If you’re a long-haul truck driver, odds are you’re overweight. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, truck drivers are twice as likely to be obese when compared the rest of the workforce.
We get it! As an over-the-road trucker, you sit for hours at a time and generally only have access to truck stop food or vending machines. It’s not exactly easy to get fit and stay in shape when you’re constantly on the road.
But there are ways to lose weight and stay on top of your fitness as a truck driver, and we have drivers of our own to prove it!
How can a truck driver lose weight?
We have several awesome, hard-working truck drivers who have found unique ways to stay in shape while on the road.
Go to 24/7 gyms
Robert Crouch has found that 24-hour gyms are his key to success.
When he has to take his 10-hour break, he goes to Anytime Fitness and works out. He explains that one of the hidden benefits of going to a 24-hour gym is that they have cleaner showers than the truck stop. That can be a huge motivator when you’re not feeling like lifting weights.
“There are other 24-hour gyms out there, too, but just make sure they are 24/7 to the gym and the showers. Some may be 24-hour for the gym, but not all are 24-hour for the showers,” he advises.
Anytime Fitness is also a chain, so they’re all over the place. No matter what state you’re in, you’re bound to be close to one.
Not only does this help you stay in shape, but they are generally located in strip malls or are attached to a Walmart, so there is plenty of room to park a truck and trailer.
Do driver assisted loads
Crouch also says that anytime he can get a driver assisted load, he doesn’t shy away from it. “It’s another chance to exercise,” he says. “I’m 62 years old and can leg press 585 pounds and bench press 300 pounds. I’m proof that you can be a truck driver and still be in great shape.”
Pull flatbeds to stay active
Maurice Watson pulls flatbeds to stay in shape.
He explains that of course the rates are higher, which makes it very appealing, but it also gets him out of the truck. When you pull flatbeds, you have to strap the loads down and climb up and down the trailer.
If you can choose what you want to run, and if you want to stay in shape, it’s better than no-touch freight where you just back in, they load it, and you leave.
You have to strap it all down yourself, which gives you a chance to be active – while making money, of course!
What is the average life expectancy of a truck driver?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers of commercial vehicles and trucks live for 61 years on average. The average life expectancy in North America is 80, which puts truck drivers at a major disadvantage.
However, just because most truck drivers follow a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle doesn’t mean that all do.
Is truck driving bad for your health?
Statistically speaking, truck drivers face more health risks than the average American. Most of these risks are directly related to being overweight or obese.
These health risks include type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, cancer, joint and back pain, and stroke.
However, just because truck drivers are more likely to have health conditions doesn’t mean that truck driving is bad for your health. By going against the grain and finding unique ways to be active and make healthier eating choices, truck driving can be a lucrative and long-lasting career.
How many calories does a truck driver burn in a day?
Because most truck drivers spend their hours sitting behind the wheel, they burn less calories per day than you might think.
Even if you’re not going for jogs, the simple act of sitting down, getting up, walking to the kitchen, going from your car to the store – it all adds up. When you take that movement out of your day, you’re burning the minimum amount of calories that your body needs.
For truck drivers who don’t find ways to be active, they’re burning their energy via the basal metabolism, or energy used for your body’s basic needs while you’re at rest.
What’s your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)?
To find out what your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is – or how many calories you burn in a day just by sitting there – you can plug in your age, gender, height, and weight into this BMR calculator.
Thanks to some studying by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we know that the average truck driver is a 55-year-old man. If we plug in the average height of a man – 5’10” – and assume that he is obese at 250 pounds (since almost 70% of truck drivers are), here’s what we can guess.
The average truck driver burns around 1,975 calories per day.
If that same truck driver ate more than 1,975 calories per day and did not find a way to exercise, he would gain weight.
What’s a good diet for a truck driver?
Finding ways to eat healthy when fast food and gas station options are all you have can be a major challenge.
However, it’s not impossible, and there are a variety of tools to help you eat healthier at truck stops.
Smartphone app that can help truck drivers lose weight
For starters, the smartphone app MyFitnessPal can help you count your calories. Let’s say you’re at Wendy’s. You can open up the app, search “Wendy’s,” and see how many calories all of the options on the menu are.
Now that you can see the options, you might choose the 260-calorie Grilled Chicken Go Wrap over the 940-calorie Baconator.
Even gas station food is available on MyFitnessPal, making it easier than ever to make a smart food choice. For example, you may go for the 440-calorie egg salad sandwich versus the 700-calorie burger at Flying J.
Even cutting out the soda can have a huge impact on your overall calorie count, with a large coke from McDonalds being nearly 300 calories.
Choose lower calorie options at truck stops and fast food joints
You can also make better diet decisions by utilizing some of the recommendations online.
For example, Healthline has an article with 10 healthy food options from some popular fast food restaurants. Some great options include a burrito from Chipotle, grilled chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A, any of the salad options from McDonald’s, or a whole grain sandwich from Subway.
Weight Watchers for truck drivers
Another option is trying out Weight Watchers. Note that this is a paid service, and you can do the “free” version by counting your own calories. However, if you want the structure that being a part of something provides, many truck drivers have found Weight Watchers to be a life saver.
Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you have to ditch a healthy diet. A good diet for a truck driver is one that’s thoughtful and accounted for.
Pack your own food when you’re headed out
Another alternative is packing your own food. Bring an electric hot plate or grill to cook your own food. Many trucks have refrigerators in them, allowing you to bring along some ingredients.
Eating out when the only options are fast food can make it really hard – even when there are healthier options. We all get tempted!
Some of our drivers like to cook eggs for breakfast, and low-carb meals are easy to make on the go.
If you can take the extra 30 seconds to count your calories, you’re one step closer to either maintaining or losing weight as a truck driver.
How can I be a healthy truck driver?
To sum it all up, losing weight and staying in shape as a truck driver is the same way the rest of us are doing it.
Keep track of your calories and move more.
The trucking industry is unique by nature, but if there’s a will, there’s certainly a way.
How are you staying in shape as a truck driver? We want to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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