I often hear from people new to the industry who are afraid of gaining weight on the road, knowing that it can be difficult to eat well and exercise as a driver. If that’s you, I’m here to help!
First, stop telling yourself that you’re going to gain weight or become unhealthy as a driver; as soon as you do this, you’re giving yourself permission to become unhealthy, and it will almost certainly happen. Go in with the attitude of knowing you are in control, and you will be!
In addition to the right mindset, you’ll want to have the right habits, so read on for my top 5 tips for new drivers:
Get into the habit of packing and cooking as much food as you can, right away. If you start relying on truck stops for food, it will be tough to break the habit, and your health will certainly suffer. If your truck supports cooking equipment, a single-serve blender, rice cooker, portable grill, and an induction cook plate are great options. You don’t need them all, but pick which ones you would use the most to start!
If you’re starting as a long haul driver, buy a pair of running shoes to keep in the truck, and USE THEM! It’s up to you how you use your spare time on the road, so be sure to find a time that works for you to exercise, and be consistent. Walking and bodyweight workouts are a great starting point; a pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell for the truck are a great idea too! If you were active before becoming a driver, it’s important to keep your activity at roughly the same level as when you start driving, in order to prevent a decline in your fitness. Exercise is a key part of stress management and mental health as well, so be sure to check it off your list each day!
Make sleep a priority. Sleep is the only chance your body has to recover and recharge from a long day, so it’s important to make the most of it. This can mean getting a comfortable mattress topper and pillow, extra curtains for the windshield to block light, and getting enough hours of shut eye each night. Check out my December TTN article for more tips on this!
Avoid the coffee, soda, and energy drinks. A coffee or two a day isn’t an issue, but when you’re relying on it to function all day, your health is going to suffer. Instead, drink plenty of water (time it well so you can use the rest room when you stop) all day long, which helps keep energy levels high and stable, among countless other benefits.
Considering adding in a couple of key supplements to keep your nutrient levels at an optimal level. A high quality multivitamin is a great starting point, but check out my ‘Supplements for Truckers’ blog post on Truck News from last November!
While there are many other tips and habits that contribute to maintaining your health, these 5 should remain at the top of your mind as you transition into your new career. Follow along each month as I write articles that dive into these (and other) topics more thoroughly in order to keep you educated and motivated to stay healthy on the road. Stay positive, be creative, and be consistent – you’ve got this!
Andrea Morley is the lead nutritionist and health coach at Healthy Trucker (a division of NAL Insurance), where she educates and motivates drivers and office staff across the industry to improve their health through simple, consistent changes in their diet and exercise routines. She has a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition from the University of Guelph, and is passionate about wellness and helping others reach their goals. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org All posts by Andrea Morley