Five Tips – How to Stay Healthy as a Truck Driver

Post Date - Mar 9, 2022

From workout equipment to dieting programs, commercials make it clear that Americans are very interested in weight loss. The trucking industry is no exception, and a lot of drivers struggle to get enough exercise. If you look around inside a truck stop, you’re likely to see more than a few people carrying “spare tires” around their waist. It’s easy to crack jokes about great food clogging your arteries, but health choices have a real impact on your life expectancy, your family, and your career.

Stay healthy and you may not have health issues force you into early retirement. More importantly, a longer lifespan will include more years with grandkids and others who matter most. Whatever your motivation, here are a few tips for how to stay healthy as a truck driver.

1. Find a Local or Home Daily trucking job.

It’s hard for OTR drivers to find places for exercise. If you have a local gym membership or equipment at home, then a home daily job allows you to stick to a familiar workout routine and location. Some OTR drivers use 24/7 gym franchises, but parking can be a beast. There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a CDL position that’s right for you, but OTR jobs definitely make it harder to stay healthy. At Venture Transport, more than 65 percent of our drivers get home daily.

2. Dump out the pop.

Everybody hates the idea of counting calories. If you drink Coca-Cola or another type of fountain drink, then you’re consuming a lot of empty, sugary calories on tap. Some diet choices are harder than others. Quitting pop might be hard as a lifestyle change, but it’s pretty much always an unhealthy an unnecessary habit. Do you really need the caffeine? Try to get by with black coffee or tea, and gradually reduce the number of afternoon hours when you depend on stimulants.

Drink lots of water, getting flavor drops and drink mixes as needed. Tea can be a great substitute. Give yourself rewards for milestones as you make the transition, whenever you need extra incentive. Maybe you’ll rent a movie or give yourself a special reward for going a whole day without pop. When you were younger and more physically active, you probably didn’t notice the effects of all the liquid calories. For better and for worse, we aren’t teenagers anymore.

3. Take the time to plan healthy meals.

This one is harder than quitting Coca-Cola, but the rewards are huge. How would you like to save money and still eat your favorite food all the time? Some meals aren’t going to work in a lunchbox, but you can do a lot better than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. OTR and regional drivers have the added challenge of cooking in a truck, but it’s not hard to find delicious crockpot recipes. You’ll also save money when cooking your own food, even if you splurge on fancy cheese and quality ingredients.

We’ve all made similar compromises, so there’s no judgment, but you can’t expect to get healthy while continuing to eat fast food. If burgers have a special place in your heart (and not just your arteries), then a George Foreman grill can give you more control over what you’re eating. Find ground beef with lower fat content. Season the meat with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and ranch seasoning. Add your favorite toppings and condiment choices, and your sense of pride and accomplishment will more than compensate for the fact that your fingers aren’t dripping with grease.

4. Find new ways to exercise regularly.

Easier said than done, we know, we know. Like that first point emphasized, it’s definitely harder for OTR drivers to get regular access to gyms. Then again, willpower is where most of us struggle, if we’re honest. If you’re already dealing with health issues, then you’ll want to check with a physician before starting anything new or strenuous. Even a daily walk can be a great place to start.

Pay attention to your driving posture; adjust your seat and sit up straight. Before the end of the day, try to exercise for fifteen or twenty minutes. If you’re already in decent shape, then bodyweight exercises like push-ups don’t require extra gear. If you’re a veteran truck driver adapting back to civilian life, then try to keep up a couple of those PT exercises. Many exercises have low-impact and low-intensity versions, like pushing off a table or wall instead of pushups on the ground. If you have your own truck, then you can carry hand weights or other compact equipment.

5. Use apps to stay healthy as a truck driver.

Without recommending any of these particular resources or fitness guides, we wanted to show how a lot of help is already available online.

Iron Trucker Fitness
Georgia truck driver Cleo Hardy created a free app (called Iron Trucker Fitness) with exercises specifically designed for truckers. He also posts videos to social media.

Search on Social Media
On YouTube, you can find some workout videos and trucker perspectives on channels like Trucker Trev Fitness and Sam The Trucker.

Mother Trucker Yoga
Mother Trucker Yoga focuses on small, simple changes with 15 minutes a day. They offer subscription videos and programs specifically designed for truckers, intended to last from 5 weeks to 3 months while creating new lifestyle habits.

The Trucking Fitness Company
The Trucking Fitness Company advertises a program with a money-back guarantee for losing 15 pounds in 60 days.

Nike Training Club
If you go beyond the stuff designed for truckers, there are tons of fitness programs and apps. One of the better free apps is Nike Training Club, which has tons of free video content. If you’re concerned about data (or too many options), then you may want a simpler alternative.