Everyone knows they could be a little healthier, but actually working up the motivation to do something about that excess weight or that unhealthy diet is a whole ‘nother story. Many of us made the yearly resolution to get healthier — how many have kept their New Year’s Resolutions so far? If you’re like many who maybe are struggling a bit to stay on the wagon, hopefully today’s post will be helpful for you.
It’s so easy for us to complain and nonchalantly blame the trucking industry for our weight gain and unhealthy lifestyles. It’s human nature — we don’t like to take responsibility for things. It’s easier to make excuses and say, “Oh, well there’s no healthy food at truck stops,” or “I don’t have enough time to exercise after a full day of driving” than it is to get up off our butts and get a walk in. But the truth of the matter is, there ARE healthy options, and there IS time to exercise, if you want it bad enough. If you want something, you find a way to make it happen regardless of the circumstances. If you’re unhappy enough with your diet or weight or lack of physical activity, you’ll find a way to change your habits, even if it involves making a substantial lifestyle change.
It all comes down to your motivation level — that will be the deciding factor in whether you’ll be successful or not. If you’re half-assing it, of course you’re not going to prevail in your journey to becoming a healthy truck driver! You’ve got to fully commit to see success. So now… how do you find the motivation to get healthy on the road?
Set Specific Goals and Motivations
First, you need to identify personal, specific, and meaningful motivations and goals. What matters most to you? What’s your reasoning for wanting to get healthy? Maybe a recent medical diagnosis got you thinking more seriously about your health. Maybe you just *feel* gross from all the greasy fast food out on the road and want to change your eating habits. Maybe you’ve put on a few lb’s since hitting the road and want to get back to your bad self. Or maybe you just want to fit into those old pants. Whatever. Identify what it is that makes you want to change, and remember that in moments of weakness (like when that burger is calling).
Your truck driver health goals need to be detailed objectives like, “Stop smoking so I can live longer and spend more time with my children,” or “Walk a mile around my truck every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.” Vague goals like “Work out a few times a week” won’t work — you need something concrete that you can be held accountable for. If your goal is simply to exercise four times a week, it becomes easy to slack off and say, “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow instead.”
Set both long and short-term goals. If your goal right out of the gate is “lose 40 pounds” or “run 6 miles a day” it will be difficult to see the end. Smaller goals like “go for a walk every single day this week” or “lose 5 pounds by ____” are easy to see happen and can help to keep you motivated when you fulfill them. Check out this post on 3 truck driver exercise goals you should set.
Deal With Stress Positively
When you’re on your journey to becoming healthier, it’s important not to let stress derail you! Everyone experiences stress sometimes, and unfortunately, a common coping method is to drown your sorrows in some Cherry Garcia or lay in bed with your buddy Netflix for four hours or blow off your workout for the night. Do not let any of the stressors in your life derail your efforts! Instead, cope with it by pushing harder during your exercise. “But Amanda, I’m just too irritated/sad/bummed out to exercise,” you say. Au contraire! Exercise will have the opposite effect and will make you nice and chipper (exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!) after you get over that initial hump of resistance.
A Few Quick Tips
We know finding the time to exercise can be difficult on the road, so here are a couple exercises for truck drivers you can do to get some physical activity in…
- Walk 32 laps around your truck for a simple way to get a mile in. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting either — maybe you do 8 laps every time you stop during the day. This will take you no more than 10 minutes each time.
- Invest in inexpensive, compact exercise equipment you can keep right in your cab.
- Park in the farthest parking spot from the truck stop as you can so you’re forced to walk further.
Getting healthy on the road can be done, you just have to find a great deal of motivation. Keep your end goal in sight — maybe that means keeping a picture of skinny you, or a picture of your kids on your dashboard. Visual reminders can help keep us on track. And remember, it takes about a month to form a habit. Try to keep up with your diet/fitness goal for 30 days, and you have significantly more of a chance of actually making it a lifestyle change instead of just a phase.
How do you stay motivated out on the road?