Are you fit enough to be a car painter?

Working in a collision repair requires physical fitness. Whether you are painter, a panel beater or a prep guy, your job is manual. Staying fit and healthy is indispensable, and requires three main pillars: right diet, exercise and regular health checks. In the article “A medical examination every car sprayer must take … yesterday” I covered the last pillar, so let me say a few words about the nutrition and exercising.

Before we go into nutrition and exercising, I would like to remind you that unless personal safety taken seriously, car refinishing occupation is considered to be a very high risk for health.

Quit smoking

I know that it is easier said than done, but smoking is a “luxury” a car sprayer simply can not afford from health point of view. Unfortunately, I have seen too many car painters, who spray paint without a mask and with cigarette in the mouth. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) the world’s top five health risks are: high blood pressure, tobacco use, high blood glucose, physical inactivity and obesity. While occupational carcinogens and occupational airborne particulates, which are plenty in automotive repair trade, are among 20 leading global risks for mortality.

In addition, if you consider that occupational carcinogens (like isocyanates) account to 8% reasons of lung cancer (the most frequent form of occupational cancer), and that airborne particulates (like toxic dust from sanding of body fillers and primers) cause about 12% of deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, then smoking is the last drop to kill you. Tobacco use is the second important death risk factor after high blood pressure. It is responsible for 12% of male death!

I don’t want to bomb you with more dreadful statistics about smoking, so, please think twice before you buy your next packet of cigarettes.

We are what we eat.

What comes first to my mind when I think of painter’s diet is a quick sandwich or hamburger washed down with cola or coffee. Sounds familiar to you? Very few bodyshop workers take care of their food at work. Unfortunately many of them suffer from excessive weight, despite the fact that they work physically with their hands, and not sitting behind the computer like the majority of white collars. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, therefore I really suggest you to read one book by Jonathan Bailor “The calories myth: How to eat more, exercise less, lose weight, and live better life.” This book really changed the way I look at food and health. However, I would like to share with you a few tips, which will help you to eat healthier and feel better:


  1. Do not eat in the bodyshop. Preparation and painting area is full of airborne toxic dust. By exposing your food to the dust you actually consume bodyfiller and primer dust a long with paint overspray. It is not a good sauce, is it? Avoid this chemical soup altogether.
  2. Don’t wait until you are very hungry. This may cause overeating. Plan your workday in such a way that there is time for launch and short snacks.
  3. Drink plenty of water! Coffee doesn’t count. Staying hydrated is crucial for wellbeing and helps to dispose any toxins from the body.
  4. Wash your hands before the meals. I know you are not a child, but this is a friendly reminder.
  5. Chemicals exposure is a part of life in a bodyshop. Therefore, include foods, which help you to cleanse your body from synthetic chemicals (unfortunately these chemicals are everywhere in a bodyshop).

There are well-known foods, which are scientifically proven to detox your body. Below I bring to your attention a few of them:

– Asparagus. It helps to drainage liver, and aides to reduce stress.

– Avocados. This berry (yes, it is a single seed berry) helps to remove synthetic chemicals from your body.

– Carrots. Simple snack and one of the most powerful detoxing vegetables.

– Olives and cold-press olive oil suck up dangerous toxins.

– Green juices. Leafy greens are well-known detoxifiers. Use them in salad or drink as juice or smoothie.

– Vitamin C reach fruits, like lemons and oranges protect your body from the harmful effects of the synthetic chemicals.

– Milk. Milk contains a lot of proteins, which work as buffers, reduce the negative effects of chemicals.

To summarize, eat more vegetables, greens and drink plenty of water!

Do you need exercise?

It is a question many of you may ask? Spending hours and hours working with your hands isn’t enough? All of us understand the benefits of the workouts for our health and well-being, however it is not easy to combine a physically demanding job (like a bodyshop employee has) and working out. I have asked many people I met about their exercise routine (quite a few guys were really in good shape), and I bring to your attention some tips I learnt from them:

Work out before going to work. If you are an early-bird, hit the gym or running path early. People who exercise in the morning get energized and well-tempered.

If the morning workouts are not the option, then pack your gym back and take it with you to work. This will help you avoid getting home later on. Because if you get home, the chances are that you will not leave the coach for anything but food or drink from the fridge.

– Eat well during the day at work. Hunger and tiredness are not good mix for the gym.

Choose the workout, which you like. If you are not a gym rat, don’t go to the gym. Find other ways to stay fit. Any physical activity is good, and it must be fun, otherwise it won’t last long.

– Jogging or walking are the best options for you. Low intensity exercise on the fresh air is ideal for bodyshop employees, who spend many hours in closed and polluted space of the workshop. Even a half an hour stroll will have multiple benefits for your health and fitness level. If you have a dog, use it as an opportunity to go out more.

– If your family or professional obligations do not leave much space for the workouts, try HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is a training technique comprised of short intervals of very high intensity.

– Go to sauna. Sauna provides scientifically proven way to remove dangerous from the human’s largest organ – skin.

– Whether you are a prep guy or a painter, your everyday job requires a great deal of repetitive tasks, which may cause strains and pain in your back or arms. If this is the case, seeks advice from your physician which exercises could help to strengthen your body and prevent chronic problems.


To sum up, I would like to emphasize that for a bodyshop professional his health is the most precious “asset”. Without good physical form, you will not be able to continue with your job. Take it seriously and invest in your health!


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