Truck driver health and nutrition are crucial aspects often overlooked in the demanding profession. Long hours on the road can lead to sedentary lifestyles and reliance on fast food, impacting drivers' overall well-being. Prioritizing balanced meals, hydration, and incorporating simple exercises during breaks can significantly enhance the health and vitality of truck drivers, promoting longevity and better performance on the road.
Focus on Healthy Eating
Meal Planning and Prep
Avoiding fast food as a truck driver takes some proactive steps. One effective strategy is meal prepping—packing your truck with homemade, healthy options like sandwiches, salads, fruits, nuts, and granola bars.
Additionally, practicing mindful eating by setting aside dedicated meal breaks and resisting the urge to rely on fast food for convenience can significantly help with a nutritious diet as well.
Examples of Meal Prepping on the Road From Truck Drivers
“Rice cooker with steamer option. I also have a small skillet I use to make eggs. I eat in the truck 90% of the time. I also have a nice little workout set up.”
“Meal prep and buy an air fryer. Oatmeal in the morning, protein shake for lunch, air fryer meal that was pre-prepped for dinner.”
“When I cook I try to make more lean meats and veggies. Replace white rice with brown rice and cook it in an electric skillet and a little rice cooker that has a container to steam veggies in.”
“It's a bit of finding what works best for you! My buddy had a single inverter and would make vegetarian low-sodium meals with his InstantPot. I got bored chewing on raw vegetables, but he spiced up his stuff with Mrs. Dash (no added sodium) and did very well!”
“I have an Alpicool refrigerator that is set to -4 degrees which I use as a freezer. When I'm at home I cook food, put it in disposable biodegradable containers, and freeze it. Basically, I make my own frozen dinners. I microwave and eat them when there is no decent food at the truck stop. This helps keep me from getting burnt out on fast food. Some frozen foods I make are pinto beans, bbq beans, baked chicken, hamburger helper, pork chops, and rice.”
“I buy the $3 premade salads from Walmart that come with a fork and ranch packet inside of them. I can fit 5 of them into my mini fridge for the week and stop at Walmart once a week to resupply.”
Healthy Fast Food Options
Another way is to research truck stops along your route that offer healthier food choices or cooking facilities, allowing you to prepare your meals or opt for more nutritious options available.
Healthy fast food options can include grilled chicken sandwiches or salads with vinaigrette dressing instead of creamy dressings. Opting for items with more vegetables and lean proteins, like turkey or veggie wraps, can be healthier choices. Some places even offer customizable options where you can choose whole grain bread, load up on veggies, and pick lean proteins, which can be a better alternative. Additionally, fruit cups, yogurt parfaits, or broth-based soups can be lighter and more nutritious sides compared to fries or chips.
For specific ideas on healthy options at places like Chipotle, Chick-fil-a, McDonalds, and more, click here: Dietician Approved Healthy Fast Food Options
Working Out as a Truck Driver
Staying active as a truck driver requires some creativity. Incorporating short bursts of exercise during breaks or rest stops can be beneficial. Additionally, finding truck stops with exercise facilities or choosing parking spots farther away from facilities to encourage more walking can contribute to staying active on the road. Going for a short walk or run during each rest-stop may not seem like much, but 15 minutes a few times a day can truly add up and help you get your cardio in after long hours sitting on the road.
However, there will be days where the weather may not be nice, or being in the warmth of your truck may sound like a better option. Therefore, exercising in your truck can also be a great way to work out on the road. Some examples are: push ups, planks, sit ups, jumping jacks, high knees, or even just stretching!
Looking for more of a muscle targeted workout? Well you can also exercise WITH your truck. Using a resistance band, you can secure this to the handle of the truck, which will allow you to do bicep curls, tricep extensions, and trunk twists. Additionally, using the bumper of your truck for support, tricep dips are also a great way to strengthen your back and arm muscles.
A great resource for a more tailored, detailed workout plan is the Iron Trucker App, designed specifically for truckers to stay in shape and maintain their health and fitness. Rolling Strong is another great resource for truck drivers as well, offering programs for drivers' unique goals or needs.
Examples from Truck Drivers on How They Stay in Shape on the Road
“Foldable bike. I try to push the bike hard to get my heart rate up. Check out the Origami Hawk.”
“You can get into astonishing shape on body weight exercises alone. Do all kinds of different push-ups for arms and shoulders/chest. Do all kinds of sit ups, dips. The back is the only thing that can be difficult to do unless you manage to have a pull up bar in the truck or outside. Also be sure to jog or run when you can.”
“I suggest buying 2 dumbbells with adjustable weights. They don't need a lot of space and there are many different exercises you can do with them to hit all muscles. If that's not possible then body weight is the way to go.”
“Try some exercise bands. They pack up small, and you can do a lot of reps, which I find mentally satisfying.”
“A TRX suspension trainer (or cheaper imitation) and a set of push up handles and you have a full body workout. You can suspend the TRX in the door of the truck.”
“I would suggest dedicating a good 15-20 minutes of your training to flexibility. Being a car worker myself, I know how cramped it can feel sometimes and tensed muscles or non-flexible ones can lead to some injuries due to sudden movement (a bump in the road for example). Good areas to focus on are the hamstring, the glutes, lower back, and shoulder/neck.”
“Make sure to have a good core reinforcement routine included. Spending a lot of time sitting down leads to bad posture because of weakened lower back, abs, and upper back muscles. Reinforce these to create better support for your body during your 10 hour drives, and it will help reduce a lot of problems such as back and neck pain. I suggest exercises such as reverse fly, rows, crunches/twist, plank and superman.”
A Journey to Health on the Road
In the fast-paced world of truck driving, maintaining good health isn’t just about getting from point A to point B—it’s about ensuring you arrive there in the best shape possible. By prioritizing healthy eating habits and finding creative ways to stay active during breaks, truck drivers can revolutionize their well-being on the road. Remember, small changes add up—whether it's opting for nutritious meal choices, taking advantage of exercise opportunities during stops, or planning ahead for healthier options along the route. Your health matters as much as the cargo you transport. With conscious efforts and a commitment to wellness, drivers can steer their way toward a healthier and more fulfilling journey ahead.