As a trucker, your job is anything but typical. A normal day doesn’t begin at 8 and doesn’t end at 5. You keep odd hours to minimize your encounters with bad traffic. And while driving from dusk until dawn might help you make the most of your time, it can wreak havoc on your body.
While trucking offers freedom and opportunities to see the country, it limits the time you have to take care of your physical wellbeing. To keep fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to eat properly and exercise regularly. Listed below are tips and suggestions on how to fit these health necessities into your busy schedule.
Getting the right nutrients to keep you fueled is not an easy task when you’re one the road. Each region of the country has its own delicious dishes and temptations. But making smart food choices is the first step to physical wellbeing.
If fried chicken and cornbread are your go-to snacks, you may need to rethink your meal plan. It’s okay to eat between meals, as long as the food you choose is healthy. Before you hit the road, stop at the local supermarket and pick up some healthy alternatives to gas station snacks.
Look for foods that are filling and don’t need refrigeration. Consider purchasing:
- Bell peppers
- Hardboiled eggs
- Unsalted nuts
These items are low in calories and high in the essential nutrients that help keep your tank full.
Listen to Your Body
It takes time for your body to realize you’ve had enough food. The chemicals in your food take about 20 minutes to let your brain know when to stop eating. Schedule enough time for your meals so that you can eat slowly.
Part of eating right is drinking right. If you haven’t already, cut out or limit your consumption of juices, sodas, and energy and sports drinks. All these beverages contain large quantities of sugar. The sugars in these drinks can negatively affect the insulin levels in your body.
Replace sugary drinks with water. Try drinking a glass of water at least 10 minutes before each meal. This will trick your brain into feeling fuller faster. You can also sip a glass of water as you eat. This will help you spend the right amount of time eating.
Sitting behind the wheel of your rig for 20+ hours a day saps your energy. The last thing you want to do at the end of a long day of hauling is exercise. Even if you did have the energy, finding a gym where you need it is next to impossible. Fortunately, you don’t need a gym to stay in shape on the road.
The key to staying fit is keeping your heart rate elevated for at least 15 minutes a day. This can take place while you wait for your cargo, top off your gas, or before you eat. Here are a few tips to keep your heart rate up and those extra pounds down.
Take a Lap
Think about how long it takes you to refuel your rig. As you’re filling up, consider taking a lap around the parking lot. Refueling stations are often large enough to accommodate dozens of trucks at one time. A lap around the outskirts of the station may be akin to running a quarter mile.
If a brisk jog doesn’t get your blood pumping, mix in a short sprint. Each sprint will help elevate your heart rate. The more laps you do around the lot, the longer your heart rate will stay elevated.
Grab the Weights (or Something Else Heavy)
You don’t need heavy weights to maintain muscle. You just need to know how to effectively use the weights you do have. A few dumbbells can go a long way to keeping your arm stoned, your belly flat, and your legs in shape.
But dumbbells aren’t the only thing you can use to weight train. Medicine balls and resistance bands take up less space and you can use them for most of the same exercises.
If you don’t want to haul these items with you, consider what you already have available in your truck. You can also use tires, spare parts, and other heavy equipment to help you stay in shape.
Use Your Body
When all else fails, you can use your own body weight to strength train. Pushups, sit ups, squats, and jumping jacks are all excellent exercises to keep your heart rate up and your muscles strong.
Staying healthy while on the road doesn’t require excessive time. It simply requires consistency. Begin living a healthy lifestyle by making and committing to small choices. As you make these small adjustments to your diet and exercise, you will begin to see large changes.