One of the most challenging things for me to do when I was on the road was to maintain good health and fitness. Especially during the winter. My recent trip was a good reminder of that and I want to share some of the things I do while I am on the road.
What To Expect From Episode 135
Health and fitness can mean a lot of different things, during this episode Craig and I are going to focus on 3 different aspects nutrition, mental health, and fitness. The biggest keys to be successful in any one of these areas is to first prioritize your time on the road and second to think ahead and plan.
As we discuss on the podcast, my priorities while on the road are:
- Delivering my load safely and on time.
- A) Administrative business tasks 2B) Fitness
- Time preparing meals
There are things, like my family and my mental health that are important to me that aren’t on the priority list. That is because they are things I can do while driving, so I don’t feel like they compete as much for my time.
The hardest part of eating on the road is cooking food and storing it. Hopefully, you have a fridge in your truck. If not, you can get buy, but your options will be limited. There are people out there who prepare full-blown gourmet meals while they are on the road. I don’t really have the time or patience to do much of that. You can see that I have other things that are higher on my priorities on my list. I will usually sacrifice taste for speed by eating something that might not be the most appetizing but is quick and simple to prepare. For example, I will throw a can of tuna in a bowl, and mix it with mustard for a meal instead of taking the time to grill a chicken breast.
Here is a meal-by-meal breakdown of some of the more common things I will eat, along with links to where you can find some of them.
- Eggwich, 2-3 minutes in the microwave
- Cottage cheese mixed with yogurt, wife likes to add fruit
- Protein shake
- Boiled eggs (I prepare them at home before I hit the road)
Snack (One between breakfast and lunch and another one between lunch and dinner. I always eat it, if I Don’t I tend to get hungry and then overeat my next meal)
- Protein bars
- Non-king sized snickers (Similar to a protein bar, I eat it guilt-free)
- Non-king sized Peanut M&Ms
- Fruit, banana, apple, pear ( I will usually allow myself the small peanut M&Ms when I have fruit, it’s the reward, a piece of fruit usually won’t prevent between meal hunger)
- Frozen edamame beans or dried (Sometimes paired with a meal)
Lunch and Dinner
- Peanut butter and honey sandwich
- Big can of tuna, usually mixed with mustard
- You can also get the packets with different flavors, but they get expensive
- Grilled chicken breast (I prepare them at home before I hit the road)
- Hamburger patties with melted cheese, usually no bun (I prepare them at home before I hit the road)
- Frozen veggies heated in microwave
- Leftovers from home
- Canned pulled pork
Several of those items don’t require refrigeration. If you don’t have a microwave, truck stops do.
I’m no mental health expert, but these are things I do and some ideas from my sister-in-law who is a professional in the field. Mental health is important and it is something we all struggle with at some point or another and to one degree or another.
Notice the signs early on that you might be starting to get anxious or depressed. Those signs might be things like a pit in your stomach, sadness, negative thoughts, etc. Make a plan for what you will do beforehand so that when you start to experience the signs you can start fighting it before you go too far down that path.
Your plan should consist of things that are healthy distractions for you. Here are some ideas.
- Have at least three people you can call and talk to.
- Listen to music
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks
- Take a little break from driving. I like to go on a little walk around a rest stop.
- Call 988, Crisis Lifeline
- Don’t turn to unhealthy distractions like alcohol or drugs
Here are some general things that are important for your mental health’s general well-being.
- Get a decent night’s sleep, I know it’s not always possible.
- Get a mattress topper, there are lots of different kinds and thicknesses
- Use ear plugs
- Don’t sleep at truck stops
- Interact socially (Trucking is very isolating. Since you can’t rely on social connections to just happen, it’s important to work to maintain your relationships.)
- Over the phone
- At truck stops
- At shippers and receivers (I noticed your bike on your truck)
- Workout, even just a walk to clear your mind, especially if you feel agitated
- Try to have a long-term perspective
Don’t beat yourself up, be kind to yourself. Feeling these feelings and struggling with mental health is a challenge for all of us, it is especially hard for truckers.
The hard part with fitness is finding the time and being able to take a shower. I usually try to do one of three things:
- Workout in the morning before I start driving, then take a break in the middle of the day to shower, in conjunction with my 30-minute break.
- Drive for at least 3 hours then stop at a truck stop and workout and shower, again around my 30-minute break.
- Drive all day, end at a truck stop, work out, and shower.
If I can’t shower, baby wipes or rinseless soap are better than nothing. I have found that if my sweat has dried before I do this and I only do it once between showers, I don’t seem to stink bad enough that people notice.
Type of workouts I have done:
- Walk, even while I am at a shipper or receiver. Make sure you can do it safely and that you aren’t breaking the rules.
- Run, I have done it while getting loaded and unloaded. Just make sure it is okay with the dock workers.
- Jump rope
- Air squats
I usually try to work out 5-6 times a week. I try to do 3 harder workouts and 2-3 easier workouts that are kind of recovery days.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t have a perfect day. Sometimes your body needs a rest.
Listen to the Full Episode