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The Guide to FIFO

fifo tradies Jan 30, 2019

Over the years, we’ve become experts in working in FIFO. Its started because a few of my mates went FIFO, and grew as we prepped people for comps, while they were still flying in / out.

Here are the 5 major factors

  1. You roster
  2. The dining hall
  3. How active you work is
  4. The on site gym
  5. Your home life

For most blokes, they are 2/1 swing, and single. If that’s you, well, you can put some money away, get huge and are a few good decisions away from being at your best.

If you have kids and a wife at home, are 4/1 and on the tools all day, its still very do-able, but you will need to be very diligent.


Big Matt preped while FIFO

The number one issue – ENERGY

If you don’t want to read the whole article, here is the cheat sheet for more energy

  1. Always start the day with a healthy smoothie
  2. Always train in the morning
  3. Go for carbs and protein, and try to eat minimal fat
  4. Monitor your steps – eat to make up for big days on the tools


Here is the full version to make you better while FIFO


  1. You are away from home, not your goals – HAVE A PLAN BEFORE YOU FLY OUT

Its tough being away from home, mentally, lots of blokes tell us the hours away from routine, and being with the boys puts them in a ‘whatever’ state.

To be super obvious, writing down what you want to do food and training wise is going to make your job 1000 times easier.

Here are the top tips

  1. Get to the gym before your shift starts
  2. Get as MUCH protein in early in the day
  3. Get as hydrated as possible

45 minutes in the gym is completely doable daily – won’t leave you too tired, and means you will show up. We give FIFO guys more frequent workouts, with less work (ie, 5 x 45 mins instead of 3 x 90 minutes).


  1. Start EVERY day with a smoothie to get hydrated.

Buy a nutri-bullet, its small, and can sit in your residency. Get frozen fruit and chuck it in your fridge, or take a bunch of fruit from the dining hall home in your pockets.

First thing in the morning, protein powder, fruit and water in the nutri-bullet, get to the gym.

This is a huge better start to the day. If you eat bad in the first meal, its going to leave you sluggish all day. If you get up, get a good first meal, get a workout in, you are going to stick to your goals.


  1. Tired workouts mean change

If you are smoked from a big day on the tools, don’t try and squat your PB, you will have terrible form, and likely get injured. One of the biggest issues with guys trying to use programs from the internet is they don’t take into account the day to day fatigue being on site.

We recommend lower intensity (ie, less weight) and more sets/reps, you don’t want to injure yourself on site


  1. Stick out a change, and keep doing it at home

Give it a least of a month of morning workouts before you dismiss it. Ask any fit bloke on site, likely they train in the morning. At some point, you will adjust, and it will be like your morning coffee.


  1. Get rest in when you can

Nap. When you get home from your shift, if you’ve done your workout in the morning, hit the sack, get some rest. An extra 40 minutes a day is still over 4 hours a week. That could be the difference in hitting your goals or not. Don’t scroll when you get back, just straight in bed if you are tired.


  1. Work off a program

Don’t try to wing it. You know your energy is up and down while away. Have a program, and stick to it. Make yourself accountable to do the prescribed sets and reps, then get out of there.

Trying to make up a program is mental energy you don’t need to spend, and its is making it 100 times more likely you wont do the work you need


  1. Understand nutrition

As delicious as chips and potato salad are – they make you full and not able to eat what’s necessary. Every time you are in the dining hall, don’t allow yourself to eat anything but protein until you have hit your marker for the day. So, at 2-3g per kg (depending on your goals) – that’s a fair amount of food.

Out on the tools, you will be relying on frozen meals or what you can take with you. Its not the best position, but eat up big on the right things in the food hall.

Always go protein first, clean carbs second and try to limit everything else.

  1. What to do if the dining hall has a poor selection

Hopefully, you will have a fridge. Cans of tuna and protein powder are the most portable thing, and will be your (bad tasting) saviour.

If you are 4/1 or even 2/1 – you are going to have to restock, but protein powder and water a few times a day is better than not hitting your macros.


  1. How to gain weight (if you need the calories)

Eating crappy food is going to make you tired. If you need more calories because your job is super physical, consider adding dextrose to a few protein shakes a day, and also while you train.

This way you are getting carbs, no fat, feeding your muscles and still hitting baseline calories.


  1. How to lose weight

You have to track. You have to eat on macros, there is nothing really you can do about that. One issue we see a lot is people have super active days, and non-active days. If this is you, consider tracking your steps and adjusting calories when you aren’t moving much


  1. Too much work, not enough sleep, what to do

If you think you are just doing too much work to sustain workouts on top, you need to eat more and sleep more, and consider measuring your heart rate variability. We’ve rarely seen a need for this, but if you are running on 4-5 hours sleep, you need to really work hard on diet, reduced but effective training and recovering when you fly out.


  1. Constantly injured

Due to days on the tools, your joints are not getting a lot of rest. If any movement is causing joint flare ups stop it. Send a video to me, and I’ll help you with your form. Sore joints are a common theme, do not tough it out, you will just make it worse.



Its very very doable, its just harder to plan for ‘two lives’. If there are beers with the boys one day, plan through the workouts you will miss, and the calories you will add. Nobody is telling you not to enjoy the time away how you can, but most FIFO guys want to at least build a better physique while they are also building that bank balance.

Send me a message if any of this didn’t make sense, or you hare a tip we haven’t included.

You might also want to read this one - tips for tradies

If you want a full program, send us a message with what equipment is at the gym, and we'll sort you

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