Posts written by Silvia Anger

Author Bio: Silvia Angér joined CFI in 1997, starting in Marketing/Revenue Management followed by the Credit Department. She currently serves as executive assistant to our President Tim Staroba, VP of HR Bert Johnson and VP of Finance Mary Cervin. Silvia assists with cataloguing and disbursement of the questions and answers for social as well as Your Voice is Heard. Her fluency in both Spanish and English makes her a critical part of our communications department. Silvia attained her Sociology degree from Missouri State University located in Joplin, Missouri. Silvia inspires her colleagues to maintain a steady routine of physical activity by setting the example in faithful attendance to CFI's gymnasium.

August 24th, 2017

Those of us deep in the trenches of a weight loss battle are well aware that to achieve the goal of a healthy lifestyle, it will require getting out of our comfort zone primarily adding an activity into your schedule. The career of a professional driver brings its own set of challenges.  Let’s say, you belong to those who have committed to making a change.  In spite of the odd schedule you keep, you’ve masterfully incorporated into your day a 20 – 30 minute time slot either before or after delivering.  You are consistent and get in a bit of exercise.  You are a member of the few who have made the commitment and are quite proud of this positive change in your life.

It has been a solid two months and you are feeling great and are frankly amazed that you’ve stuck to it this long. However, the pride you feel is clouded by a bit of frustration. It is only human to be impatient. As rational individuals, we did not expect our weight to start dropping the first week or two, but surely after two months? It appears as if you’ve only dropped the same couple of pounds which seem to fluctuate up and down. Coincidentally, you begin to feel better. You have more energy and your sleep is better. So, what gives? Why am I not losing weight?

Fact: While exercise helps tremendously with your health journey, it alone cannot do the job of losing it. The list of benefits you get from exercise is long, astonishing in fact, but to lose weight, we have to cut calories. No surprise right?

Understandably, your first impulse is to rationalize that consistent activity should now give you a pass to eat like you’ve always eaten and somehow things will sort themselves out…eventually. Admittedly, there are some people, who without changing their diet at all would, in theory, lose weight. These individuals would have to exercise a whole lot. As a driver, you’d be hard pressed to find the time to squeeze intense training of this sort into your day.

Michael Joyner, a Mayo Clinic researcher who studies how people respond to the stress of exercise, states: “The key for weight loss is to generate and maintain a calorie deficit,” he adds, “It’s pretty easy to get people to eat 1,000 calories less per day, but to get them to do 1,000 calories per day exercise – walking 10 miles – is daunting at many levels, including time and motivation.”

This is when educating yourself on how many calories are in your food selections is critical. For example, a single piece of chocolate cake is between 200 – 500 calories. Most people will burn roughly 100 calories for every mile of walking (with some variations). This gives you an idea how long it will take you to burn off that slice of cake.

The good news? The exercise you’re doing is singlehandedly the BEST thing you can do for yourself. You will improve your health in several ways.

It strengthens your heart and lungs. It reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Running strengthens your bones and muscles. Having strong bones prevents osteoporosis. We’ve all heard of older individuals breaking a hip. Strong bones comes from weight-bearing activities. Walking counts too, you can run when you feel up to it, but walking is great too.

Exercise lifts your mood and helps keep your thinking and judgment skills sharp. This is critical to the professional driver.

Exercise will help you live longer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who work out for about 7 hours a week have a 40% lower risk of dying early as compared to those who exercise less than 30 minutes a week.

The takeaway: Stay the course and exercise consistently. Begin to focus on a reduction of calories in your diet. Knowledge is power, download an app to help you track what you’re currently eating (like MyFitnessPal or Lose It). You will be surprised at the number of calories being consumed. In order to maintain your current weight, you have to continue to consume that same number of calories. Once you see what you are consuming, reduce that number by 500 and stay there for a week before coming down again. An average woman needs to eat about 2000 calories per day to maintain, and 1500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week. An average man needs 2500 calories to maintain, and 2000 to lose one pound of weight per week. Once again, multiple factors come into play, but you get the idea.

Congratulations on your commitment to improve your health. Stay the course. Never stop learning. Be patient and you will reap the rewards of your effort.

July 24th, 2017

Feeling the summer slump? As the temperature rises, working out becomes less appealing and the in-cab air conditioning calls your name. Don’t forget your former healthy habits! To get back to routine, here is your motivational to-do list:

  1. Sacrifices will be made. On your time, energy and food. This seems like common sense right? You aren’t taking the easy way out, time to get up and get moving.
  2. You must be consistent. If your effort is sporadic, it will reflect on your body. Results are based on long term effort…not what you did for three weeks.
  3. Motivation will wane. It is inevitable, there will be days where you’d rather throw in the towel. DON’T. Go to the gym, get moving and do it regardless of your lacking motivation.
  4. Perfection need not apply. Don’t even try it as no one is perfect. Instead, improve on what YOU did last week. That is sufficient.
  5. Results will vary. At times, you will be able to measure lost inches and at other times you will remain unchanged. The scale is not the ultimate judge of success. Hide it, it does more damage than good.
  6. Prioritize your hydration. It is easy to become dehydrated in the summer heat. Stay ahead of those muscle cramps by drinking water. It should be as routine as a pre-trip.
  7. Get creative. Let’s face it, you’re in a truck, time to improvise. Find work out tips and tricks from your fellow professional drivers.

This list is your groundwork and now for the heart of it:

Nutrition. Everything you eat is made up of calories. The amount you consume will determine if you lose, maintain or gain. You don’t have to eliminate a complete food group. Keep it simple, eat a protein about the size of your palm, with each meal. Fill up half of your plate with veggies. Don’t waste your money on supplements.

Exercise. In the gym, it is usually divided by the cardio section and the weights section. Cardio (treadmill, elliptical, bikes) – important for heart health and endurance. Weight training – any activity that forces you to use your muscles against an external resistance. The more muscle you build the higher your metabolism and the faster your metabolism is, the faster your weight loss will be.

How much time? 1-3 cardio sessions per week (for at least 20 minutes in duration). Weight training – 2-4 days a week (perform 3-6 exercises per workout at 10-12 repetitions each).

That’s it. Make good choices to go on your plate. Train consistently and with gusto! Start today. Give yourself time and judge your results by what you see in the mirror. Happy healthy journey!


June 9th, 2017

For any exercise routine to be effective, it must be practiced regularly. We tend to think of travel time as a break from “the norm” and unfortunately apply this mentality to activity and choice of foods. But what how do you stay healthy when your career is to travel? We can all do better and should start today.

Shani Anderson (personal trainer and managing editor of London-based Anderson Fitness Consultants) has the following tips which I’ve modified for the professional driver:

  1. Don’t treat your travel time as a “vacation” from your health regime.  If prior to starting your driving career, you took part in regular activity, don’t stop when you start driving.  Our body is not meant to be inactive and our attitude should be one of finding an alternate source of activity…not a break.  Train your attitude to think of your travel time as work for the company and for your body as well.
  2. Do some research.  Once you have a new load assigned, plan about 20 minutes of activity into your day.  If the weather permits, walk around a bit.  If it’s snowing, make some room in your bunk area to lift weights and a few sets of sit ups and squats.  Jot down on a daily planner your activity time so you can see it and follow through.  No exceptions, no excuses.
  3. Bring portable fitness equipment.  Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a full gym to get a great workout.  Anything from a jump rope, mini bike, tension bands or a set of 20 lb. dumb bells would do fine.  Body weight exercises are tremendously beneficial (push-ups and squats) and require nothing more than your willingness to do them!  Look on YouTube for many great examples of exercises with dumbbells and resistance bands.  Pick one and stick to it for a few weeks then switch to something new.
  4. Don’t overindulge at the buffet.  Limited restaurant options many times lead our professionals to buffet-style restaurants which have truck accessibility.  Many of us fall into the trap of “getting our money’s worth” at the all-you-can-eat locations.  This is a recipe for disaster.  If you must eat there, opt for a single serve option.  When you have the plate in front of you, take your time and chew slowly.  The amount of food restaurants serve is many times a double portion of what our body needs.  Try comparing the size of your fist to the amount of the carbohydrate serving on your plate.  It should be roughly the same size.  The size of your palm is the amount of protein (meat) you can have.  In addition, eat small amounts during the day to prevent the “starving” feeling that leads to overeating.  Snack on a handful of almonds, sliced lean turkey and fresh fruit and veggies throughout the day.  Be prepared.  Do not rely on convenience stores to provide your nutrition, instead, make it your goal to stock your mini fridge with delicious meats and whole grains which will keep you satisfied longer than a bag of crunchy chips.
  5. Take advantage of motel fitness room.  If you stay in a motel for the evening, never pass up the opportunity for a swim, a walk on the treadmill or use whatever they have available to get your pulse going for at least 20 minutes.

The most important takeaway is for you to incorporate exercise into your everyday activities, like brushing your teeth. It doesn’t have to be more than 20 minutes and the payoff is huge. You will feel better physically and mentally as soon as the first day. All habits take time, start with a small one, walk for five minutes each night and then build on that. Small changes yield great gains, be patient.  You can do it!