balance. I recently saw PB Fit powder and noticed it has added sugar in it – so just be weary of “healthy” looking products because sometimes it’s all marketing and they actually have some negative qualities to them.
Also, this protein shake is not a meal replacement – I mean, I’m not a crazy person.
I also have a scoop of this Collagen Peptide Powder in my coffee every morning (it will clump and not dissolve in something cold). I know this is trendy and may not be your thing, but I have noticed a difference after using this for about a month or so. My skin texture has improved, and I don’t feel as sore as I normally do after work. I don’t think this product is a magic holy grail item at all – I just wanted to throw it in because I do think it helped me a little bit.
I hope this was helpful in some way! I have a lot more wellness based content coming out soon, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!