When you're on the road for 12 hours a day for days, weeks, or even a month, it can wreak havoc on your body. You often don't get the nutrition or exercise you need to stay healthy, leaving you more susceptible to sickness, obesity, and fatigue. However, there are ways to stay healthy behind the wheel. All you have to do is show a bit of discipline. If you're looking to improve your health and fitness even as a trucker, make sure to follow these simple tips.
Count Your Calories
It may seem like a no-brainer to limit your caloric intake by keeping track of how many you consume, but many restaurants don't have available nutrition information. In these cases, it's best to err on the side of caution by limiting fried foods and red meats. You should also limit your intake of sodas and other high-calorie beverages by switching to water, tea, or diet soda. Even if you want to indulge, make sure to check the nutrition facts, especially the serving size, before you eat or drink. Adhering to a strict limit between 1,800 and 2,200 calories should keep you within a healthy weight range.
Use an App
There's an app for everything these days, and healthy trucker apps are becoming the new craze for truckers around the country. The app Lose It goes hand-in-hand with calorie counting, allowing you to input your daily caloric intake. You'll also put in a calorie goal, and you can adjust it to lose weight or retain your current weight. Lose It provides alerts throughout the day, showing if you're getting near your calorie total, or whether you have room for dessert or sweets at the end of the day.
Get Some Exercise
No matter what, plan to take at least 15 minutes out of your day to get some exercise and fresh air. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to do a vigorous workout, but the more calories you burn, the better the time spent. There are several exercise plans devised for truck drivers that are purposely designed to maximize the results of the workout. Classic workouts like push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, and lunges are all great starters, but you can also buy resistance bands to add a new element to the workout. The best part is that many of these exercises can be done in your cabin before or after bed.
After each workout, make certain to eat at least 20 grams of protein, which will help maximize the gains of your workout while positively impacting your metabolism.
Keep a Log
If you have trouble adhering to a fitness and nutrition schedule, keep a log. Within the log, you can write what you ate, how many calories you consumed, and how long you exercised. When you see this in writing, it usually helps you visualize your results and keeps you aware of how well you're sticking to your goals.
Change Your Eating Habits
According to a 2014 survey, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that "69 percent of truckers are obese, with 17 percent morbidly obese." Cutting out fast food is the first step towards changing your eating habits as it forces you to find healthier alternatives at restaurants, truck stops, or grocery stores. If you're at a restaurant, make sure to avoid fried foods, gravies, cream sauces, high-fat foods, and mayo-based salads. Instead, switch over to high protein, low-calorie foods like fish or chicken, as well as salads, fresh fruit, nuts, low-fat salad dressings, and soups.
No one ever said that maintaining your health while on the road was easy. However, with a little planning, discipline, and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, you'll find yourself looking and feeling better than ever before.