Truck Drivers

Who says you can’t be fit on the road?

Finding it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road? Let’s face it, it’s no secret that truck driving is not exactly the best profession for your health. Driving a truck all day, passing endless choices of fast food and truck stop diners on the road doesn’t exactly influence healthy behavior…and the lettuce and tomato that comes on the burger you just ordered doesn’t count as a nutritious part of your meal.

The point is, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road, but it’s important. How are you going to keep driving if you keep throwing back burgers or gas station Pork Rinds?

Now before you start to feel guilty about the food you may be eating and put on your gym shorts, so you can run laps around your truck, hold on a second. This isn’t meant to scare you; the point of this blog is to fill you in on simple ways you can improve your overall well-being out on the road. Below are some suggestions to help you eat better, feel better and look better.

Whatever happened to waking up with a morning cup of Joe? Nowadays, with all the energy drinks available, it’s easy to run into a store, or load up on what we call a ‘caffeine bomb.’ They work, they taste good, but they’re not so great for your health. Did you know that one serving of a leading energy drink contains 27 grams of sugar? Did you know that one serving is considered half a can? Let’s be real, no one drinks half a can, they drink it all. That’s 54 grams of sugar. That’s the equivalent of eating nearly two ounces of sugar. Get back to the basics…drink coffee to get your caffeine fix. It’s much healthier than energy drinks, and even has some health benefits.

While you’re at it, make another leap and cut out soda from your diet. We know soda tastes good but like energy drinks, they contain a lot of sugar and other ingredients that are bad for you. Looking for an alternative sweet drink? Switch to juice… and no, canned juice doesn’t cut it. Look for fresh juice in a carton or bottle. Certain juices, like orange juice, gives you the sweet taste you may miss from soda, but is good for you. Juice is packed with vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. It also can boost your energy level…so make the switch, you won’t be disappointed.

Carrying-on the subject of energy level, have you noticed that after you wolf down a big, greasy burger, complimented by salty fries, you start to feel sleepy? That’s because meat and carbs take a long time to digest. Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t eat meat anymore, rather don’t eat large amounts at one time. If possible, mix in some fruit and veggies as much as you can. These foods are much easier for your body to process and will help keep you alert on the road.

A big reason drivers opt for unhealthy foods is due to convenience and the fact that healthy foods can be difficult to find at truck stops. It’s important when you do find healthy food, to stock up. Load your mini fridge with some fruits and vegetables that you can snack on while you’re on the road. And, did you know snacking is considered good for you? As long as you’re eating something nutritious, eating throughout the day, rather than gorging on one or two meals a day can boost your energy level and improve overall health

It takes a conscious effort to improve your lifestyle on the road. It may seem hard, but it can be done. If at all possible, try to make home-cooked meals in your truck. There is a variety of equipment you can use to make healthy meals on the road. It takes a little planning and preparation, but it’s well worth it. By doing this, you can carefully manage your diet by knowing what you put in your body and it saves you money in the long run. Look at it as an activity, rather than a chore. If you think of cooking as something new to do during your down time, it could be fun. There are thousands of recipes you can test out, allowing you to become a better cook. Check out this cook book made for truckers to give you some ideas.

Substituting unhealthy food and beverages is a great start to setting yourself up for a healthier lifestyle, but a key component to whipping yourself into shape is physical exertion. Yes…that means exercise, but it doesn’t take much! In fact, former Olympic-hopeful, Siphiwe Baleka, is now on a mission to change the stigma of the truck industry being one of the unhealthiest industries. The former NCAA Division 1 swimmer, now long-haul truck driver is back in control of his health after initially gaining weight. Deemed “America’s Fittest Truck Driver” by Good Morning America, Siphiwe has helped improve the health of other drivers.

Siphiwe is now a full-time fitness coach for the trucking company Prime Inc., helping thousands of drivers get and stay in shape. Siphiwe suggests at least four minutes of rigorous exercise a day, accompanied by healthy snacking and getting enough sleep as ways to boosting your metabolism and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Siphiwe’s book, “4-Minute Fit: The Metabolism Accelerator for the Time, Crunched, Deskbound and Stressed Out,” outlines how to stay healthy, even while working in a confined industry like trucking. Siphiwe shows how easy it is to exercise on the road.

Implementing a healthy life style takes a lot of personable responsibility. It takes a conscious effort to change the way you eat and maintain your body, which could be quite the adjustment at the start, but you can do it! A healthy driver is a more efficient driver, and it can make a big difference for you on the road.